U.S. Capitol to go W.Va. wild-and-wonderful this holiday season

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U.S. Capitol to go W.Va. wild-and-wonderful this holiday season
West Virginia will provide the 2023 Christmas Tree, gifted from the Monongahela National Forest. (Photo: Phi Nguyan)

ELKINS, W.Va. — The U.S. Capitol is going wild and wonderful this Christmas as West Virginia comes to the fore as the nation's forest and outdoor recreation wonderland.

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In addition to providing the 70- to 80-foot tree that will be displayed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol this holiday season, smaller trees are also being provided to federal offices in Washington, D.C., along with ornaments and tree skirts that celebrate the Mountain State.

According to Kelly Bridges of the National Forest Service, officials at the Monongahela National Forest are seeking assistance from groups and individuals to help provide some of the dozens of tree skirts that will be needed as part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative.

This year’s theme for the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is “Endlessly Wild and Wonderful,” Bridges says, and her office is now looking to partner with all who can provide the expertise to celebrate the native beauty of West Virginia in Washington.

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Bridges suggests that the following themes might be appropriate for tree skirts and ornaments:

  • Iconic locales in West Virginia and the Monongahela National Forest
  • Plants, animals, and habitats in West Virginia
  • Multiple uses of national forests
  • Famous West Virginians
  • West Virginia culture
  • Outdoor recreation
  • West Virginia foods
  • West Virginia history

Bridges said guidelines for tree skirts include the following: Make skirts out of any durable material. Aim for a five-foot diameter skirt. Include an opening in the center for the trunk. Include a slit to allow the skirt to circle the trunk. Design the skirt to overlap in the back or include ribbon ties, snaps, buttons, or Velcro as closures. Stitch, write, or attach your name, the name of the group, and your home county to the back of the tree skirt. Include a note with the names and mailing addresses of those who contributed. Tree skirts cannot include commercial logos or be divisive or offensive. Tree skirts cannot be returned.

Completed tree skirts may be dropped off at any Monongahela National Forest office or mailed to its Gauley Ranger Station at 932 North Fork Cherry Road, Richwood, WV 26261.

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative is made possible through a partnership with Choose Outdoors, support from the presenting sponsor 84 Lumber, contributions from companies large and small, and help from volunteers both locally and across America.

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For more information contact Rosanna Springston at 304-846-2695 or at rosanna.springston@usda.gov.


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