Congressional Recognition For Potter County’s ‘Moon Tree’

From Potter County Today

moontreecoverPotter County’s “moon tree” will receive Congressional recognition in advance of a dedication ceremony later this month. Rep. Glenn Thompson is supporting the effort to commemorate the special tree at Coudersport Area Recreation Park by presenting a ceremonial floor speech before the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also sending a representative to the Arbor Day (Friday, April 29) dedication of the tree, marking the 40th anniversary of its return to earth after traveling to the moon aboard Apollo 14.

It all dates back to Jan. 31, 1971, when Apollo 14 blasted off. Astronaut Stuart Roosa brought along a canister of seeds to determine if being in the weightlessness of space would cause them to grow differently. These seeds were later germinated, analyzed, and given out to dozens of communities in 1976 during the country’s bicentennial celebration. NASA is now inventorying and studying the “moon trees.”


Few who pass the sycamore tree at CARP are aware of its significance. NASA’s Dr. David Williams said that’s not uncommon. The whereabouts of most of the trees — redwood, Douglas fir, sycamore, sweet gum and loblolly pine — remain unknown to NASA and he’s eager to find them. Dr. Williams believes that, with DNA analysis technology now available, it’s time to re-examine the trees to determine the long-term effects of space on botanical specimens’ genetic structure.


Coudersport Area Lions Club is partnering with Coudersport Borough, the Potter County Commissioners, the Pa. Bureau of Forestry and others for a dedication ceremony that will bring long-overdue attention to the special tree. It was rescued by Carol Patterson, who operated a nursery near Colesburg. It stands about 35 feet tall and is located next to the Allegheny River near the park caretaker’s mobile home. Lions Club leaders are assembling a short program on April 29 at 1 pm, open to the public, to dedicate the moon tree.

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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