Every year, the Christmas tree that graces the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol originates from one of our country’s National Forests. It may not be widely known that the USDA’s Forest Service is instrumental in facilitating the Capitol Christmas Tree’s transport from the forest to the Washington, DC, yet it’s a proud tradition that has steadily gained attention each year with the growing popularity of social media tools. The 2011 annual trek is our number 6 favorite social media moment.
This year, USDA used a different platform, foursquare, to “ride along” virtually and track the tree’s progress from Stanislaus National Forest in California all the way to Washington, D.C. With the help of the Forest Service’s on-the-ground public affairs team, we checked-in the 63 foot Sierra white fir on foursquare, adding a geolocation tag and tips to document each stop along the way. This gave people a turn-by-turn guide for the path of the Capital Christmas Tree including events in many cities and towns and even a stop in Santa Claus, Indiana!
At this time of year, we like to pay special attention to the hard work and dedication of our workforce and the great effort it takes to pull off an annual tradition like the Capitol Christmas Tree. We hope our foursquare check-ins and the virtual tracking let more people in to the process that brought this majestic tree to its home on the Capitol lawn and gave people the opportunity to virtually experience the tree’s journey for themselves.