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      Deal selects Christmas Ornament artist for National Christmas Tree

      Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal, along with the National Park Foundation have announced that local artist Cindy Murphy has been chosen to design Georgia's Christmas tree ornaments for the 2012 National Christmas Tree display in Washington.To assist her, Murphy selected 13 students from the Youth Students of the Southern Heartland Art Guild in Covington, Georgia to assist with the display to incorporate the state TMs theme: Weekend for Wildlife.We are excited to see Georgia once again take part in this tradition, and we are proud of these talented Georgia artists who continue to enrich our state TMs rich culture, said Gov. and Mrs. Deal in the press release. This display will showcase our state TMs efforts to save precious wildlife and unite Georgians with the rest of our nation as we celebrate the 2012 holiday season together.The Deal TMs selected theme was Weekend for Wildlife: Wild Success Stories -- Twenty-five Years and Counting to honor the Department of Natural Resources TM work to conserve Georgia TMs nongaming wildlife. The ornaments will be constructed using a mosaic of textures such as glass, mirror, natural stones and shells. Murphy TMs designs will reference wildlife success stories such as the repopulation of the American bald eagle, the sea turtle, the purple pitcher and others, and incorporate the number 25.I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to represent Georgia TMs culture through my art, said Murphy in the release. I hope the tree display will convey a little piece of Georgia TMs unique beauty to our entire nation.Working with Ms. Cindy to create ornaments that celebrate our great state in such a memorable and creative way has been a wonderful experience, said 17-year-old Youth Students of the Southern Heartland Art Guild member Jeffery Jones in the release. Together, each of us has the vision of design, but like Georgia, our diversity makes us stronger.The National Christmas Tree Lighting has evolved into one of America TMs oldest holiday traditions. Beginning Christmas Eve of 1923, President Calvin Coolidge set the standing precedent for all future presidents by officiating a Christmas tree lighting for 3,000 spectators in Presidents TM Park. The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service now put on a month-long event hosting a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions to commemorate this tradition. The 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place in President TMs Park on Thursday, Dec. 6. For more information on tickets and talent announcements visit