We’ve been busy working on the website for TreeWatch in readiness for its relaunch today.
Many enhancements have been made, building on the success of the pilot during 2010 and listening to feedback we received from early adoptors. We have also implemented a large number of changes in readiness for future planned activities.
We are hopeful of attracting good interest this year, thanks to several articles in the press and in membership magazines. These are the main changes:
Several surveys are now running concurrently. We have also broadened the science to encourage the monitoring of general tree growth and health on a regular basis, in addition to specific scientific surveys.
- Last year we ran a survey of the horse chestnut leaf miner. We are repeating it this year.
- We are collaborating with the Royal Horticultural Society to run jointly a pear rust survey.
- We have introduced an Annual Survey to encourage all volunteers to monitor the growth and health of their trees on a regular basis. This means that if a volunteer’s adopted tree is not the subject of a specific scientific survey, there is now an opportunity to collect data regularly. This could prove to be an important archive of data in the future.
- We have plans to introduce more surveys during the year.
- We will be working closely with our scientific partners, sharing scientific data, analysing it and reporting on findings.
- The sign up proceedure is even simpler. We ask for just the essential data about a tree: it’s location, the species, and a memorable name for it. More comprehensive data can be added when a user has signed in.
- Users when signed in can now see all their adopted trees listed together and view them on their own map.
- All trees adopted in the TreeWatch initiative are visible on the explore page where it is possible to filter by species.
- We have developed an ‘orphan’ tree system where users can release their trees if they no longer wish to monitor them. This solves an issue where years of tree data could be potentially lost.
In terms of the website, we have plans to add a forum to the site so that TreeWatch volunteers can share experiences, ask questions and contribute in new ways to the work of TreeWatch. We will also be improving the international functionality of the site. We will be adding a photo uploading facility. Ultimately we want to develop a mobile phone app but need to fundraise to make this possible.
We are talking to existing and to new partners about developing the TreeWatch initiative in various exciting new ways.
We would love to hear your views on the new website and other comments on the initiative.