Monthly Archives: October 2017

Slowing Pine Weevil progress

Natural Resources Wales has embarked on an environmentally friendly programme to tackle a pest that lives on conifers: the pine weevil.  NRW is to spray microscopic Nematode worms into and around conifer tree stumps to combat the pine weevil.  The work starts in the Tywi Forest, near Llandovery in Powys before moving northwards to the Hafren Forest, and finishing in Clocaenog Forest in Denbighshire.  The total area covered will be nearly 500 acres (~ 276 football pitches).

Neil Muir, Forest Manager for NRW said:

“Pine weevils can have a devastating impact on young trees. We are trying to move increasingly towards using this biological control method to combat them and create more resilient forests. The nematodes eat the weevil grubs tackling the problem at source. Reducing the overall population of weevils in the forest block which will reduce the damage to young trees and create a more resilient forest. We will monitor the work closely to see if the method can be applied even wider in future, cutting down further on the use of chemicals.”

See the CJS website for further detail of this and other conservation news.


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Trees for Life

Trees for Life has launched an appeal to save the ice age heritage of Scotland’s national tree  – the ancient Scots pines across the Highlands of Scotland – from becoming the last generation in a lineage of trees dating back to the last ice age.  Through its Caledonian Pinewood Recovery Project, the conservation charity wants to help restore 50 areas of remnant and neglected pinewoods – mainly made up of lone, ancient ‘Granny’ pines which are over 200 years old but dying as they stand, with no young trees to succeed them.  The fragments – scattered over a large area – face growing threats from overgrazing by deer, tree diseases and climate change, and are at risk of disappearing forever over the next few years. If they are allowed to die, the extraordinary wildlife dependent on them – such as crossbills and capercaillie – will be lost too.

Thanks to support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Trees for Life has already raised £150,000 for the ambitious project. It now needs to raise at least £20,000 from the public to be able to start the work.  Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life’s Chief Executive, said:

“The Scots pine is Scotland’s national tree and symbolizes the Caledonian Forest – but the last fragments of these ancient pinewoods are dying. Without action, the chance to bring back the wild forest could slip away forever, with only the skeletons of these special trees revealing where a rich woodland once grew.”

See the CJS website for further detail of this and other conservation news.

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Engagement with nature

Nadia von Benzon, a Lecturer in Human Geography at Lancaster University has contributed a blog to the Tree Charter website.  In this, she discusses her research into children’s engagement with nature, particularly the experiences of disabled children, and the use of nature for children’s health and wellbeing.  The post begins:

We are by now familiar with the idea that children’s opportunities for independent exploration of outdoor spaces appear to be in decline.  Numerous studies have illustrated that millennials, and now their children, have fewer opportunities for free play in ‘wild’ spaces than previous generations.  This decline is understood to reflect a variety of socio-cultural and environmental changes such as more competition for children’s time – whether that be from electronic devices, commercialised play opportunities or structured extra-curricular activities, greater perception of risk, and greater difficulty in accessing these ‘wild’ spaces – whether through urbanisation or privatization.

There is some suggestion in the research, that disabled children may have an even more detached relationship with outdoor green space than their non-disabled peers, and this research typically considers the difficulties families may have getting out and about with disabled children.  Specific difficulties may include a lack of disposable income to spend on leisure activities (on average families including disabled children have below average income) and a lack of free time, as much time can be taken attending to the basic needs of feeding, sanitation and medication or therapy for children with complex needs.  These difficulties are often considered insurmountable when the potential destination is unlikely to be equipped with necessary facilities like accessible changing spaces and even surfaces.

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Dementia Wellbeing

Rachel and Sue with their woven willow butterfly and dragonfly; Jeannette decided hers was a long-eared bat!

Through 2017 we have worked with the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service to deliver a programme of wellbeing activities for people with dementia and their partners based at Conham River Park and Kingsweston House. This follows on from a successful and evaluated pilot in 2016 (published in the journal Working with Older People).

This is another successful application of the Trust’s ‘woodland wellbeing’ approach which has seen us work with and benefit groups across Avon over the last 7 years.

Executive Director: Jon Clark said:

‘It is particularly pleasing to be working with the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service as this represents a commitment by the NHS to funding effective wellbeing activities in the natural (woodland) environment. This successful project owes much to the vision of the  Wellbeing Service (Devon Partnership NHS Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society), as well as the skills of Nicola Ramsden and Rachel Tomlinson, in tailoring activities to need.’

Enabling a wide range of people to benefit from local woodlands is central to the Trust’s ethos and as well as the above, we run activities for adults with learning disabilities; people with mental health needs; and young people with special or behavioural needs. This work is supported by a range of grant funders. To find out more about our woodland wellbeing work, please email:

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A new Forest Education Network teaching resource

The Forest Education Network is producing a Primary Forest & Woodland Teaching Resource pack.  FEN says that if you are looking for lesson ideas and activities you can deliver in a forest or woodland environment, then its resource packs will help inspire you.  FEN says that the pack will be equally useful for those new to using woods and forests as a place for learning and those with more experience who wish to try something new.

The pack aims to help you plan curriculum linked activities from a few minutes long to a one-day visit to the woods. Some ideas will help children to adjust to the new, and perhaps unfamiliar, environment. Others support sustained learning in this natural classroom. Overall, this pack offers a range of activities to enable teachers and pupils share a memorable few hours of learning and fun with the trees as your teachers.  Packs will be available later this autumn, but can be pre-ordered.  Find out more about the pack here.

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