FARMINGTON – A 60-foot-tall tree from New Mexico is headed on a 2,000-mile journey to the nation’s capital this week.
This year’s Christmas tree, a blue spruce cut Nov. 6, was chosen from the Carson National Forest.
The journey east will take most of November, as the tree makes a number of stops, including stopping at Shiprock High School and Central Primary Elementary School in Bloomfield last Wednesday. The tree, which will be displayed in front of the U.S. Capitol, will also display 10,000 handmade ornaments created by New Mexicans.
The Shiprock High School band performed and Ojo Amarillo Elementary School students sung Christmas carols during the free community event, according to a statement by Central Consolidated Schools spokesman Roberto Taboada. Third grade students from Ojo Amarillo Elementary were also chosen to make ornaments to be displayed on the tree, Taboada said.
“It gives us great pride and joy for them to be able to share our cultural uniqueness. Our students will definitely remember this experience for the rest of their lives,” said Pandora Mike, principal of the elementary school, in a written statement.
During the tree-cutting ceremony in the Red River area in the Questa Ranger District, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said, “It’s such a privilege to share a small piece of our public lands with the nation’s capital for this year’s celebration.”
The Carson National Forest partnered with the nonprofit Choose Outdoors to bring the tree east. New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall said in a Facebook post, “I’m so glad that the Land of Enchantment is playing such a big role in celebrating this holiday in the nation’s capital. And the Capitol is lucky to have a tree from beautiful New Mexico.”
When New Mexico’s involvement was first announced earlier this year, Ricardo Martinez, deputy district ranger and project coordinator, said it was a unique opportunity to highlight the state and its public lands.
“We will seek opportunities to share stewardship of this project by engaging with the state, tribal and local communities, as well as partners from the private and public sectors,” Martinez said.
The tree is expected to reach Washington, D.C., on Nov. 25, but for those looking for live updates, there’s a Capitol Tree Tracker run by Spireon, a vehicle intelligence company.
This story has been updated to note the correct location for the Christmas tree from New Mexico. It will be in the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.[email protected]