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NASA collaborates with popular park to plant Ohio’s first-ever ‘tree from moon’

NASA collaborates with popular park to plant Ohio’s first-ever ‘tree from moon’

Sav McKee

Back in 1971, Apollo 14 astronauts brought a sycamore seedling into outer space and kept in on board the spaceship. In 1976, the seedling was given to the Franklin Park Conservatory via the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The “moon tree” was supposed to be planted in Bicentennial Park after a few years of growing its strong roots at the Conservatory, but unfortunately, the tree never survived. It died in the nursery, and the highly prized moon tree never made it to Bicentennial Park, and was never officially planted into the ground, according to NASA’s website.

Fast forward to decades later, and there’s a new moon tree making headlines! In an initiative between NASA and the U.S. Forest Service, a “moon tree” Sweetgum sapling that spent six weeks in space aboard the Orion spacecraft has been officially planted in Wayne National Forest, near Hocking Hills. And it’s doing great!


According to U.S. Forest Service’s release, Athens Ranger District Silviculturist Lily Zahor nominated Wayne National Forest’s Headquarters building to receive the moon tree because it’s easily accessible to local communities, and the foresters will always be around to take care of the incredibly rare tree. 

Photo via U.S. Forest’s Facebook

The Forest requests that visitors admire the Moon Tree respectfully. Fencing and wire mesh will prevent wildlife and landscape maintenance activities from damaging the sapling.

You can visit this incredible moon tree at the Forest Headquarters, located at 13700 US-33, in Nelsonville, OH. Sounds like a perfect excuse to get out to Hocking Hills this summer, too.

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