The theme for this year’s White House Christmas tree is “Holiday in the National Parks.” Mount Rainier National Park is being recognized with a handmade ornament. The tree is in the White House’s blue room.
There are 347 ornaments on the tree. To see one from each state, check out the White House website.
Here are some photos of the ornament courtesy of MRNP.
Click below to read the announcement from Mount Rainier National Park and the Park Service.
A Mount Rainier National Park ornament is
prominently displayed on this year’s official White House Christmas
Tree. The tree is the centerpiece of elaborate decorations celebrating
the theme of "Holiday in the National Parks."
"It is an amazing honor for the National Park Service to be selected as
the theme for the White House holiday decorations by the President and
Mrs. Bush," said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. "Mrs.
Bush is the best champion for our national parks, and the beautiful
decorations in each state room showcase the natural and historical
treasures found in parks throughout the country."
The tree, located in the Blue Room, is adorned with handmade ornaments
representing the country’s 391 National Park Service sites. "Each
ornament on the magnificent 18-foot Fraser fir was designed by an artist
selected by the park," said Bomar. "The ornaments tell the stories of
our parks, just as our parks tell the stories of our nation."
Eatonville artist Dale Thompson created the ornament that represents the
park for the White House tree. "I was really very privileged to have
been asked to do it (the ornament) and hope it will be well received by
the Bush family. It is an honor to have it on the tree" said Thompson.
The ornament depicts the traditional iconic mountain scene of Paradise
meadows and the Muir snowfield taken from Mazama Ridge. A
self-described bird nut, Thompson also included on the back side of the
ornament images of two colorful bird species found in the park – the
western tanager and the Steller’s jay perched on white pine boughs.
Thompson prepared the golden globe with a base matte finish of Krylon
spray, painted it white, then used acrylic paints to complete the image.
A finishing coat of gloss Krylon spray was applied to preserve the paint
finish and provide shine. In total, Thompson estimates he spent 55-60
hours on his work of art.
Thompson has a long history with the National Park Service, having
worked for 20 years in seven national parks before retiring as Mount
Rainier’s Chief Park Naturalist in 1981. Now Thompson spends his days
as an artist, preferring to paint bird images in watercolor.
The holiday displays incorporate the wide variety of natural, cultural,
and recreational features preserved by the National Park Service.
Models of icons such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Statue of
Liberty share space with paintings of scenic vistas from Grand Canyon,
Zion, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Holiday garlands intertwined
with park objects including seashells, pine cones, and gold aspen leaves
add to each room’s festive feel.
A highlight of the decorations is a scaled-down, but architecturally
accurate, gingerbread reproduction of the south view of the White House,
a unit of the National Park Service. The edible masterpiece includes
Bush family pets Barney, Miss Beazley, and Willie frolicking on the lawn
with moose, elk, raccoons, and other animals found in national parks.
"National Parks commemorate the people, places, and events that define
the American experience," said Secretary of the Interior Dirk
Kempthorne. "I am so appreciative of President Bush’s efforts to
recognize the important role of national parks in American society. Our
country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park
Service in 2016 and the President has been instrumental in establishing
the National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare the parks for the