- By Kelley Luckstein
Mayo Clinic and Rochester Downtown Alliance to Host U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree
Peace, Joy and Health: Rochester’s Capitol Christmas Tree Celebration
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Mayo Clinic and the Rochester Downtown Alliance are teaming up to host the nation’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this November. For the past 50 years, a beautiful evergreen tree has appeared on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the holiday season. The U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with Choose Outdoors and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, will bring this special tree from Minnesota to Washington. It will make nearly 30 community stops along the way, including the Rochester Peace Plaza on Friday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be free and the public is welcome.
Here is a video of the lighting of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree (Source: U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture)
As part of the upcoming celebration, children from Civic League Day Nursery and students from Mayo High School participated in a tree planting in front of Mayo Clinic's Mayo Building this week during Mayo's Heritage Days festivities. The students also decorated the tree with ornaments made from local children.
“The last time the Capitol Christmas Tree came from a forest in Minnesota was 1992 so this is a special event,” says Jane Matsumoto, M.D., Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, one of the event organizers. “The visit of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is an opportunity to highlight the wonderful forests and the Native American heritage of Minnesota. It is also a time for our community to celebrate joy, peace and health, the theme of the Rochester event. Over 1,000 ornaments were made by Rochester and Winona school children earlier this fall and these have already been shipped to Washington D.C., to be hung on the tree when it arrives.”
Festivities include performances by the Rochester Youth Dance Theater, Bella Voce Young Women’s Choir, Words Players Theater, bell choirs, presentations by public officials, visits by Smokey the Bear and live reindeer, hot chocolate and food vendors, a gift drive for Toys for Tots, a food drive for Channel One and much more. The event will coincide with holiday programming by the Rochester Downtown Alliance.
“This annual tradition provides the opportunity for communities to celebrate the spirit of the season and the forests that connect us all,” says Darla Lenz, forest supervisor of the Chippewa National Forest. “It is truly an honor that the Chippewa National Forest was selected to provide this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and we are extremely proud to share a tree that represents Minnesota’s natural resources.”
The Capitol Christmas Tree is traditionally lighted during a ceremony at the beginning of December, and remains lit each night though New Year's Day. For news, updates, tour information and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com. For information about the event, visit www.downtownrochestermn.com/capitolchristmastree.
Here is video of the cutting ceremony of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree (Source: U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture)
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, please visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about/ and http://www.mayoclinic.org/news.
About Chippewa National Forest
The Chippewa National Forest is the first national forest established east of the Mississippi River, with nearly 700,000 acres at the River’s headwaters in north-central Minnesota. The Forest shares boundaries with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and contains outstanding cultural resources; premier habitat for aquatic, riparian and terrestrial wildlife and plants, including nesting habitat for the largest breeding population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states; and vast wetland resources. Visit the Chippewa National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa for more information.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land; provides assistance to state and private landowners; and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, see www.fs.fed.us.
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. www.chooseoutdoors.org.