NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – “The People’s Tree” made a stop on the coast in New Bern on Saturday.
Hundreds gathered at Union Point Park for Saturday’s event. “From the Mountains to the Sea” is the theme of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this year, celebrating the diversity of North Carolina’s forests.
“This year, the tree is named Ruby, which is short for Picea rubens, which is the scientific name for a Red Spruce,” said National Forests in North Carolina Public Affairs Specialist Adrianne Rubiaco.
She said “The People’s Tree” was a statewide community effort.
“This tree is from North Carolina, and it will be adorned by ornaments that were made by North Carolinians across the state. Over 100 communities contributed to the ornaments that will go on Ruby as she decorates the Mall this holiday season,” said Rubiaco.
New Bern officials said the event took months to plan, but it was worth the effort to see the 78-foot-tall red spruce in the area.
“We’ve been planning this event since around April, so it’s so awesome to finally see it all come together,” New Bern’s Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, Kari Warren, said.
The tree’s tour began earlier this month. Organizers and those involved with the tree said the reception to the spruce was great.
“It has been beyond what I can imagine, it’s been great, people have been so happy to see it, which I’ve enjoyed greatly as well, but it’s been so positive. It’s great unity as the tree comes down through the state,” said Rodney Smith, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Sawyer.
Not only did the tree bring the festive spirit of the holidays to New Bern but it also brought an educational opportunity to learn more about red spruces.
“Spruce-fir forests are actually one of the rarest ecosystems in the country, and Ruby represents this great opportunity for us to bring attention to Red Spruce restoration and the need to restore these forests,” said Rachael Dickson, a Pisgah Forest zone silviculturist.
For those interested in tracking the tree’s travel to the Capitol, a link can be found here.