Friday Letter 2016-11-18:
From Idaho to the U.S. Capitol
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This holiday season, Idaho residents can share the pride of knowing the tree shining at the U.S. Capitol glows with a little extra silver and gold flair, cut from the heart of our beautiful state.
Known as “the People’s Tree,” this stately evergreen is telling the story of Idaho — and of us as the state’s land-grant university. This designation gives UI a distinct mission to provide access to higher education across our state, to conduct innovative research and to engage our statewide community.
This year's tree hails from the Payette National Forest near our McCall Field Campus. For more than 75 years, the McCall Field Campus has been a critical part of our effort to bring more students to college. UI’s McCall Outdoor Science School has delivered hands-on learning opportunities to more than 20,000 K-12 students from across Idaho. More than 1,000 teachers have participated in professional training that equips them to prepare our next generation.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree represents our historic role in research connected to natural resources, especially through our College of Natural Resources. Our ready access to facilities, forests and wilderness areas provide students unmatched opportunities to work in the field. Among those resources is the 10,000-acre UI Experimental Forest, just 20 minutes from our Moscow campus. The Taylor Wilderness Research Station in the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is a home like no other for faculty and student research — 70 percent of UI natural resources students get involved in research. These assets and experiences have helped make the College of Natural Resources a top 10 natural resource college, according to USA Today.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stopped at the University of Idaho in Moscow last week on its way across the country to Washington, D.C., and many UI students and employees added their holiday greetings to the truck. You can view photos of its visit to Moscow on my Facebook page.
As the tree continues its national tour, it symbolizes many things — the beauty of our state, the traditions of family and community, and a sense of national unity. We can be proud that this symbol of Christmas spirit came from Idaho, and proud of the role that the University of Idaho plays in studying, protecting and preserving our beautiful forests.
The tree symbolizes a promise of a bright future for our state, our nation and our institution. I am glad that our state, our Idaho, can help share that story.