From the Forestry Commission…
We are now able to share the topics for the Plant Health online sessions that will be running through February. Each session will start at 12pm and last at most 1h30m.
Each session will feature talks given by experts in the field, followed by a Q&A
Wednesday 3rd: Human impacts of Plant Health with a reminder of how we can be the vector of transmission, what are doing to help prevent this including checking of imported material; and also when plant health impacts on human health (Oak Processionary Moth)
Wednesday 10th: Ash Dieback. Hear about the course of the disease in Denmark who were about 10 years ahead of us in handling the disease, suggestions for how to manage woodland after the loss of Ash, and a reminder of the implications for grants and licenses
Wednesday 17th: Looming threats: an introduction or update on Swiss Needle Cast, Sweet Chestnut Blight and the old foe Phytophthora Ramorum
Wednesday 24th: Beetles. Hear about Ips which is currently devastating spruce in Europe and a reminder about Dendroctinus and Rhizophagus which are already present in the SW
You can attend any session as a standalone, book for all four sessions, or as many as you are able to attend.
They will be FREE to attend but you will need to register here:
Please see below a statement from our Chairman:
“ Due to COVID 19 restrictions DRST is currently unable to offer safe and effective courses and as such we have cancelled them until the end of 2020. We need the COVID restrictions to change such that Social Distancing is reduced to less than 1m, the need to wash hands regularly is removed/reduced and to enable people to mix more such that close instruction and the sharing of tools can be achieved. We will continue to monitor the situation on a monthly basis and will re-start Saturday Courses as soon as it is safe to do so.”
We are really pleased to let you know that the England Tree Strategy is now out for consultation. A national e-alert was sent out last week which you can read here. We would be grateful if you would share the Strategy with any contacts who may be interested in commenting.
The England Tree Strategy is being developed in parallel with other key strategies that flow from the 25 Year Environment Plan. These include the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy and the forthcoming England Peat Strategy and Nature Strategy, as well the future Environmental Land Management Scheme which will operate on the basis of providing public payments for public goods.
For more information about the England Tree Strategy consultation and to submit your views please visit the consultation page.
There is a lot to read and consider in the consultation, so you may need to allow yourself a reasonable amount of time, but you can save your comments and come back to them later. The deadline for all comments is 11 September 2020.
We would also like to draw your attention to another national e-alert which was issued last week that contains other interesting topics, including:
· new guidance for organisations who are considering their next steps after having declared a climate emergency
· a new leaflet about trees and woodlands on farms
· the first roles advertised for the new England Tree Planting Programme. If you have the skills and experience to shape this programme, follow the links in the e-alert for more information.
South West Area Team
Forestry Commission | South West England Region
The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) will be accepting new applications for funding between 14 July and 24 August 2020. Talented and aspiring candidates can apply for up to £18,000 to further their education through traditional college courses, vocational training, apprenticeships or one-to-one training with master craftsmen. For further details and to apply please visit www.qest.org.uk. Deadline for applications is 5pm, Monday 24 August.
QEST celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded over £4.5million to more than 550 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. QEST
There’s a link below to a grant scheme from the Heritage Crafts Association.
In light of recent events surrounding the Coronavirus, our Chairman, with the agreement of the Committee, has decided to cancel all courses until September.
We thank you all for your understanding. Thankfully, due to the way the DRST is run, these events will not negatively impact on the DRST as an organisation and we will be in a very strong situation to continue our work once things have returned to normal.
Best wishes and good health to you all,
Course bookings and payment coordinator
Devon Rural Skills Trust
Tree Health Event
We have organised a free Tree Health update at Monks Yard in Ilminster on 3 March 2020, 10am – 3.15pm. The agenda will cover a topical update on tree health, biosecurity and woodland resilience in the South West, as well as workshops where you can ask questions in smaller groups. The agenda for the event is attached. Places are limited, so booking is essential using the link below. Please note that in previous years, places have booked very quickly for these events.
We would like to introduce our new Woodland Resilience Officer, Chris Sorensen, who has taken up a new role in our national policy advice team, but remains based in the South West where he has a been a Woodland Officer for the last few years. Chris’s role will focus on disseminating best practice on woodland resilience, silviculture and restocking after issues such as Ash Dieback or other pests and diseases. He will be working through the forestry sector and other organisations with interest in woodland to raise awareness of the importance of species diversity, multi-structural woodlands and strategies to minimise the impacts of pests and diseases. Chris will be speaking at our Tree Health event in Ilminster.
International Year of Plant Health (IYPH)
The International Year of Plant Health is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development. Events are being organised around the world to celebrate the IYPH and to highlight the vital role of national and regional plant health organisations in protecting plants from damaging pests and diseases. You can find out more information by visiting the Plant Health Portal.
The UK has designated a new Plant Health Week from 20th to 27th April, which encompasses World Earth Day on 22nd April.
Three thousand trees have been planted in Hampshire as part of a pioneering project by Defra to tackle Ash Dieback. The UK’s first Ash Archive has been established using £1.9 million of government funding and is the culmination of projects spanning 5 years to identify ash with a high tolerance to the disease. The archive is a major step towards maintaining and restoring ash in the British landscape. It is intended that it will provide the basis for a breeding programme of tolerant ash over time and will enable the development of orchards producing commercially available seed.
Summary of advice on Ash Dieback
Since there is so much need for advice on Ash Dieback currently, we include an updated version of the table sent in a previous e-alert, with the addition of some very useful guidance produced recently by the Arboricultural Association.
Local Partnership Advisor
Can you add a note to Skills Online that the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt and Dorset Young Farmers Annual Hedging Competition will take place at Hydes Farm, Kings Stag, Sturminster Newton on Sunday 1st of March 2020. Details from Peter Fitzgerald on 01747 840 895 or Charlie Mayo on 07980 851 273
Also Congratulations to Laura Tunstall and Jon Gaskins on the safe arrival of Hecate Wren on Tuesday 21st of January. She weighed 7 lbs 6 oz.
Apologies for previous message, wrong date. The correct information is below:
23rd Annual “Skills of the Hills” Event
Saturday 7th March 2020
Regency House, Hemyock. EX15 3RQ
By kind permission of Mrs Jenny Parsons.