Seminole County school receives ‘Moon Tree’ grown from seed that flew on Artemis 1

A Seminole County elementary school’s garden has a stellar new addition.

Lawton Elementary is now home to a “Moon Tree” called Luna. Lawton was selected out of more than 1,300 applications to receive the sweetgum seedling, which grew from seeds that flew aboard Artemis 1 in Nov. 2022.

Lawton is one of the first 50 schools across the U.S. to receive seedlings. The seeds flew more than 270,000 miles aboard the Orion spacecraft. This new round of trees carry the legacy of the original Moon Trees that began in 1971 with the Apollo missions.

Two NASA scientists were at the tree’s dedication in the school’s LESA gardens: Dr. Gena Henderson and Charmel Anderson-Jones are both working on the Artemis missions. Henderson shared with the students that she is a product of Seminole County Public Schools.

“I’m excited to see them. I am so enthusiastic, not just about the stem, but just about Artemis period. I mean, we spend so much money and time and energy, trying to make sure the public is engaged in what we’re actually doing. Not everybody can push the button. But everybody can do something at this level,” Henderson said.

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Fourth-grade students helped plant Luna in what will be the Moon Tree Garden.

According to NASA, the goal of the Moon Trees is to engage the next generation of STEM professionals.

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