From little acorns children's knowledge grows

Dorset Echo: PLANTERS: Youngsters at Wool Primary School planting acorns with a historical legacy PLANTERS: Youngsters at Wool Primary School planting acorns with a historical legacy

A DORSET environmental group is helping to bring an outlaw’s legacy to the county.

Trees for Dorset held acorn plantings in 10 rural schools to mark National Tree Week.

The acorns come from trees which can be traced back to the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.

Legend has it that Robin Hood and his Merry Men hid from the Sheriff of Nottingham in this 500-year-old tree.

John Palmer, warden of Dorset’s Bear Mead Nature Reserve, collected hundreds of acorns from the famous oak during a visit to the forest in October 2000.

He then planted some of the acorns on land in Dorset and has given 500 acorns produced from these trees to the project.

Rachel Palmer, of Trees for Dorset, said: “We run an environmental project in five rural schools in the county, and five additional schools will be involved in the Major Oak project.

“Around 300 children are working through the trees’ life cycle and seasonal changes by gathering up autumn leaves and learning different names. There are follow-up experiments and hands-on experience in planting trees.

“While the children are growing, they get to watch their trees growing.”

John said some of the trees he originally planted around the River Stour are now up to 12 feet high.

He said: “In 2002, with the help of Trees for Dorset volunteers, we planted out 350 trees that had sprouted and watched them grow.

“In October this year, I collected 3,000 acorns from these 13-year-old oaks.

“We gave 500 to Trees for Dorset, and the remaining ones have been placed in a fridge.

“They will think they have had a hard winter, but they will grow.”

Anyone who wants a ‘grandchild’ of the Major Oak of Sherwood Forest is asked to contact John on 01202 696361.

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