Observatree volunteer wins at Woodland Trust annual awards

David Griffith (Observatree volunteer) is the winner of this year’s Bluebell Award, part of the Woodland Trust’s annual Volunteer of the Year Awards, which were held on Saturday 2 December 2017. The award is for those individual volunteers who stand out by volunteering in woodlands, providing practical support and care and being the guardian of woods and trees on the ground.

David truly is a woodland guardian. He helps protect woods and trees as a recorder for the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Inventory and through his main role as an Observatree volunteer.

David has been volunteering as a tree health surveyor since the Observatree project started in spring 2014 and surveys woods and trees for signs of pests and diseases.

Over the past six months David has been a man on a mission to fill in some of the blank squares on the Chalara map for West Wales where the disease hasn’t yet been reported. David has identified ash trees infected with ash dieback in over 30 new 10km grid squares, completed more than 70 Tree Alert reports and logged nearly 400 volunteer hours. This really goes above and beyond what we expect from our surveyors and is an inspiration to other volunteers within the network. In fact, David has offered to mentor another volunteer who is newer to the role and would like some on-the-ground support in carrying out tree health surveys.

David is well respected by tree health teams at the Forestry Commission and Natural Resources Wales so much that he is trusted to take samples of diseased materials during his initial surveys. Members of the public are not usually encouraged to take samples.

David is an exceptional citizen scientist, combining knowledge and enthusiasm to carry out his role in generating useful tree health data. For these reasons he is a worthy winner of the Bluebell Award.