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Lecturer hopes to inspire with tree ID videos

Posted 23 April 2014

Chartered Forester and Senior Lecturer, Jim Waterson

A lecturer at Harper Adams University is hoping to inspire young people to learn more about UK tree species by launching a series of educational videos.

Chartered Forester and Senior Lecturer, Jim Waterson, decided to create the tree identification videos in response to feedback from students studying countryside, environment and land management courses, and in particular, a forestry module.

The videos aim to help students to identify more than 20 species of trees by their physical properties, including bud and leaf shape and texture, colour of bark, and fruit and seed types. They also provide extra information such as soil and site requirements, timber properties and typical uses.

Commenting on the videos, Jim said: “I teach a woodland module at Harper Adams of which one of the assessments is to identify 20 tree species from twig and foliage samples within a set amount of time.

“I have to deliver this module during the autumn and winter when it is most challenging to successfully identify the different species.

“So, I wanted to create a series of videos that the students could use not as a replacement for our regular outdoor tree identification sessions, but as supporting material and a revision aid.”

Jim’s forestry module proves extremely popular with the students, who enjoy the competitive side of the tree identification assignment.

It is now hoped that other students outside of Harper Adams will use the videos and become inspired to learn more about trees and UK woodland.

Jim added: “These videos can be used by anyone with a spark of interest for trees, and hopefully watching the videos will help to inspire the next generation of foresters and countryside enthusiasts.

“This is only the beginning really, once leaves appear on the trees again I’ll be busy creating the next few videos to add to the collection.”

Also taking place at Harper Adams is a postgraduate research project funded by the Woodland Trust which aims to investigate the potential value of trees in farm businesses.

Tim Saunders from Eastbourne, Sussex, is the first of three students that will complete 12-months of work, in consecutive years, for a Master of Research (MRes) degree. The work is being supervised by Jim.

To watch the videos, visit this link.

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