Tree Health Surveyor

The Woodland Trust


Volunteer • Part Time

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology, environmental policy & campaigning

Closing date: Not specified, apply soon!

Established in 2013, with funding from the EU Life+ programme, the mutli-award winning Observatree project aims to protect the UK’s trees, woods and forests from new pests and diseases – either arriving or spreading across the country. The earlier these are spotted, the higher the chances that outbreaks can be eliminated or controlled.

Volunteers play an essential role within Observatree. Our UK-wide network of over 200 specialist volunteers:

  • Help carry out early surveys for tree pests and diseases
  • Ensure Tree Alert reports are complete and of high quality, enabling scientists at Forest Research and Fera to carry out a correct diagnosis
  • Provide further accurate data allowing scientists to identify trends in the spread and appearance of pests and diseases

Tree Health Surveyors carry out surveys of woods and trees for the presence and absence of specific pests and diseases on common tree species. In fact, recording negative sightings of disease (healthy host trees) is just as important. Surveyors are often asked to carry out targeted surveys for specific pests and diseases during new outbreaks and also have the option to set up their own sentinel tree plots to monitor the health of individual trees.

When necessary, surveyors follow up Tree Alert reports, carrying out site surveys to gather additional information required for correct diagnosis. By doing all of this, it means that scientists and tree health officers can concentrate their time on the most significant reports submitted.

Observatree volunteers are trained annually by tree health professionals and scientists from within the partnership. Training enables them to correctly identify signs and symptoms of Observatree’s 21 priority pests and diseases as well as carry out effective site surveys. Volunteers are also trained to collect samples; record accurate grid references; and follow good biosecurity.

Observatree provides volunteers with new skills and experiences that have led to new opportunities. Surveyors involved with the project have even gone to work or study within the tree health sector.    

We are particularly looking for volunteers in the following areas of the UK:

England: Southampton Portsmouth Dover / Medway / Whitstable Tilbury / London Gateway Felixstowe / Harwich / Lowestoft Norfolk Suffolk Avonmouth / Bristol Falmouth Weymouth Hull / Grimsby Silloth-on-Solway Liverpool Newcastle / Hartlepool Whitby Gloucester Manchester Birmingham

Scotland: Urban areas notably the Central Belt, Dundee/Perth and Aberdeen/Deeside Tweed valley Ayrshire/Dumfriesshire Kintyre Oban/Fort William Plockton/Ullapool Balloch/Aberfoyle/Callander Inverness/Aviemore

Wales: Pembrokeshire Carmarthenshire South Wales Brecon Beacons Anglesey / Holyhead

Established through funding from the EU’s Life+ Programme (2013-2017), Observatree is a partnership project. Led by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission, partners are APHA, Defra, Fera Science Ltd, Forestry Commission England, Forestry Commission Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust.

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