U.S. capitol Christmas tree
September 16, 2015
 
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini.  Alaskans are decorating the U.S Capitol Christmas tree. More are needed. I’ll tell you more after this… 
 
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Marine debris ornaments, and up to four thousand more adornments  representing Alaska’s landscapes, wildlife, heritage, and ecosystems will decorate the 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree this season. How-to lesson plans were created so that students and community members from all over the state can help make the unique ornaments.
 
“There are ten artists, including myself who have submitted lesson plans.”
 
Bonnie Dillard is a retired art teacher from Kodiak high school. Her marine debris ornament, along with the other nine artists designs were hand picked by the Alaska State Council of the Arts earlier this year.   
 
“I have a friend in Fairbanks who created a design using birch, and so each ornament reflects or has something to do with their area.”
 
Since 1970 the U.S. Forest Service chooses a different national forest to provide the Capitol with a Christmas tree. The People’s Tree sits on the lawn of the White House.  This year Alaska’s own Chugach National Forest was chosen to donate. The Alaskan made ornaments will decorate The People’s Tree, along with smaller trees in offices throughout D.C.    Dillard’s fish ornaments represent a growing global problem. Marine debris.  
 
“Every time you walk on the beach you find garbage; and it has always bothered me. So when people see this art, I want them to know that this is made out of marine debris. That there is an awful lot of this in the ocean, and Wow! This isn’t just a cute idea; this is something that is trying to communicate a problem that’s out there.”  
 
She wants her message to become a topic among the people making the ornaments to people seeing them on the tree.
 
“Any time they are handling  that marine debris while making that ornament I want the conversation going on that this is garbage from our ocean, we need to think about what happens to our garbage; Especially plastics. And then when the people see the ornaments I’m hoping somehow they will be an avenue for us to get the word out; And for people to look at them and think about our garbage, and where it ends up.”  
 
Dillard is holding a workshop in Kodiak September 19th. She invites any and all Alaskans to create an ornament, for more information and lesson plans visitwww.capitolchristmastree.com  
 
The deadline for ornaments is October 1st.  You can track the tree from Chugach to the Capitol find links at our website alaskafishradio.com
 
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com      In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.

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