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Press Release

Mike Mongo, Astronaut Teacher, Author, and Official Ambassador Of Johnny Appleseed In Space, Arrives For Two Week Stay As Visiting Scholar At UU

Urbana, OH (September 25, 2019)

Taking the Johnny Appleseed legend and teachings to new heights of awareness, in April Dr. Christopher Washington, Urbana University’s Executive Vice President, and Pam Achenbach-Covert, Johnny Appleseed Museum Coordinator Professor, announced the appointment of Mike Mongo, astronaut teacher, founder of Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Job Fair , and the author of The Astronaut Instruction Manual, as the official Ambassador of Johnny Appleseed in Space. The announcement, made during Mike Mongo’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) keynote this past April in Arlington, VA, opened the door for a number of awareness activities, including United States launch service provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) partnering to carry the Ohio-grown apple seeds to and from space.

The agreement to send seeds into space is the result of the Johnny Appleseed in Space Project, a STEM/STEAM initiative to send apple seeds from authentic Ohio-grown Johnny Appleseed apple trees up to space and return them to Earth for distribution to participating schools in and outside Ohio and the US for propagating and planting as “Johnny Appleseed Space Apple Trees.”

“Johnny Appleseed started his mission as a teenager, planting and propagating hundreds of thousands of apple trees from Pennsylvania to Ohio and beyond, allowing for homesteading and community building by individual farmers and families while also bringing books and education to the absolute fringes of wilderness” shared Mongo. “Imagine how Johnny Appleseed would feel knowing his legacy and those same apple seeds are now being carried out to the stars!”

To share insights into all of his recent work as Ambassador, Mongo arrived at Urbana University this week as a visiting scholar. During his visit, Mongo will attend a variety of events and share insights into his efforts leading the Johnny Appleseed in Space project for Urbana University and the Johnny Appleseed Foundation.

Planned events include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 26 (4-6 p.m.): Johnny’s Birthday Party
    Join us for games, face painting, food, apple cider pressing, Museum tours and more! FREE to the public.
  • Friday, Sept.27 (8-11p.m.): Outdoor Movie Night
    Come and meet astronaut teacher Mike Mongo before and after the movie and join the discussion about Johnny’s role in inspiring us to look to the stars as we begin searching the space frontier. FREE to the public.
  • Saturday, Sept. 28 (1 p.m.):  Urbana University Football vs. Notre Dame College
    Cheer on the UU Blue Knights as they face-off with Notre Dame College. Mike Mongo, the Johnny Appleseed Society, the Johnny Appleseed  Foundation and more will be honored before the game.

Mongo will be visiting Champaign County schools during his stay to introduce the Johnny Appleseed in Space project and encourage local students to participate in February 2020’s Champaign County Science Days and Science Fairs, while discussing agriculture’s role in tomorrow’s jobs in Space.

For further details and more information on media opportunities, please contact Pam Achenbach-Covert, Johnny Appleseed Museum, or Mike Mongo, Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Job Fair,

About Mike Mongo, Astronaut Teacher 
Mike Mongo is the founder of Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Job Fair and author of The Astronaut Instruction Manual (Penguin Random House). Mr. Mongo is an active educational proponent of STEAM, as well as a dedicated proponent of astronautics-as-a-career for students in the US and abroad. As an internationally recognized public speaker, educator and Space STEAM advocate, Mr. Mongo teaches throughout the US, Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, the UK, and Colombia to encourage STEAM-directed students to pursue careers in astronautics and Space-related industry.

About the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center & Museum
The Johnny Appleseed Educational Center & Museum holds the largest collection of memorabilia and written information about the life of John "Appleseed" Chapman in the world. Complete with a computer research database, a family history, and National Registry of Johnny Appleseed’s relatives, The Johnny Appleseed Educational Center & Museum is a wealth of genuine American history.

About Urbana University - A Branch Campus of Franklin University

Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, prepares students for successful and professional careers within a caring and supportive environment. Regionally well known for education and teacher preparation programs, Urbana was founded in 1850 and acquired by Franklin in 2014. Urbana’s 128-acre, residential campus nestled in heart of Ohio provides a background for students actively engaged in campus activities through 20 student-led academic, professional, performing arts, social and service organizations. Blue Knights athletics includes 17 NCAA Division II sports and three intercollegiate club sports. Urbana University is a division of Franklin University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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  • Students
  • University