Story #27: A jar of ash in the mail

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By Karin H. Molander

I was in grade school in Illinois when Mount St. Helens erupted. And when the January 1981 National Geographic came out, I read it cover to cover. Soon after, I sent a letter to a park ranger requesting some Mount St. Helens ash for a science experiment. I was so excited to receive a jar of ash a few weeks later!

The title of my experiment was “Growing Peas in Different Media.” I was able to go to the regional science fair at Illinois Institute of Technology!

Now I am in the Bay Area in California. I finally had the opportunity to visit the mountain in person last summer, and she did not disappoint! Incredible to see the destructive path of the eruption and yet see how huge the new tree growth is! Very humbling to see that we are just visitors on this ancient, powerful planet!

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Now & Then here and now

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