BRANCHBURG, NJ  - A white pine newly planted on campus at Raritan Valley Community College made a long journey before it was planted on campus near the planetarium last week.

The white pine, planted Nov. 28, was grown from seeds that traveled aboard a Columbia space shuttle flight in April 1997.

The seeds had been given to NASA from the New Jersey Forest Tree Nursery and traveled 1.5 million miles aboard the shuttle at 17,500 miles per hour. After the mission, they were returned to the New Jersey Forest Service for germination. While white pine seeds generally germinate in approximately 10-14 days, these seeds germinated in half that time.

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The “space pine” tree planted at the College was one of two trees given to Dr. Jay Kelly, RVCC Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Forestry. Kelly gave the other tree to Readington Middle School, where it also was planted last month.

For additional information, contact Professor Jay Kelly at jkelly@raritanval.edu.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road.