Urban and Rural Trees

Volunteer with us..

We are inviting members of the public and schools living in the River Frome Catchment, Upper Don Catchment and Eden Catchment to help us understand the impact of drought and climate change on trees in their local area. We are looking for the public and schools to monitor a tree, or several trees, in their local school, garden, street or park in urban and rural areas and to help us collect a range of measurements on that particular tree in 2017. Further information can be found below.

Trees and Drought

Trees deliver many ecological and social benefits in urban and rural environments. Trees moderate the climate, conserve energy, carbon dioxide and water, improve the air quality, control flooding and noise levels, and provide habitats for wildlife. Trees enhance living, recreational and working environments for people and improve individual and community wellbeing. These functions are often referred to as ecosystem services and play an important role in the macro-economy (Everard, 2014 environmental SCIENTIST 20-25). Macroeconomics is concerned with measuring the condition and performance of the economy of a country at the national and regional scale and within key sectors. Different tree species have different water use requirements and therefore, differ in their ability to cope with water shortage. During a drought trees may lose their leaves or shed branches, increasing the risk of tree death and possible damage to urban infrastructure.
We will use the measurements to estimate the ecosystem service benefits of those trees and how they might be affected by drought. The measurements will also provide baseline data that could be used in future studies.

Natasha_TreeWhat will you gain?


School participation in the DRY Project provides an opportunity for students to assist scientists by gathering valuable data in their local area for our Tree Survey.

The tree monitoring activities can take place at any time and for each tree we need to know: the location of the trees, the date sampled, tree species, trunk circumference, height, crown spread and crown depth in 2017. We would also like to know additional information about the natural timing of life cycle events such as the flowering times of trees and how they change over the years. We are also interested in collecting information on temperature, relative humidity and rainfall in the environment where the tree measurements were taken. For some schools we are able to give out a series of ‘i buttons’ which monitor temperature and relative humidity close to the tree in order to measure the effect of these factors on tree growth.

Teachers can incorporate the monitoring activities in class or select elements to adapt to other programmes of work. Alternatively, students can be supported to carry out the survey activities at home with the assistance of parents/carers as homework. The monitoring activities can be used to achieve a range of learning objectives related to a variety of national curriculum subjects including Science, Geography, Mathematics and Information Computer Technologies (ICT):

  • Students learn about the importance of trees and identify a range of tree species in their local environment.
  • Collect measurements on tree heights, trunk circumference, crown spread and crown depth and learn about phenology.
  • Students will learn about the impacts of climate change and drought on trees.
  • Students engage in, and contribute data to, a national survey using methods employed by scientist.

Resources for teachers

Teachers can download our Tree Studies Handbook for guidance and other teaching resources detailed below:

Key Stage 1 Lessons Plans and Worksheets

Key Stage 2 Lessons Plans and Worksheets

School Visits

We can also visit your school to carry out a tree event to help get you started. Email Patty or Sarah on dry@uwe.ac.uk or ring 0117 32 87350 for further information/assistance.


This is an exciting opportunity to gain valuable experience on a large-scale scientific project, learn tree identification skills, tree ecology and more broadly about the impacts of drought and climate change on the environment. Volunteers will receive a certificate detailing the number of hours spent on the project and essential skills acquired, which are important for many ecological or conservation jobs. Volunteers can download our Tree Studies Handbook for guidance and our Survey Form

Send us your results

Submit your results online by filling in the online submission form by clicking here or scroll down to the bottom of the page. If you have any problems Email: dry@uwe.ac.uk or ring 0117 32 87350






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