Topics

#ARBatwork & 1987 storm 2018 3ATC 50th annual accreditation advice AFL AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alex Kirkley amenity Amenity Conference Ancient Tree Forum APPGHG apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe ash dieback Assessments atf Australia award Barcham Trees Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism biodiversity biosecurity Branches Brexit bs5837 business Call for papers CEnv chainsaw chalara Charles charter Charter for Trees chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climber climbing Colleges competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Coroner Council Countryside Stewardship cross industry news Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary death defra Design Devon disease document dothistroma EAC East Anglia ecology economy Ecotricity education Electricity England EPF Europe European Arboricultural Council European Wood Pastures exeter Exhibitors Fatality Fera flood flooding Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser gardening GDPR government Green Brexit guidance guides Health Helliwell Help Henry Kuppen Horse Chestnut horticulture HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE ICF International Urban Forestry Congress Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Irma ISA iso i-Tree IUFC Kew land-based Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor London LTOA Melbourne Member Benefit mentor Midlands NASA National Geographic National Tree Week News nominations Northern notification NTIS NTOA NTOC oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree opm Padua parks parliament Perennial Pests and Diseases petition Phytophthora planning Planning Law planting Plumpton College policy poll Prince Charles Prince of Wales Protect and Survive protection Quotatis ramorum Registered Registered Consultant Report research response review RFS rhs Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons RSFS Safety Safety Bulletin Scotland Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show SocEnv soils South East staff statement statutory strategy student survey Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight TDAG Technical Officers tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Day TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Council Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree Officer tree species Tree Surgeons Tree Week tree-felling TreeRadar trees Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' TrustMark UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban forest Urban Tree Cover urban trees VETcert veteran trees video Videos volunteer VTA Wales website Western women in arboriculture woodland woodland trust woods young arborists

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story

Observatree named best community/volunteer initiative

Author:  Forestry Commission
  20/07/2017
Last Updated:  20/07/2017

The project was named best community/volunteer initiative at the Horticulture Week awards at Woburn Abbey on 28th of June. The nomination was for the fantastic work the project’s volunteers did following the oriental chestnut gall wasp outbreak and for their wider surveillance activities. They received the award from Lord Hesletine.

Observatree is an innovative project which began in autumn 2013 to set up a new UK tree health early warning system using citizen science. It has a network of 230 volunteers who have under gone extensive training in subjects such as tree identification, pest and disease recognition, surveying, sampling, observational skills and GPS and mapping. The on-going training has allowed the skills, competence and confidence of the volunteers to grow as the project has progressed and has enabled them to be really effective in their tree health activities. The volunteers role is to support Government tree health officers and scientists by undertaking survey work and helping with the processing and verifying of tree health reports received from the public.

As well as reporting individual cases of pests and diseases the volunteers also conducted surveys focused on specific pests and diseases. For example, in June 2015 when the first case of Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp (OCGW) was recorded in the UK, the Forestry Commission asked the Observatree volunteers to help with the survey of sweet chestnut trees to identify other outbreak sites. They submitted more than 200 reports on Sweet Chestnut within a few weeks.

Amanda Yorweth, a volunteer tree health surveyor from St Albans, found and reported the second outbreak site of OCGW enabling action to be taken which prevented the spread of the pest.

The projects investment in management, training and support for the volunteers has really paid off and has resulted in a well organised network of highly skilled volunteers. For this to be recognised by winning the award has been a real achievement for this pioneering project.