David Griffith has been volunteering as a Tree Health Surveyor with the Woodland Trust since the Observatree project started in 2014. Along with over 200 other volunteers involved in the project, David is tasked with surveying woods and trees for signs of pests and diseases including Chalara dieback of ash.

Any positive sightings are reported to the Forestry Commission using the Tree Alert online reporting tool. The information submitted through Tree Alert is used to build up a picture of the distribution of pests and diseases across the UK, illustrated by maps such as the interactive Chalara map hosted by Defra.

In recent months, David has been a man on a mission to fill in some of the blank squares on the Chalara map in West Wales where the disease hasn’t yet been reported. David has identified ash trees infected with Chalara dieback of ash in over 20 new 10km grid squares, completed 68 Tree Alert reports and logged nearly 365 volunteer hours. Sam Milner, Tree Health Surveyor for Natural Resources Wales, was “very impressed with the quality of David’s Tree Alert reports and the samples he has submitted.”

We are incredibly lucky to have such an inspiring and dedicated person within the Observatree volunteer network. David is an exceptional citizen scientist, combining knowledge and enthusiasm to carry out his role in generating useful tree health data.

"We as volunteers, I feel, do the fun stuff – getting out into woods, surveying and reporting. We have had excellent training for our role and I personally feel the support we get is second to none."

David Griffith
Observatree Volunteer