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tree seedling that orbited the moon in NASA spaceship planted at Young Junior High
Posted in , on May 24, 2024

Young JH one of only 50 awarded a Moon Tree

Most everyone dreams of going to the moon one day. But if you can’t make it to the moon, maybe a Moon Tree from NASA is the next best thing. 

At least that’s what Young Junior High principal Kirsten Lundin believes.  

Earlier this month, the school’s eighth-grade community joined together to plant its own Moon Tree seedling. With NASA’s Artemis program, the seed traveled into lunar orbit aboard the Orion spacecraft spending four weeks in space before returning to Earth.  

“We have a tree from outer space,” Lundin said. “How many people can say that?” 

Through NASA’s Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Services, it flew five species of tree seeds aboard Artemis I as part of a national STEM engagement and conservation education initiative. Museums, universities, federal agencies and K-12-serving organizations were invited to apply for ownership of a Moon Tree seedling.  

That’s when art teacher Diedre Grimm and Young’s eighth grade science teachers decided to take the chance.  

“It’s really exciting,” Grimm said. “To have this collaborative effort that everyone worked on together is so cool.” 

With over 1,300 applications, the school was one of only 50 awarded a seedling.  

“We were one of the lucky ones,” said Lundin. “And now we have a tree from outer space planted right here in front of our building.” 

The tree will serve as a living educational tool for students learning about Earth and space science as a part of the eighth grade curriculum. The school even plans to enhance the tree’s significance through its next kindness campaign where students will decorate rocks to place around the tree, fostering a sense of community. 

“We are super excited,” Lundin said. “It’s a unique opportunity to connect our students with the history of space exploration and the future possibilities that lie ahead.” 

Learn more about the history of NASA’s STEM Artemis Moon Trees.