Volunteers play an essential role within Observatree. They are critical ‘citizen scientists’ who help perform a number of functions.
How anyone can help – Increasing surveillance and reporting
This could be you! We aren’t looking for any huge commitment. All we ask is that you keep an eye out when you’re out and about around trees:
Specialist Observatree volunteers
Recruited by the Woodland Trust, a backbone of over 200 UK-wide volunteers:
- Carry out a range of survey activities to help spot new pest and disease outbreaks earlier and also track the spread and impact of new ones already established
- Ensure Tree Alert reports are complete and of high quality, enabling scientists at Forest Research to carry out a correct diagnosis
All volunteers are trained annually by Forest Research and Fera scientists. Training enables them to correctly identify signs and symptoms of Observatree’s highest priority priority pests and diseases as well as carry out site surveys.
Volunteers are also trained to collect bark, soil and foliar samples, following biosecurity procedures.
“I just wanted to send a quick message to say thank you for the training day at Gibside. I was really impressed with the structure, thoroughness and general attentiveness of you and your colleagues. I really enjoyed the day and look forward to getting started!”
Janie Caldbeck, Darlington (Tree Health Surveyor).
All Observatree volunteer positions are currently filled. Future volunteer positions will be advertised on the Woodland Trust website.
Observatree volunteers carry out specific tree health verification activities:
Tree Health Surveyors
Survey Woodland Trust and National Trust woods and trees for the presence of specific pests and diseases on common tree species. When necessary, follow up Tree Alert reports, carrying out site surveys to gather additional information required for correct diagnosis. Occasionally carry out specific pest or disease surveys such as Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp or Chalara in Scotland.
Tree Health Triage Verifiers
Contact landowners to collect additional information for tree disease reports submitted through Tree Alert. They are trained to assist Forest Research scientists with verifying Tree Alert report information submitted by Tree Health Surveyors and the public.
Volunteer roles will evolve throughout the duration of the project to ensure best use is being made of citizen science in tree health early warning.
“This project is all about being aware of what is happening to trees across the UK. As a gardener and arborist, this is very important to me. All of us see trees everyday whether on the roadside, in the park or outside the school gates. If everyone engaged with Observatree we would have an amazing early warning system!”
Adam Coole, Welwyn Garden City (Tree Health Surveyor and Verifier).