Athens Moon Tree

Athens, Georgia

[Athens Georgia Moon Tree] [Athens Moon Tree] [Athens Moon Tree]

Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) located at the Clarke County Planning Department in Athens, Georgia. It was planted around May 1976 at the Athens Regional Public Library. The library later moved to a new building and the site is now home to the Clarke County Planning Department at 120 Dougherty Street. The exact date of the planting is not known, it was reported as having been planted shortly before 16 May 1976 and it is mentioned in the 20 May 1976 minutes of the Clarke County Library Board.

The news clipping below left (Athens Site Selected For Rare 'Moon Tree') is from the Athens, Georgia, Banner-Herald News, January 18, 1976. The clipping below right (The Moon Tree Arrives) is from the Banner Herald of May 16, 1976, stating the tree was planted "recently" by the Athens Sertoma Club and local dignitaries.

[Athens Moon Tree Article] [Athens Moon Tree Article]

The tree was in danger of being removed for a development project, but that was averted. The tree has now been officially designated a cultural resource and a historic tree. A rededication ceremony was held on 7 May 2021 and the plaque was installed. The tree appears healthy as of 2022 with a measured girth of 95 inches.

The seeds for the loblolly pines were collected in Livingston Parish, Lousiana, and New Kent County, Virginia, and seeds from these lots were given to Stuart Roosa to take on Apollo 14. Unfortunately they were mixed together during the decontamination procedure after the flight so it is not possible to know which location this tree came from. The seeds were grown at the forest station in Gulfport Mississippi and distributed to Georgia in 1976.

The Clarke County Planning Department is at 120 W. Dougherty St. in downtown Athens. The tree is located at 33° 57.646' N, 83° 22.737' W. Top left picture was taken in 2019. Two top right pictures taken circa 2022. Pictures below left taken in 2021, picture on right in 2022.

[Athens Moon Tree] [Athens Moon Tree]
[Athens Moon Tree Plaque]

On 13 June 2023, the Athens Moon Tree was officially placed on the Landmark and Historic Tree Register by the Georgia Tree Council.

[Athens Moon Tree Certificate] [Athens Moon Tree Certificate]

Upper left photograph and clippings courtesy of Amy Hager
Upper two right pictures and tree girth image courtesy David Bacastow
Lower plaque and lower left tree pictures credit Athens-Clarke County
Georgia Tree Council images courtesy Melanie Jattuso Ford
Articles credit Athens Banner-Herald

 From the Crescent Moon to the Classic City - Athens Historical Society
 The Athens Moon Tree (Video) - Athens-Clarke County Government
 As a seed, it orbited the Moon on Apollo 14. 50 years later, this Athens pine is 'thriving' - Athens Banner-Herald, January 15, 2021
 'A cultural resource': Athens Moon Tree rededicated with new marker - Athens Banner-Herald, May 7, 2021

 History of the Moon Loblolly Pines
 Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams,
Last Updated: 22 May 2024, DRW