Growing oaks with Olympian roots

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A new generation of oak trees could be popping up around the Tarras area thanks to a quirky project under way involving local schoolchildren.
However, principal Karen Blue said the saplings, germinated from acorns collected by 12 pupils would not be ordinary specimens.
‘‘The children are planting acorns produced by a tree neighbouring the school that itself was grown from an acorn produced by a tree planted by New Zealand Olympian Jack Lovelock at Timaru Boys’ High School after he won his gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin,’’ Mrs Blue said.
The New Zealand runner attended the school as a boarder from 1924. In his final year, he was school dux and head prefect.
He won gold in the 1500m race, and along with other gold-medal winners was presented with an oak sapling which was brought back to New Zealand. That tree is a protected landmark.
‘‘We discovered that the tree on our next-door neighbour’s land was grown from an acorn, collected from the Lovelock tree by a former pupil of Tarras School.
‘‘As it is an Olympic year, it provided the perfect base for our class work on the Rio Olympics.
‘‘It is also perfect that it is exactly 80 years since the 1936 Olympics,’’ Mrs Blue said.
Pupils were busy collecting acorns last Thursday.
Jack Willson (12) said they would planted in pots and the seedlings sold to help raise funds for the school.
The history behind the acorns was ‘‘pretty cool’’.
‘‘They are grandcorns,’’ he said.