8 runners ran to help the Braywick Nature Centre in Windsor and Maidenhead.
- Wednesday, 2nd of September 2020
- Led by Amy Lovell
8 runners met in the car park of Ockwells Park on this autumnal evening after a rainy day, ready to harvest acorns after a 2 week delay had stopped us for previous tasks, as the acorns were not quite ripe enough.
What a ba-loony bunch we are...!
We soon realised Ana had pulled out all the stops to help mark our glorious leader, Amy's 37th birthday! (Yes, Amy - your age is relevant to what you made us do later in the task!) Ana had a balloon, rainbow make-your-own-cake-in-a-box and banner for Amy, so we all hid behind a car to jump out and surprise Amy when she arrived! Needless to say she had already seen our sea of red t-shirts before we crouched down to hide, but her reaction was still worth it and she was super happy! Amy tied the balloon onto her backpack and wore the banner Miss Congeniality style esque! Apparently this was not the first time Amy has run with a balloon and banner attached to her!
All runners had been to GoodGym tasks before so there were no new comers this evening, but it was only the second task for Raymond, and Michelle's third task, so it was great to have them both back with us for another task!
A mouse took a stroll in the deep dark wood...
We ran circa 1k to the enclosed nature reserve area that has been implemented by the Braywick Nature Reserve team, to meet Alastair by the huge English Oak tree which he donned as the mother ship of all English Oaks. Alastair works for the nature centre and often works with the local schools to educate the children on all things nature! He is extremely knowledgeable. He gave us a really int-tree-resting talk on how to harvest the acorns, what to look for, what to discard (no Gall Wasp mutations or furry acorns for us!) and why we needed to make sure the acorns we harvested were from the right trees, to ensure the genetic make up of the acorns is maintained when they are planted. Sophie even had to write some notes to make sure she didn't forget the big words he was saying - these included "pedunculate" and "sessile". It's a good job Google was on hand when Sophie wrote this report... she can confirm that pedunculate oak leaves have bulbous earlobes and no stalk and sessile oak leaves have less pronounced ear lobes and a long stalk. He also wanted to make sure that we didn't venture too far into the deep dark wood as unfortunately Braywick Nature Centre, nor GoodGym, have any insurance against Gruffalo related injuries or disappearances.
We all grabbed a bucket and set off in small groups (Sophie, Claire and Alastair, Amy and Raymond, Ana and Sara, Michelle and Jess) to start 35 minutes worth of hardcore harvesting. We picked the acorns off of the trees themselves and were each responsible for our own quality control, chucking out any infected, runty, split or mutated acorns who haven't made the cut. We then re-grouped and admired our hoard - I'd say there were at least a hundred-acorn-wood! (Well more like a thousand actually!)
Edit: Alastair has now confirmed that after measuring out 26 cups of acorns this morning with 7 left over, which at 42 acorns per cup comes to a grand total of 1,099 acorns harvested last night!
Wood you believe what Amy made us do...?!
But that was not all! How could we escape birthday squats in squidgy conditions! Yes that's right... 37 to be exact! To mark the occasion even more firmly for Amy. We started with 10 normal squats, 10 lunges, 10 side squats and 7 burpees to finish before we parted ways in 2 groups running in separate directions to conclude the evening's exercise. Alastair then grouped all the acorns together to take home. He is going to be keeping them moist for a little while to help them germinate, until they are brought back and planted in the hope that a few will grow, as last year due to the harsh winter and dry spring it was a combination of the worst conditions meaning that of several thousand that had been planted, not a single one survived! Let's hope for better success this year!
We were also allowed to take a few home to grow ourselves in pots. If you are doing this, check out the run report photos for instructions on how to yield the best results. Make sure to test the acorns first by putting them in a bucket of water - you want to be planting the ones that sink. Alastair explained that in 2 years time, you can bring it back to them if you'd like them to plant it in the Ockwells area. Shoots will start to emerge around April next year.
Sow, we aren't going to see these acorns grow into trees...?
It takes approximately 150-200 years for a small little acorn to become a huge great English Oak tree like the mother ship but hey, it's something we can encourage our future generations to continue for us. This was definitely a long game task but it's very exciting to know that some of the acorns we harvested this evening could turn into a beautiful English Oak.
Oak-ay then, so what's next...?
We will be back next week to do the same again as there are plenty more oak trees that need harvesting so if you fancy making like a squirrel and joining us, then you can sign up here: https://www.goodgym.org/happenings/harvesting-acorns-at-ockwells-park-part-4
Well done Team!
Report written by Sophie Lack
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Led by Amy Lovell
Area Activator for Windsor and Maidenhead. Loves running & Pilates and runs to escape from her hoards of small children.
Runners helping out
Will be in charge of writing the run report
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