NASA ‘Moon Tree’ Takes Root in South Carolina Soil

Pictured here is one of NASA’s ‘Moon Trees’ planted at Conway Elementary School on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo: Keep Conway Beautiful)

CONWAY, S.C. — Conway Elementary School students and faculty, along with community members, gathered to celebrate the planting of their very own NASA ‘Moon Tree’ on May 9, 2024. The ‘Moon Tree’ was grown from a batch of seedlings that flew around the Moon on the agency’s Artemis I mission in 2022, and is one of almost 50 granted by NASA to be distributed to institutions across 48 contiguous U.S. states.

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Services to fly five species of tree seeds aboard Artemis I as part of a national STEM Engagement and conservation education initiative. These seedlings traveled through space for 25 ½-days, orbiting the moon before returning to Earth. Subsequently, they were carefully germinated under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture, preparing them for their eventual distribution for planting across the nation. Conway Elementary School was granted a sweetgum tree.

The five tree species aboard the Artemis I included (source: NASA):

  • Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda): Fast-growing conifer native to the southeastern U.S.; one of the most common species in the U.S.
  • American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis): Deciduous tree native to the central and eastern U.S.; known to live up to 600 years.
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua): Native deciduous tree from Texas east to the Atlantic Ocean and north to the Great Lakes marked by deep glossy green star-shaped leaves.
  • Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum): Native to California, a conifer with distinct red/orange bark; known to reach ages of up to 3,400 years and among the tallest growing trees in the world.
  • Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii): Native conifer to western North America; its name honors the intrepid botanist and explorer David Douglas.

Keep Conway Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, was invited to attend the event and had this to say about their experience.

“It was an honor to be invited to such a special event and I’m excited that Conway, SC is now home to a Moon Tree! I look forward to seeing this tree grow and thrive alongside Keep Conway Beautiful.”

About Keep America Beautiful®:

Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful® strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green, and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. The organization is driven by the work and passion of 700 Keep America Beautiful® affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedin, and YouTubeDonate and take action at kab.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

McCall Vrydaghs

Keep America Beautiful®

communications@kab.org