‘Out with the old and in with the new: Welcome to Observatree (phase two)’, Peter Crow, Observatree Project Manager

What a busy year 2017 was for the Observatree team! Last year we produced more educational resources, ran successful media campaigns, trained stakeholders and volunteers across the county, attended events, held a volunteer celebration event and hosted a conference. Phew!! Our volunteers continued to produce high quality tree health reports and win awards along the way (congratulations David). To date, volunteers have submitted over 3000 reports and they continue to play active roles in supporting tree health scientists and inspectors in many ways.

As I write this blog (Jan 2018), I am also finishing a report for our LIFE funder on everything  the project has achieved over the last four years. Examples of resources we’ve produced and evidence of activities all need to be included. Whilst I’m not surprised by the large quantity of supporting material being submitted with the report, it is nonetheless an impressive testament to a lot of hard work delivered by everyone involved with Observatree.

As the LIFE+ funded Observatree project (phase one) drew to a close at the end of September 2017, there were further activities occurring in the background to allow a seamless transition to phase two. I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all project partners who have stepped in to replace some of the funding previously provided by the LIFE+ grant. When many budgets are being tightly squeezed, it is a good indication of the investment partners see in Observatree, an acknowledgement of our success and the continued benefits we can bring to a Tree Health Early Warning System. With the continued help and support of everyone involved with the project, we can build upon the success of phase one, demonstrate that the monies provided by phase two partners is well spent and work to establish Observatree as an exemplar project for Tree Health and Citizen Science to showcase both within the UK and beyond.

Looking forward into 2018, we are recruiting some new volunteers, targetting areas our network was previously sparse. In addition to our usual activities, watch out for new initiatives such as pests or diseases of the month, increased collaboration with other organisations and the addition of further resources on our website which continues to develop and be updated.

Now is a great time to go walking in UK woods and forests to burn off any festive excess and lift any darkened winter spirits. It also provides a good opportunity to look out for signs or symptoms of tree pests or diseases that are visible this time of year and practice winter tree identification skills.  Digital learning, to help hone these skills, is available on our website. Don’t forget that any significant findings should be reported via Tree Alert (or Tree Check if you are based in Northern Ireland).

I would like to thank everyone who has helped to delivery and support Observatree during 2017 and I look forward to working with many of you again as we continue to grow and develop phase two during the coming year.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!


1 Comment
  1. I am interested in volunteering for OBSERVATREE and undertaking training. I would welcome more information. In live in West Kent.

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