Tree Wardens are volunteers, appointed by parish councils or other community organisations, who gather information about their local trees, get involved in local tree matters and encourage local practical projects to do with trees and woods.
The Tree Warden Scheme is a national initiative to enable people to play an active role in conserving and enhancing their local trees and woods. The scheme was founded by the Tree Council and is co-ordinated by the Council with the support the government department Communities and Local Government.
So what do 'tree wardens' do ?
Tree Wardens can be involved in many different projects ranging from tree planting, hedgerow surveys, checking TPO's, (Tree Preservation Orders), surveying trees along roadsides, maintenance of newly planted trees, reporting diseased or damaged trees, organising walks & talks or events, (some of which may be small enough for just a couple of people to assist with and others having larger groups of the general public in attendance), writing articles, to setting up volunteer groups or tree nurseries and answering queries from the general public.
Tree Wardens attend regular training sessions and field trips to enable them to network with others. They're not able to advise whether a tree is safe or not, nor are they able to enter private land without the owners approval but as they work closely with local authority officers they're always able to obtain professional advice when required. Tree Wardens are not permitted to use a chainsaw without having completed the certificated training or without insurance.
As volunteers their main aim is to heighten the profile of trees and encourage the care of trees in their local area and in doing so help to reduce vandalism to trees.
June 2011 saw us visit West Chiltington Community School where we were invited to talk to Mrs Footer's class about Tree Wardens, Monkmead Wood, its inhabitants and to show the children many different woodland items which ranged from bird and bat boxes to a huge fungi. It was a really enjoyable morning for everyone and a just wonderful to meet so many children who had such an interest in local nature.
Mrs Footer's class also asked if they could visit Monkmead Wood in November of this year and we had great pleasure in planning both a Woodland Walk and Woodland Safari for them which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
Regional Tree Warden Scheme Network Co-ordinator
West Chiltington Parish Tree Warden