The project got underway at the start of September, and it has been a busy few months! We have been running lots of events and have also put together our first Plymouth-wide woodland survey on Deadwood, and launched our online recording facility so you can send us your woodland wildlife sightings!
Take part in our Deadwood Survey to help conserve woodland ecosystems
A Plymouth-wide survey of our city’s woods will commence in January, with the launch of our Deadwood Survey run in partnership with Buglife. Over the course of the project we will be producing a number of surveys, which will help people learn about woodlands and enable the public and schools to take part in research into how our woodlands are changing.
The ‘Deadwood Survey’ will be launched in January, with two free training sessions, open to all. These will be on Wednesday 29th January 10am-1pm and Saturday 1st February 10am-1pm. Please note this is the same session repeated, and you would not need to attend both. For booking enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This session will equip you to carry out deadwood monitoring in woods in Plymouth, and to run deadwood surveys with other groups such as adult volunteers and schools. You will learn about the fascinating world of deadwood, its importance as a habitat and its role in the woodland ecosystem, as well as how to identify deadwood invertebrates or ‘mini-beasts’.
For schools and clubs: We will also be running free sessions for schools, youth clubs and adult volunteer groups to take part in the survey. If you are interested, please contact Alison.
Deadwood is Dead Good!
Deadwood is a very important part of the woodland ecosystem. Naturally, trees die and drop branches when they are old. Rather than clearing this deadwood away, it is much better that it is left. It provides habitats for all sorts of woodland invertebrates, fungi and plants like mosses. Over time, bacteria, fungi and invertebrates break down the deadwood and return carbon and nutrients to the soil, which help keep the soil healthy for plants to grow. If a wood has plenty of deadwood at different stages of decay this is a sign of a healthy functioning woodland ecosystem. The deadwood survey will help us work out how healthy Plymouth’s woodlands are and where more deadwood habitats are needed.
Online Wildlife Recording - Help us build a better picture of Plymouth’s woodland wildlife:
We have launched an online recording website for you to record any wildlife you spot in Plymouth’s woods. The site is hosted by National Biodiversity Network (NBN) through their irecord facility. This means that any data submitted will feed into national species records, as well as our local ones.
To send in a record, click here (or visit our website and click the ‘submit a record’ link). Please include a photo with your record if you can.
You will also be able to enter results online for the Deadwood Survey, and our future surveys. Your data will then be analysed and passed onto the City’s woodland managers so you can contribute to conservation efforts.
Woodland Management Skills Training
We have teamed up with Work Skills South-West to run a series of accredited courses in woodland conservation management. These courses are free and are aimed at 15-19 year-olds not in education, employment or training.
We are offering a range of Entry Level and Level 1 courses leading to nationally recognised qualifications that will give young people an excellent grounding to go on to further land-management qualifications or apprenticeships.
For details and booking, contact: Steve Avenell, Work Skills South-West: email@example.com / 0845 2235433
We are running free sessions for schools to get involved in their local woods, and to use woods to help teach parts of the science curriculum.
We are available to run sessions for Key Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 science around themes such as food chains and webs, habitats, nutrient cycle, classification, interdependence and adaptation, plant life cycles and scientific enquiry.
Schools can also take part in our woodland surveys and contribute to real scientific research. We can also run twilight sessions for teachers to introduce you to a range of learning materials to use in the woods.
Things to do in the woods:
Click here for handy downloads and activities to support learning and exploration in a woodland setting
We are looking for volunteers to help with the project in the following ways:
· Carry out the woodland surveys
· Help with publicity
· Help delivering sessions with groups
If you would be interested in helping, please get in touch to discuss. Training will be provided. Some activities may require a CRB check.
In spring we will be launching our Woodland Plant Survey in partnership with Plantlife. Woodland plants are very important for insects such as butterflies and bees, and our native woodland flowers are under threat from invasive species and changes in woodland management. This survey will study how woodland plants are affected by light levels in the woods, and will help us understand how diverse our woodlands are.
The Plymouth Woodland Project is run by the School of Biological Sciences at Plymouth University, in partnership with Stepping Stones to Nature and Plymouth City Council, the Woodland Trust and the National Trust. We are also working closely with Buglife and Plantlife to develop our surveys.