Call for volunteers to become Torbay's first tree wardens

Location of proposed car park for Torbay Hospital, north of Riviera Way, Torquay

Torbay tree wardens will plant, protect and promote their local trees - Credit: Archant

A new tree warden scheme is being launched to help look after Torbay’s trees -  and Torbay Council wants volunteers to get in touch.

Working with SWISCo and a range of other partners, the council have signed up to the Tree Warden Scheme, an initiative led by the Tree Council charity.

Locally, it will be delivered by the council working with SWISCo and Groundwork South.

Tree wardens plant, protect and promote their local trees.

No training or experience in tree management is needed – just a love of trees, a desire to make a difference in your community and a few hours to spare.

Nationally, tree wardens are organised into local networks and each group is managed by a local network co-ordinator.

All tree warden networks are autonomous, meeting regularly to decide what they would like to focus on.

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The work includes arranging local tree planting days; pruning, watering and giving vital aftercare to local trees after planting; working with local authorities to plant and care for street trees; rejuvenating local woodlands in need of management; growing trees from seed and surveying and monitoring trees and hedgerows.

Tree wardens will be encouraged to take part in the local i-tree survey and although some knowledge of trees would be preferable, support and guidance will be provided by SWISCo tree officers and partners for the project Treeconomics and Hi-Line.

The i-tree project aims to quantify the eco-system benefits of the trees in Torbay.

It will not only cover our park, street and open space trees but also account for those trees in private and non-council owned land, including gardens, in Torbay.

Eco-system benefits include shade, rainfall interception, support of wildlife, storing carbon, and tackling pollution.

Steve Darling, leader of Torbay Council, said: “We are looking for as many local people to become tree wardens as possible, so if you are interested then please do get in touch.

“Trees are a vital part of our response to the climate emergency, and as well as our plans to plant 350 trees over the next few years, it is vital that we look after our existing trees – and that’s where you come in by volunteering for our tree warden network.

“In my own ward I know how much people value Brunel Woods and the space and tranquillity that this woodland offers our community.”

Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council

Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council - Credit: Torbay Council

Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council, said: “To be a tree warden you don't need to be an expert, only enthusiastic!

"Being a tree warden can often be happily combined with other activities, such as taking children to school, exercising dogs and family walks.

"Some wardens have demanding jobs; others are unemployed or retired. No training or experience in tree identification or management is needed - just a love of trees and a few hours to spare.”

Sara Lom, CEO of the Tree Council, said: “The Tree Council’s volunteer tree wardens are local tree champions who plant, look after and stand up for the trees in their patch.

"They are the eyes, ears and voice for trees in their community.

"It’s fantastic to be celebrating the new Torbay Tree Warden Network and we look forward to working with Torbay Council to support their wonderful new volunteer tree wardens to plant, protect and care for the trees which are so essential to our lives and our urban spaces.

"Tree wardens don’t need to be experts – they simply need to have a passion for trees and a desire to make a difference in their local community.

"By joining Torbay’s new tree warden network, local residents can enhance the trees and woods they see and enjoy every day.”

The Tree Council provides each warden with access to training, resources and information.

Torbay Council are also offering some awareness raising and training courses, as well as keeping in touch through emails and newsletters.

Anyone interested in getting involved or just want to find out more, can email TreeWarden@swisco.co.uk