Choose Outdoors and US Forest Service Seek Ornaments

DENVER The U.S. Forest Service and its nonprofit partner, Choose Outdoors invite Coloradans of all ages to create and submit ornaments to decorate the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree by Oct. 5, 2012.

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Carly Grimes,


Oct. 5, 2012 is the deadline for children to submit ornaments for a chance to participate in tree lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C.

DENVER (August 28, 2012) – The U.S. Forest Service and its nonprofit partner, Choose Outdoors invite Coloradans of all ages to create and submit ornaments to decorate the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree by Oct. 5, 2012.

This holiday season, the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will hail from Colorado's White River National Forest and will be decorated with 5,000 handmade ornaments that depict the tree's theme ‘Celebrating our Great Outdoors.' Colorado youth ages 5 through 19 who submit ornaments are eligible to enter a drawing to win a trip to Washington, D.C. to light the tree with House Speaker John Boehner at a ceremony in early December.

An additional 1,000 ornaments are also needed for the smaller companion trees that will decorate dignitaries' offices in Washington, D.C. Ornaments should portray the many ways that Coloradans celebrate the outdoors. Participants are encouraged to create their ornaments out of recycled materials.

“This is an incredible opportunity to showcase the creativity of our state's youth to the nation,” said Mary Cunningham, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree ornament coordinator. “If we're able to achieve our goal, Colorado will decorate The People's Tree with more than 5,000 ornaments.”

Ornaments must be 9-12 inches and weigh less then ½ pound, and they must be durable for outdoor use. For complete ornament criteria and submittal information, visit

Coloradans ages 5 through 19 who create and submit an ornament must return this entry form by Oct. 1, 2012 to be eligible to win the trip to Washington, D.C. The winner of the tree lighting ceremony with House Speaker John Boehner will be announced the week of Oct. 8, 2012. After the lighting ceremony, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be available for public viewing throughout the holiday season. The Tree is lit nightly from dusk until 11 p.m.

Another way for artists to participate in this annual tradition is to enter the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Juried Art Exhibition, which has an extended deadline of Sept. 24, 2012. The theme is ‘Into The Woods,' and artwork should be inspired and influenced by U.S. National Forests. All professional, emerging and youth artists are invited to submit artwork for cash prizes totaling $4,000.

A panel of highly respected jurors will select an official artwork to represent the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree on Oct. 8, 2012. The grand prize winning work will be hung in the office of the Chief of the Forest Service for one year and then displayed in the Capitol Christmas Tree permanent collection. All winning artworks will be included in a traveling exhibition that accompanies the Capitol Christmas Tree on its whistle stop tour from Colorado to Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Costs associated with the tree's transportation and tour events are made possible by contributions of cash and in-kind services by individuals, corporations and local communities. Major sponsors include the Colorado Tourism Office, Mack Trucks, The National Association of Convenience Stores and Vail Resorts.

For more information on the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and to track the tree's route, visit You can also follow the tree on Facebook:, Twitter: and Pinterest:


About Choose Outdoors:
Choose Outdoors is a coalition for outdoor recreation comprised of people and organizations who are passionate about outdoor recreation, support public lands, waters, and the agencies charged with their care.

About the White River National Forest:
The 2.3 million acre White River National Forest is located in west/central Colorado. Providing a vast array of outdoor recreation experiences, the White River hosts more than 9 million visitors per year and is the number one forest for recreation in the country. In addition to world-class recreation and abundant wildlife populations, the White River supports activities such as grazing, timber harvest, mining, and oil and gas development that are crucial to the economies of western Colorado.