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Diagram showing the Tree Health Learning Pathway

Aim

  • The aim of this “tree health learning pathway” is to provide information and guidance to encourage anyone to engage with and get involved with nature, and with trees and tree pests and diseases, in particular
Diagram showing the Tree Health Learning Pathway

Who is it for?

  • This learning pathway is aimed at everyone and caters for all ages and abilities

How does it work?

  • Tree health in the learning pathway focuses mainly on harm to trees caused by pests and diseases. Many other factors, such as drought and physical damage can also harm trees.
  • The pathway consists of ‘Steps:
    • Specialisation” increases from left to right along the pathway; from ‘nature’ to ‘trees’ to ‘tree pests and diseases’
    • Level of expertise” increases from the bottom to the top of the pathway; from ‘beginner’, to ‘improver’ to ‘experienced’
  • All steps on the pathway have equal importance
  • If your enthusiasm is captured and you want to learn more, you can move to the next step but if you find a Step that suits you, it’s fine to stay there.  You can make a positive contribution at any step
  • For each Step on the pathway, links to relevant activities and guidance are presented in the tables below.
  • A 9-minute video explaining the tree health learning pathway appears below.

Getting started

  • Start at Step 1. If you already have existing knowledge of nature and trees, then jump in at any Step suitable to your knowledge, including to Step 3(a) if you have existing knowledge of tree pest and diseases
  • At any step, connect to the links/resources and simply have a go at anything that interests you

Moving along the pathway

  • If you find that you are interested in trees and want to learn more, move to Step 2(a) and then, if you are interested in tree pests and diseases, on to Step 3(a)
  • Alternatively, if you find that you are interested in aspects of nature other than trees (e.g. birds, bees, butterflies, mammals, fungi etc.) then an alternative pathway has been provided for you at Step 2(b) and Step 3(b)
  • If you get to Step 3(a) or Step 3(b) and want to keep learning, then carry on further
  • Also, if you reach Step 3(a) ‘trees’ or Step 3(b) ‘other species’, you are encouraged to apply your skills of identification, recording and reporting to look out for all species

Video Explaining the Learning Pathway


Step 1: “Get started with Nature

TaskResourcesDetails/Links
Learn about nature, plants, animals and fungiBBC SpringwatchIdeas, information and resources to help wildlife
Field Studies CouncilSimple easy-to-use identification guides for a wide range of plant, animal and fungal species
 Animal and Plant Health AgencyIzzy the inspector, a fun activity book for children  
Start looking at nature in your local areaUK Centre for Ecology and HydrologyTop tips to discover wildlife in your area
 Wildlife TrustsVisit a local nature reserve to explore
 Podcasts (include trees and many other aspects of nature)Woodland Walks
Trees a Crowd
Knepp Wildland Podcast
Ecology – Tales from the field  

AFTER STEP 1, you should:

  • Know about wildlife sites in your local area
  • Be familiar with some of the most common plant, animal and fungal species
  • Perhaps have developed an area(s) of special interest

 


Step 2(a): “Improve your knowledge of trees
(If you decide that you have a particular interest in trees.)

TaskResourcesDetails/Links
Learn to identify different tree speciesWoodland TrustBritish Tree Identification App
Field Studies CouncilThe FSC Tree name trail features 34 of the commonest broadleaved and conifer trees found in Great Britain and Ireland
Field Studies CouncilTree identification courses  
 PodcastsCompletely Arbortrary 
Visit and get involved with local woodlandsWoodland TrustFind a wood to explore
Try a general tree Citizen Science activityTreezillaA Citizen Science project to map, measure and monitor trees
 Woodland Trust Ancient Tree InventoryHelp find ancient trees across the across the country Ancient Tree Inventory

AFTER STEP 2(a), you should:

  • Know about woodlands in your local area
  • Be able to identify the most common species of tree
  • Have participated in a general tree citizen science activity

 


Step 2(b): “Improve your knowledge of other species
(If you decide that you have a particular interest in species other than trees.)

TaskResourcesDetails/Links
Learn to identify different plant and animal speciesField Studies CouncilSimple easy-to-use identification guides for a wide range of plant, animal and fungal species
iNaturalistApp to identify species from photograph (they have communities of experts to help you too)
iSpotApp to identify species from photograph (they have communities of experts to help you too)
Visit and get involved with local nature reserves or parksWildlife TrustsFind a local nature reserve to explore
Parks and GardensFind a local park
Try a general tree Citizen Science activityWoodland Trust
Nature’s Calendar
Track the effects of weather and climate change on wildlife near you

AFTER STEP 2(b), you should:

  • Know about wildlife sites in your local area
  • Be able to identify some of the most common plant, animal and fungal species
  • Have participated in a general citizen science activity

 


STEP 3(a): “Support the tree health surveillance and research communities” & “Learn about tree pests and diseases

TaskResourcesDetails/Links
Get involved with a
citizen science activity
or project which often provide excellent training
ObservatreeA Citizen Science volunteer network helping spot new pest and disease threats to the UK
Conker Tree ScienceA Citizen Science project for everyone to find out about the horse-chestnut leaf-mining moth
Check a Sweet Chestnut TreeA Citizen Science project to identify and record local sweet chestnut trees 
 Action OakA collaborative initiative to protect our oak trees 
Check-out specialist information / coursesForest ResearchTree Pest and disease information sheets
OPAL Tree Health SurveyArchived information on tree identification, surveying techniques and selected tree pests and diseases
UK Plant Health Information PortalOnline hub for plant health information, data and resources
Defra factsheetsPlant pest and disease factsheets
Scotland Plant Health Centre: Knowledge Bank – ForestryLinks to a wide array of projects and resources
Plant Healthy eLearningFree modules on a range of subjects fundamental to the management of plant health and biosecurity in the UK
Arboricultural AssociationPaid for course on Tree Pests, Diseases and Disorders
Yorkshire ArboretumPlant Health Courses
Report suspicious sightings of tree pests and diseases to Official ServicesTreeAlertThe website for reporting signs of dangerous tree pests and diseases in Great Britain
 TreeCheckA website for reporting signs of dangerous tree pests and diseases in Northern Ireland (and Ireland)
Keep in touch with others in the tree health communityTree Health Citizen Science NetworkA community of people (policymakers, scientists and volunteers) involved in tree health Citizen Science
Help out by looking for other speciesNational Biodiversity Network (NBN)A national network and online platform to share biological data

AFTER STEP 3(a), you should:

  • Be able to identify some of the most common pests and diseases of trees
  • Know how to report any suspicious sightings of potentially new tree pests and diseases
  • Feel part of the network of people contributing to science protecting our trees from pests and diseases


Step 3b: “Support the biological recording community

TaskResourcesDetails/Links
Get involved with a specialist ecological/ biological recording society(ies)Biological Records CentreA national focus for terrestrial and freshwater species recording schemes and societies
British Ecological SocietyA learned society – the oldest in the world- for the advancement of ecology
 National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and NBN AtlasesA national network and online platform to share biological data
NBN Atlas
NBN Atlas Scotland
NBN Atlas Wales
NBN Atlas Northern Ireland  
NBN Atlas Isle of Man
Help out by looking for tree pests and diseasesTreeAlertThe website for reporting signs of dangerous tree pests and diseases in Great Britain
 TreeCheckA website for reporting signs of dangerous tree pests and diseases in Northern Ireland (and Ireland)

AFTER STEP 3b, you should:

  • Be able to identify many species of plants, animals, fungi etc. depending on your area of interest
  • Feel part of the biological recording community
  • If needed, know how to report any suspicious sightings of potentially new tree pests and diseases

 


Biosecurity

Finally, the table below lists a few resources to help you enjoy the countryside and woodlands without inadvertently spreading pests and diseases yourselves.

OrganisationResourceDetails/Links
European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO)“Don’t Risk it”Downloadable posters for tourists and travellers
Forestry Commission and Animal and Plant Health AgencyHow biosecurity can prevent the introduction and spread of tree pests and diseasesComprehensive information, guidance and further links
Scottish Forestry“Keep it clean – don’t give tree pest and diseases an easy ride”Biosecurity advice to help to protect our trees

Tools & Resources
In this section
Tools & Resources
Contacts
Project Support Officer
Forestry Staff Lucy Staff Photo.8b88ed06.fill 600x600 1