Prize Winner Weathers Worst Storm of the Winter
A young naturalist was presented with the prize of the Holiday of a lifetime to Australia - the home of the Wollemi Pine by one of her heroes on the day that Britain suffered its worst storms of the winter.
Naomi Shantry entered the draw after receiving the 50cm tall Wollemi Pine as a Christmas gift from her mother. Ms Shantry, who is a member of Bristol Naturalists Society and an avid follower of the Wollemi Pines bid for survival, likened the storm to those that are thought to have ripped through the canyon that is the only remaining home of the tree in the wild.
This kind of weather must have really tested the trees determination to survive against all odds. Ms Shantry said. She also pointed out that scientists studying the fallen trunks of the trees in the Canyon have discovered that the growth rings showed evidence of a severe wind storm that tore through the canyon in 1800 and another in 1855. The Wollemi Pine planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew would have felt most at home as 80 mph winds whipped through the London gardens.
Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum and Horticultural Services at Kew and star of the BBC TV programmes Trees That Made Britain and A Year at Kew, presented the prize which was sponsored by Tourism New South Wales and Emirates.
Tony holds the unenviable task of deciding whether it is safe to open the Garden to the public, and for the first time in four years the Garden had to remain closed due to the atrocious conditions. Luckily during a very brief respite in the howling wind and pouring rain it was possible for Naomi to visit the first Wollemi Pine planted in the UK by Sir David Attenborough in 2005.
Naomi commented: I am awestruck by the story of the tree. The fact that it was thought to be extinct but had survived undiscovered until a New South Wales park ranger abseiled into the gorge is just remarkable. Richard Harnett Proprietor of Kernock Park Plants growers and distributors of the Wollemi Pine in the UK said When the weather is like this it makes you realise what a wonderful feat of nature it has been for the Wollemi Pine to survive on earth for over 90 million years.
The Lucky Winner
The draw for the fantastic prize of a trip for two to Australia - the home of the Wollemi Pine, sponsored by Tourism New South Wales and Emirates Airlines was made on 11th February at Kernock Park Plants, Cornwall.
The lucky winner of the prize was Naomi Shantry of Bristol.
There will be a presentation of the prize to Ms Shantry on Monday 10th March at 10am in The Royal Botanical Gardens Kew. Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum and Horticultural Services at Kew and star of the BBC TV programmes Trees That Made Britain and A Year at Kew will present the prize to Ms Shantry beside the first Wollemi Pine planted in the UK by Sir David Attenborough in May 2005.
5 runner up prizes were also drawn. The winners: Geraldine Gahan - County Kildare, David Harness Lincolnshire, F J Randall Cornwall, Chris Kelnar Edinburgh and Antonia Black Gloucestershire will each receive a copy of the book The Wollemi Pine written by James Woodford and personally signed by David Noble, the discoverer of the Wollemi Pine and a special edition Wollemi Pine lapel badge.