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Ornaments representing Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and Minidoka Internment National Monument are 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."
The Craters of the Moon ornament was designed and painted by local artist Ms.Gretchen Lawrence of Mackay, Idaho. It features a painting of the lava beds covered by winter snow. The Hagerman Fossil Beds ornament was designed by Park Ranger Stephanie Martin and features a design composed of chiffon fabric that shows zebras and plants from the Pliocene Epoch. The Minidoka Internment ornament was designed by Park Guide Dianna McKeage who created the Minidoka Internment ornament using strips from "The Irrigator", the Jerome Hunt Camp newspaper published during WWII. The internment symbol on the ornament was designed by Mr. Frank Fujii of Mercer Island, Washington.
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 System. 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 next century."
During this holiday season visit one of Idaho's national parks. Craters of the Moon visitor center is open daily 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day). Hagerman Fossil Beds and Minidoka Internment visitor center is open Thursday - Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except for December 24,25 and 26 and New Year's Day). The Craters of the Moon Natural History Association has a variety of books and other park related items available for purchase at both locations.
View all 347 different national park ornaments at the following link: