Forty delicate porcelain sea gulls encased in plastic bubbles will be on their way east this week, where they'll rest on one of 57 trees on the Pathway of Peace.
The birds, handmade and painted by Esther Peck of Bountiful, are Sen. Orrin Hatch's Christmas gift to the nation's Capitol from his home state.Each year the National Christmas Tree is surrounded by 57 trees representing the states and territories.
Ornaments that reflect the legacies the states contribute to the nation have been created from wood, pewter, glass brass, natural fibers and bread dough.
The trees are generally sponsored by commercial, womens' and civic organizations.
It's the first year a senator and his staff have gotten involved. Hatch aide Jan Bennett designed the ornaments, which were made by Peck. Her daughter, Sharon Peck Garn, and staffers Janet Zenger and Pat Godfrey were also on the tree committee.
"Everyone did it on lunch hours and own time as an extra service to the state," said Bennett, who credits Peck for the project's success.
"For me it was a great honor to be selected to do this for Orrin Hatch's office," the Bountiful artist said.
Next year the staff hopes to make a small duplicate of the tree for display in Utah.