GROWnings: The Magic of the Mighty Oak


GROWnings


‘As kindness is to good, acorn is to wood’


JESS: Let’s consider the tiny acorn. It really is extraordinary that a this little thing has all the magic ingredients needed to grow into such a vast and beautiful living organism as the Oak tree. An Oak tree, tall and majestic, can stand for hundreds of years. The Oak tree, the mighty oak, is symbolic of how hard work pays off over time. It is the subject of many a book and poem.



It takes 150 years for an oak tree to GROW to a size that is useful to people. It is commonly used to make furniture, timber, flooring and is even traditionally used in shipbuilding and for wine barrels. Its bark is used to make corks and as a medicine it is effective in the treatment of wounds. It is strong, sturdy, reliable. Iconic. Under an oak is a wonderful spot for sheltering - many a family picnic has been improved by the comforting cool of the shade of an oak tree’s canopy. If you weren’t already wowed by the magic of an oak tree, they also help to produce the oxygen in the air that we breathe!


Trees help us to BE WELL both physically and mentally. Look up at the beautiful branches and leaves and see how relaxed you feel. Stand tall and lean against an oak tree and you will feel its strength. IMAGINE how long the tree has been standing and what it has seen in that time, how things must have changed. Grow a seedling from an acorn and you will learn to look after something and see how it flourishes. All of these are simple things you can try with your children to get them inspired!


Trees work together, they CONNECT, “talking” to each other via their extensive root systems. Collectively they are the “lungs of the earth”. Trees make a difference to our climate, and hold the soil tightly to prevent landslides and support water courses.


Do you know how many species are supported by a single oak tree?! …. A whopping 2400! And that’s before even starting to think about microscopic species. Just amazing, the humble oak tree is mighty indeed, growing up to 40m tall (the tallest in the UK is found at the National Trust property, Stourhead). It is a thriving habitat, providing acorns as food for squirrels and badgers, shelter (the oak is one of the last to lose its leaves in the winter so can be used for protection longer into the autumn than other trees), strong branches for birds to nest on, home for owls, wood for insects to live in and eat, mosses, lichens, ants - it is useful for all sorts of creatures!


A tree produces its own cycle of food and energy to support itself. It uses energy from the sun captured by its leaves in a process called photosynthesis to give it the boost it needs to grow. The roots are shallow (only 1-2 m deep) and extend up to 3 times the height of the tree, to capture all the nutrients and moisture from the soil and dropping leaves as they rot down, feeding back up the root system to the trunk and the branches. This is an incredible cycle which nourishes and supports the trees needs and the needs of all those other creatures we’ve mentioned.


So, next time you see a tree, any tree, give it a proper look and be inspired.


‘Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow’


Have a look at this clip to understand more:


https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/clips/z6bvr82





GROWnings is a weekly blog conversation by "GROW together!" to reflect our values and behaviours and encouraging open conversation on topical issues.

‘GROW Together!’ is an educational resources and subscription box company to provide fun, personalised learning resources enabling engagement between parents/carers and their children. The activities focus on getting in touch with nature and encouraging a desire to protect it, promoting better mental and physical wellbeing, allowing space for creativity and connectivity. Find out more on our website, www.farleigh.org.uk/growbox, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/GROWboxDevon/ and on our Instagram Feed https://www.instagram.com/we.are.growbox/.


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