Residents help adorn nation's Christmas tree

Dale Duby of Great Basin Art, owner of the Prairie City Trading Post, and Melanie DeJong, representing the Greater Prairie City Community Association, highlight ornaments destined to adorn trees at the nation's capitol. The Eagle/HEATHER SHEEDY

GRANT COUNTY - For the first time, Oregon was selected to provide "America's Holiday Tree" to the White House in Washington, D.C.

A 70-foot ponderosa pine is being transported from Coos Bay to the nation's capitol. In addition, more than 50 smaller trees from Oregon will adorn the inside of the capitol building.

Building on the theme "Oregon's Gift to the Nation," each county was invited to provide ornaments which were to "showcase our state's natural beauty and the spirit of the people who call Oregon home." When some local individuals and organizations heard about the honor, they wanted to be involved. The ornaments are expected to represent the wonderful diversity, rich cultural heritage, and natural beauty of our state by capturing the rich past and prosperous future.

Ornaments provided from Grant County do just that.

Two members of the Greater Prairie City Community Association - Melanie DeJong and Dale Duby of Great Basin Art and owner of the Prairie City Trading Post - prepared some unique ornaments incorporating juniper wood that was cut, sanded, drilled, sealed and then adorned with antlers, pine cones, juniper greens and berries, moss and feathers, including a mountain bluebird feather. The pair made 13 exquisite ornaments which were mailed off on Nov. 4. Duby plans to make more similar ornaments to sell in his store this holiday season.

Likewise, the Grant County Art Association wanted to participate in this opportunity to be viewed at Washington D.C.'s Christmas tree and got busy preparing their contribution. Pete Allen, son of Royel and Lorene Allen, fashioned a pattern of a maple leaf and cut the 8- to 10-inch-long leaves out of metal flashing. Members of the Grant County Art Association - Lorene Allen, Lila Barry and Connie Beil - then hand-painted the 26 leaves in fall colors using oil and acrylic paints. Since some members wanted to have the leaves shine, most were painted only on one side.

Bill and Nadia Schultz of Prairie City also couldn't let the request go unanswered. They produced five more ornaments with post cards and pictures decoupaged onto juniper wood. Scenic places around the county such as the Depot Museum, Magone Lake, Strawberry Mountain and Strawberry Lake are showcased as well as a cattle drive. Grant County Extension Agent Elaine Husted will add one more piece of Grant County's history depicting 4-H, which he was decoupaged onto juniper wood.

The ornaments will not be returned to Grant County. After they are removed from the tree in January, they will be given to Washington D.C. school children.

More information can be accessed at www.capitolholidaytree2002.com.

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