Calling all fourth graders in Colorado! Governor Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, invite Colorado fourth graders to take part in sending the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. by entering the Experience Your Nature essay contest. The winner of the essay contest will win an exclusive tour of the Colorado State Capitol, plus the winning essay will be displayed on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website. 

Theme: The essay theme, “Experience Your Nature,” asks young people to share how they’ve spent time outside in Colorado during this challenging year and why the state’s forests are important to them.

Selection: The winning essay will be hand-selected by Governor Polis and First Gentleman Reis, who like many Coloradans are passionate about outdoor conservation and recreation and using writing as a creative outlet.

Essays can be up to 500 words.
Essays should be submitted either as a typed document or as a scanned hand-written document.
This contest is open to current fourth-grade students.
The essay should include the name of the student, the best email for the student’s family, the name of the student’s teacher and principal, and the name, address, and phone number of the student’s school.
Students are also encouraged to submit supplemental photos and videos of their experiences in Colorado’s outdoor spaces. Those choosing to submit photos and videos must also complete and submit a signed release form (download here.)

How to Enter:
Students should send their 500-word essay to by November 9th. 
*If submitting photos or videos, be sure to include the signed release form (download here).

Additional Details:
The essay contest is operated in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service’s “Every Kid Outdoors” initiative, which invites all U.S. fourth graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture..

All fourth graders who submit an essay will also have access to the Every Kids Outdoors program, which was created so fourth graders and their families could discover our wildlife, nature, and history for free. Visit to start your adventure and access your free pass to national lands. Fourth graders are also eligible for a free Christmas tree cutting permit with their Every Kid Outdoors pass or paper voucher. Online Christmas tree permits are available through

View the press release here.

*Photo credit: Bob Wick