Come to the Harvest Celebration for 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on Nov. 5
November 2, 2022
See the “People’s Tree” and special guests Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and Santa Claus
ASHEVILLE, NC (Nov. 1, 2022) – Come celebrate and help us send one very special red spruce, Ruby, on her grand adventure from the mountains to sea and all the way to Washington, D.C. The U.S. Forest Service is hosting a harvest celebration for the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as the People’s Tree, on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the WNC Agricultural Center in the Expo Building (9237, 761 Boylston Hwy, Fletcher, NC 28732).
Visitors can be among the first to see the tree before it begins the journey from western North Carolina to communities across the state and to Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as “The People’s Tree, adorns the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and is selected each year from a different national forest. The honor of being the People’s Tree this year was given to the 78-foot-tall red spruce affectionately named “Ruby” (shortened from the scientific name, Picea rubens) and is coming out of the Pisgah National Forest.
This is an incredible opportunity to shine a national spotlight on the importance of red spruce and the role they play in one of the rarest ecosystems in the United States. Red spruce, along with Fraser fir, are the conifer trees found at the tops of the highest mountains in Southern Appalachia, creating habitat for the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel and spruce-fir moss spider. These high-elevation spruce-fir forests are visible all along the Blue Ridge Parkway also provide habitat for the northern saw-whet owl, red crossbill, brown creeper, black-capped chickadee, hoary bat, silver-haired bat, Weller’s salamander, pygmy salamanders, and a type of lichen called hot dots. The U.S. Forest Service has identified sixteen rare plant species found only in spruce-fir forests.
In addition to sponsoring the 2022 Capital Christmas Tree, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) is partnering with the National Forests of North Carolina, and other organizations to restore these unique, high-elevation, spruce-fir forests. To create a supply of trees to meet restoration goals, an essential partner is the Southern Highlands Reserve who work with land managers to collect cones, harvest seeds from those cones, then plants them in a nursery to grow until they are ready to be carried to the forest for planting. The National Forest Foundation is building support for the Southern Highlands Reserve to increase their capacity for propagating young trees for planting across North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
At the Harvest Celebration, November 5th, the public will be able to take a “hike” through an interactive display of the four national forests in North Carolina and learn about each forest’s ecosystems and employees. There will also be over 25 partner organizations offering fun family-friendly games and U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise. This event is free and open to the public. For news, events, and tour information, visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com, along with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About the National Forest Foundation
The National Forest Foundation works on behalf of the American public to inspire personal and meaningful connections to our National Forests. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF leads forest conservation efforts and promotes responsible recreation. Each year the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, facilitates common ground, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, and improves recreational opportunities. The NFF believes our National Forests and all they offer are an American treasure and are vital to the health of our communities. Learn more at nationalforests.org.
Mark Shelley, Eastern Program Director
National Forest Foundation