This Saturday, Oct. 30, a 100-foot Douglas fir tree from Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) in Oregon will make its way to Kansas City, Mo., where it will stand as the centerpiece for a holiday charity drive to provide clothing, food and toys to 30,000 people in need.
Weyerhaeuser's Hallmark Tree Project is a 20-year tradition with long-time customer Hallmark Cards, Inc. Each year the goodwill gift is showcased at the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City.
Always one of the nation's tallest holiday trees, it is decorated with 1,000 ornaments and 7,000 lights. It takes volunteers two weeks to decorate the tree. A crowd of about 10,000 spectators is expected to attend the official lighting ceremony on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
After the holidays, Weyerhaeuser's gift will continue to benefit people in need when the tree is milled into limited edition, commemorative ornaments designed by Hallmark. Proceeds from ornament sales are added to funds and gifts already collected by the Kansas City Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund. Branches of the tree are ground into mulch for local park trails.
From the sustained forest
Weyerhaeuser crews harvested the tree earlier this week from company's Snow Peak Tree Farm near Lebanon, Ore. With Weyerhaeuser's forestland certified under the rigorous standards of the Sustainable Forest Initiative, the tree carries a "stamp of approval," recognizing Weyerhaeuser's comprehensive forestry management program that is a marriage of environmental responsibility and sound business practices.
Weyerhaeuser is Oregon's largest private forest landowner and with 1.2 million acres in the state, there are plenty of trees from which to choose. The tricky part is finding a tree that has a Christmas-tree shape and branch structure. Branches must have good color, full, robust needles and needles from the tip to the base of the branches.
In the forest, most Douglas fir trees have green branches along the upper third of their trunks. The lower third of the trunk is usually bare. That's because as trees grow, their lower branches begin to overlap causing them to receive less sunlight and eventually die. For the Hallmark tree, Weyerhaeuser foresters cut hundreds of branches from other trees to fill bare spots. The branches are attached to the holiday tree before decorating at Crown Center.
Cutting the tree is another adventure. To protect branches, a huge crane was used to carefully lower the tree. Weyerhaeuser crews spent several hours loading the 14,000-pound tree onto a specially designed flatbed trailer.
An eyeful for travelers across six states
Weyerhaeuser's giant tree is known to turn many heads as it travels on the nation's highways through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas before arriving Thursday, Nov. 4, in Kansas City, Mo. Hauling the tree requires special permits and, because of its extra-long length, the tree can be transported only during daylight hours.
The tree's contract hauler, RAM Trucking Inc. of Brownsville, Ore., will take six days to deliver the tree, which leaves Oregon on Oct. 30. It will stop overnight in Boise, Idaho; Little America, Wyo.; Denver, Colo.; Hays, Kan. and Topeka, Kan.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2003, sales were $19.9 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/ .
CONTACT: Mike Moskovitz, +1-541-741-5431, for Weyerhaeuser.
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SOURCE: Weyerhaeuser Company
CONTACT: Mike Moskovitz, +1-541-741-5431, for Weyerhaeuser
Web site: http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/