Innovation Lab High School receives ‘Moon Tree’ through NASA, USDA Forest Service project

Innovation Lab High School receives ‘Moon Tree’ through NASA, USDA Forest Service project
Innovation Lab High School students plant their "moon tree" sapling on campus

Innovation Lab High School was selected as one of less than 50 institutions across the country to receive a “moon tree” seedling that flew around the moon on NASA’s Artemis I mission in 2022. The young American sycamore seedling was planted by students on the grounds of Innovation Lab just off the North Creek Trail on May 6. 

Innovation Lab sophomore Alex Murillo Segoviano brought the opportunity to the attention of his physics teacher Alex Carpenter last summer. After students led the application process last fall, they learned earlier this spring they had been selected as one of the recipients.

In a partnership between NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement and the USDA Forest Service, the seeds flew on the Artemis I 270,000 miles from Earth around the surface of the moon. Since returning to Earth, the tree seeds have been germinating under the care of the Forest Service.

During an assembly prior to planting the tree, Murillo Segoviano addressed his fellow students and thanked them for their support of this project.

“This may seem like the end result of a project, the end result of something,” Murillo Segoviano said. “But this is really just the beginning.”

NASA’s work interests Murillo Segoviano, who described the moon tree project as representing hope and optimism. Like with the Apollo project, he said the Artemis research will be at the forefront of advancements in science and technology.

“Innovators and ravens, when I look at the moon tree, I see the door that opens up for each and every one of us,” said Murillo Segoviano to his fellow students. “I see how it symbolizes a world of possibilities, of things we thought of as fiction, and something that we can accomplish.”

Students took turns gently shoveling dirt around the 3-foot sapling. Interested students will care for the tree, build a perimeter around it, and plan educational activities related to the moon tree moving forward. 

Murillo Segoviano drew a connection between Innovation Lab High School’s focus on teaching 21st century skills and this moon tree project. He described the 21st century as meaning, “the next generation of innovators spreading out their wings and delivering back to the world gifts of a wide range, from computing to consumer products to this – a tree that went around the moon and back, right here on our campus. That’s what the 21st century means - the Artemis generation.”



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