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52 students from Get Set Network schools and colleges were at the Village to mark the end of the Coubertin Oaks project. The project, which launched on ‘100 Days To Go’, saw 40 oak trees planted in a ‘ribbon’ between William Brookes School in Much Wenlock and the Olympic Park. The trees originated from acorns from an oak planted in 1890 during the visit of the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, Pierre de Coubertin, to the Wenlock Olympian Games.
The Coubertin Oaks, have played a monumental part in the London 2012 programme, as the project originated from the bid to host the Games. London's vision has been described as having many parallels with Pierre De Coubertin's own Olympic vision; placing sport and athletes at the heart of the Games, along with young people and a strong focus on culture and education. The project has also been awarded a London 2012 Inspire Mark, which recognises exceptional projects that use the Games as the inspiration to make real and lasting change.
The Get Set network of schools and colleges involved is a special community that have demonstrated a commitment to the Olympic and Paralympic Values, using the Games to inspire learners of all ages and abilities to get involved.
Chris Collins, the BBC's Blue Peter gardener helped mark the completion of the project by lending an expert hand to place the oaks and educate the students on the importance of trees. Also at the event was former Paralympic athlete and Director of Paralympic Integration, Chris Holmes, as well as key figures in the project, Pam Warhurst, Chair of the Forestry Commission, Nick Fuller, Head of Education, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and Bill Morris, Director of Ceremonies, LOCOG.
The students were also invited for a tour of the athlete’s village, to see inside the apartments and visit ‘the green lung’ of the Village which is based on a typical British village green.
London 2012 made a commitment to biodiversity as one of its sustainability commitments and the planting of trees is symbolic in this. The Oaks are an addition to the 2,000 semi mature trees in the Village and a further 2,000 semi mature trees in the Olympic Parklands. To add to the biodiversity commitment, the Olympic Park contains over 300,000 wetland plants and more than ten football fields worth of nectar-rich annual and perennial meadows and is the largest new urban parkland in Europe for 150 years.
Chris Collins, Blue Peter gardener, said: "The Olympic Park is a demonstration of regeneration on a mass scale. The addition of the final Coubertin Oak trees remind us of the legacy that trees create, they will outlive us all and continue to bring enjoyment for many generations to come.”
Brother and sister, Ellie and Isaac James, students from William Brookes School said: “We are so excited to be here at the athlete’s village. We have had a lot of fun with the Coubertin Oak’s project and it’s brilliant that we can see where the trees will end up.”
Bill Morris, Director of Ceremonies, Education & Live Sites, LOCOG said: “Education was at the heart of Coubertin’s Olympic vision, and in our bid we promised to use the London 2012 Games to inspire young people. 25,000 schools across the UK have now registered with Get Set, our education programme, and over 17,000 of those schools having gone on to join the Get Set Network. Through a wide and diverse range of activities, we are delivering on our promise. It’s wonderful to see young people from Get Set Network schools at the heart of today’s activity and playing a key part in a truly inspiring project.”
Pam Warhurst, Chair of the Forestry Comission said: "We are delighted to be part of this project that connects the 2012 Games to its origin and involves schools in a green Olympic legacy."
The project is being delivered by London 2012, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Forestry Commission, William Brookes School, Wenlock Olympian Society, Much Wenlock Tree Forum and the Woodland Trust. The Tree Council is also providing planting support to schools and UPS are leading on logistical support.
Note: On the Olympic and Paralympic Village only FSC certified timber was used.
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Notes to editors:
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at www.london2012.com.
The Official London 2012 Join In app is a free mobile guide to help you plan, enjoy and share your Games experience. From the Olympic Torch Relay to the Olympics and Paralympics, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, plus all the cultural, city and community celebrations happening across the UK, the Official London 2012 Join In App is your essential companion. It is available now at app stores and at http://www.london2012.com/mobileapps/
Get Set is the official London 2012 education programme for schools and colleges across the UK. It provides free learning resources for 3-19 year olds to find out more about the Games and explore the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the Paralympic Values of determination, inspiration, courage and equality. It also offers access to exciting prizes and opportunities through participation in competitions and partner programmes. There are over 23,500 schools and colleges registered with Get Set.
The Get Set network is the London 2012 reward and recognition scheme for the active community of schools and colleges across the UK that are demonstrating a commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Members of the network gain the right to use the London 2012 education logo, and are given priority access to the most exclusive prizes and opportunities. There are currently over 17400 members of the Get Set network. Visit www.london2012.com/getset for more information.
London 2012 Games partners
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.
There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and two domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Suppliers, Otto Bock and Panasonic. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.