And the Winner of the Moon tree is…

Commissioner Franz picks a winning city for a Moon Tree. Left to Right: Erin Baumgart, (the grafter), Hilary Franz, Linden Lampman

This fall, one lucky Washington community will become home to a Washington State Moon Tree!

Recently, a survey for urban and community forestry activities was sent to all cities and towns in Washington. Each city that participated in the survey was automatically entered into a drawing to receive a Washington State Moon Tree sapling to plant in their community for Urban and Community Forestry Month.

What is a Moon Tree you might ask?

During the Apollo XIV mission in 1971, 500 seeds from five different types of trees were taken into orbit. Following the flight, seeds were planted and grown out to test germination. Almost all seeds sprouted successfully and were eventually given away to state forestry organizations. Washington state’s tree – a Douglas fir — was, subsequently, planted on the Capital Campus. A few years ago, cuttings were taken from this tree and grafted to new rootstock, which resulted in a limited number of new saplings. Since they are being grown on different roots, the saplings are technically half-moons!

On Monday, October 2, to kick off Urban & Community Forestry Month, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz reached down into a bowl containing the participating cities’ names and drew our lucky Moon Tree winner.

And the winner is… (drumroll please…) Des Moines!

Thank you to all who participated in the survey, and Happy Urban & Community Forestry Month!

Here is a list of the locations of trees still standing from seedlings that Apollo astronauts transported.

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