Fund your Projects with 'Grow Back Greener' & TreeTalk

News, Project

Source: GLA, Grow Back Greener Fund, 2020

TreeTalk would like to partner with charities, community groups, residents associations and other organisations applying for the Greater London Authority’s ‘Grow Back Greener’ Fund.

Grants range from £5,000 - £50,000 and are available to create and improve green spaces in London’s urban areas. It’s a great opportunity to get your project funded. Applications close 5 October 2020.

The fund aims to ‘...support a wide range of activities to help make London greener, fairer, healthier and more resilient. These activities should take place in and enhance publicly accessible spaces including parks, community gardens, housing estates, streets, waterways and nature reserves. They should mainly be focused on making physical improvements to the space.’

We believe TreeTalk can be part of the solution, and through TreeTalk Local, we offer a way to engage with your communities in a new way, and provide a means to illustrate the impact that your projects are delivering.

How does TreeTalk Local work?

We launched a TreeTalk Local for Abundance London as part of their project supporting new street trees in a specific area of Chiswick and Ealing. This project enables the community to adopt and look after trees, giving residents a means of improving the environment where they live.

Take a look at it here: https://abundancelondon.treetalk.co.uk/

TreeTalk Local in action - highlighting newly planted street trees

How does TreeTalk do this?

TreeTalk Local is developed specifically for local tree planting and maintenance initiatives.

TreeTalk Local is your very own version of our immensely popular TreeTalk London but aimed at your local streets, or park.

Out of the box, TreeTalk Local offers you:

  • Open Access - a public mobile optimised web application
  • Your Own Area Defined - define the specific project area: anything from the whole city to just a few streets or a local park.
  • Display Your Data - we add your location-based data to the interface, the data remains yours and can be extracted at any time.
  • Engage volunteers and local residents with features:
    • Adoption - Adopt a tree, a wildflower patch, or other node shown on the map.
    • Maintenance rota - Notify when a maintenance, such as watering, has been completed. Gently remind people when something needs doing.
    • A local weather station for every tree or garden - rainfall and temperature
    • Observations - Enable users to post messages about their activities and share photos of how well “their” tree is doing or the colourful beetle they saw sitting in its branches.
    • Your OwnTreeTalk URL - this could be a specific domain or a subdomain, e.g. localproject.treetalk.co.uk

As well as all these powerful features, it also offers the classic TreeTalk benefits of beautiful mapping, daily tree walk generation and fascinating information and photos on your local trees.

TreeTalk Local lets you engage residents with their trees and teaches them about what trees need

Partnering with TreeTalk

Partnering with us allows you to enable greater transparency, wider engagement and provides you with the same IT and features developed for TreeTalk over a number of years.

Through our novel software platform, we aim to support organisations engaged in the vitally important work of improving London’s environment and increasing access to green spaces.

We’d love to hear from you

If #GrowBackGreener sounds interesting, and you’d like to discuss how we can help develop a project with your organisation, then contact us now at at: hello@treetalk.co.uk.

Supporting the England Tree Strategy

News

Image: Architects CAN!

TreeTalk have contributed a response to DEFRA’s England Tree Strategy consultation, working with the Architects Can! (ACAN, Architects Climate Action Network) and the Construction Declares Steering Group.

1. The construction industry needs productive and diverse working woodlands

There is huge potential for the UK to grow a thriving domestic timber industry, to incentivise land-owners and investors to grow and nurture trees. Timber construction sequesters carbon and is one of the many strategies architects are seeking to reduce the embodied carbon associated with their building designs.

2. We need to increase tree canopy cover in our towns and cities

We know that trees in urban areas are hugely important to those living in cities and towns for health and wellbeing. Trees also offer a multitude of environmental benefits to communities - giving shade in summer (and losing their leaves in winter allows for solar gain), acting as drainage, reducing air pollution, supporting biodiversity and reducing the urban heat island effect. Often trees in cities and towns are seen to be in conflict with maximising space utilisation in new development, and not given sufficient protections in proportion to the value they offer.

3. Centrally run mapping and TPO Register

We propose a new central body responsible for all these aspects (data management, TPOs) - as an equivalent to Heritage England for trees. Data mapping of trees has already started to be undertaken on a piecemeal basis in Britain, and the benefits of this can be seen through the public’s engagement with platforms such as TreeTalk. We see a need for a centrally run and maintained mapping of all British trees, by the same body responsible for TPO register maintenance

4. Raise public awareness

We believe it is critical to raise public awareness of the importance of increasing british forests and woodlands, and of urban tree canopy cover. Access to nature should be a universal right, and tree planting should be targeted to make our society more equitable and share the benefits living in proximity to green space can bring to our communities. Communities who stand to benefit the most from new tree planting should be targeted as priority.

Read the full blog here: https://www.architectscan.org/post/england-tree-strategy

The consultation (closes 11 September 2020) can be accessed here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/england-tree-strategy/

Our Summer Heat Maps

News

Our Summer Heat Maps

We love maps and thought it would be nice to show which areas of London have been the most enthusiastic tree walkers based on tree walks generated.

North and South London were particularly hot, with Brixton, Balham, Camden and Hackney shining out. It would be great to light up east and west!


Get your borough into the hot zone for next month. Get out and create a route now!
What would you like to see?
Select our seasonal selection of interesting leaves and seed pods, or let us show you all types of tree.

What Others are Saying about TreeTalk

News

Press coverage of TreeTalk

Bringing your #DailyWalk to Life

Over the past few months, there has been a huge interest from people taking in their local surroundings and appreciating their environment more. It has been great to hear how TreeTalk has been able to make a difference, and to help make that every day experience a little bit better for everyone. What's nice, is the way everyone focuses on the features is different way.

We love these articles!

Tree mapping app blossoms as city-dwellers seek out nature in lockdown, Record traffic for TreeTalk sparks global interest as users reconnect with the species that line their streets -The Guardian (5 June 2020)

Explore London through its trees, "...allowing residents to explore, discover, and identify our carbon-capturing leafy friends as they roam the streets, parks and waterways of the Big Smoke..." - The Big Issue (4 June 2020)

Tens of thousands of Londoners use TreeTalk app to explore urban nature on coronavirus lockdown, An app logging over 700,000 of London's trees is encouraging citizens to embrace urban nature during the coronavirus lockdown, by discovering and identifying trees in their local area during their daily walk - Evening Standard (28 May 2020)

'London is a forest, and this map explores its trees', BigThink (May 2020)

'New app encourages Londoners to pay more attention to trees on their daily walk', CityMetric (May 2020)

'A map of the trees of London', ianVisits (May 2020)

And we were very proud to be featured on BBC London News (27 May 2020)

Bowled Over

Urban Tree Festival 2020

Event

Battersea Park by Paul Wood

Online from 16-24 May 2020

TreeTalk will be taking part in this Festival of Trees, celebrating trees in London and beyond.

The whole world may be in lockdown but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy and appreciate the value of nature, trees, woodland in our urban lives and with your help we can help people fall in love with their urban trees.

Why not create your own personalised walk for the Urban Tree Festival
What would you like to see?
Select our seasonal selection of interesting leaves and seed pods, or let us show you all types of tree.

Trees of Tufnell Park

A guided walk around some of the tree diversity of Tufnell Park.

Around Elephant and Castle

Circular and fun, with a lovely square with Black Mulberry, and starting and ending at some very distinctive False Acacias.

Steve’s Chiswick Chase

This walk around Chiswick is from the popular guidebook London’s Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest. It was takes you down residential streets past all manner of unusual street trees.

From West Dulwich to North Dulwich

Station to station visiting some Belair Park trees, along a avenue of trees to explore a variety of street trees.

From Westbourne Park to Maida Vale

An intriguing urban walk from Westbourne Park taking in Little Venice and a tough Giant Redwood surviving under the Westway

Around Red Lion Square, Holborn

Around Red Lion Square & Lincoln's Inn Fields - a Handkerchief tree in Red Lion Square, Lincoln's Inn Fields and a Katura in Drury Lane Gardens.

Urban Tree Festival 2019

Event

New Spring Growth by Steve Pocock

18 - 19 May 2019

Supporting the second year of the Urban Tree Festival in 2019, TreeTalk created 3 self-guided discoveries of walks in London. The walks have been devised together with Paul Wood, author of ‘London is a Forest’ and ‘Street Trees of London: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest’.

Get involved in the conversation and we hope you enjoy the trails. Please share your experience on Twitter @TreeTalkUK @TheStreetTree using #TreeTalk #UrbanTreeFestival.

Live somewhere else? Did you know that you can generate your very own personalised tree trail.

Enter your address or postcode here, and we will generate a local walk for you. This is perfect for your one walk a day.
What would you like to see?
Select our seasonal selection of interesting leaves and seed pods, or let us show you all types of tree.

Just enter your home or work address.

National Park City Week 2018

Event

Red Lion Square, Bloomsbury is a fascinating historic square

21st July - 29th July 2018

Explore London’s Urban Forest all week with TreeTalk.

TreeTalk are proud to support the first National Park City Week by creating 2 unique self-guided walking trails throughout London to explore local trees and green spaces.

Together with Paul Wood, one of London’s leading tree experts (@TheStreetTree), each trail uncovers unique aspects of London’s diversity.

Each self-led walking trail can either be printed or downloaded/saved to your mobile device so that you can enjoy and explore each trail at your leisure.

We hope that you enjoy the trails!

Please share your experience on Twitter @TreeTalkUK using #TreeTalk #NationalParkCity

Earth Day 2018 Picnic & a Tree Trail

Event

22nd April 2018

Together with our friends at Abundance London and Hounslow Cycling, TreeTalk provided a blossom trail of fascinating trees around Turnham Green, Chiswick showing the diversity and abundance of local trees for the Earth Day Picnic.

Turnham Green

A trail around Turnham Green for Hounslow Cycling & Abundance London's Earth Day Picnic, 22 April 2018.

Trees and Technology

Event

Katrina Ramsey and Anna Gibson from the GLA delivering their presentation about London’s Street Tree map

It seems like an age since #LondonTreeWeek happened (it was 27/5/17 – 04/06/17), but the ideas that came out of the Trees and Technology mini-conference on 2nd June at the beautiful Convocation Hall still resonate.

Convocation House is in the Westminster Abbey estate, so not a bad view on a Friday afternoon.

A great line-up of speakers delivered a series of presentations covering a wide range of topics from data visualisation, mapping trees, engaging people with trees through consumer apps and using IoT technology to monitor trees. The event was expertly chaired by Stuart Dainton, Head of Innovation at the Woodland Trust, and the speakers were:

  • Ourselves – Steve and Paul from TreeTalk (this was effectively the Beta launch of our platform)
  • Katrina Ramsey (Senior Policy and Programmes Officer, Environment Team) and Anna Gibson (GIS Specialist) from the Greater London Authority spoke about the challenges of developing the GLA’s London Street Tree Map
  • Conor Nugent from Curio.xyz spoke about the importance of user experience in developing apps to engage people with the natural world
  • Simon Edwards and Stephen Middleton from TiCL.me talked about making it easy for people to publish super-local information including tree-trails in parks.
  • Richard Lanyon-Hogg delivered an overview of Internet of Things technology, and the possibilities of applying this to develop Internet of Trees (IoTr) networks for cheap and adaptable environmental monitoring

The speaker presentations were wide-ranging, but all fascinating, and can be viewed and downloaded here:

TreeTalk -Introducing TreeTalk
GLA – Mapping London’s Trees
Curio – For the Woodland Trust
TiCL – TiCL for Creating Curated Tree Trails and Park Guides
IoTr – Internet of Trees

Key themes emerged through the afternoon around the problems of collecting, standardising and analysing data; the potential technology has to offer in the role of engaging people with trees; and the sheer volume of work underway with trees, particularly urban trees. But perhaps the key message was that we must avoid the inclination to dismiss technology as being against the natural world, but instead embrace the direction of travel and all that technology can offer to enthuse and engage people with nature on their doorsteps.

Katrina Ramsey and Anna Gibson from the GLA delivering their presentation about London’s Street Tree map

Let’s pick these themes up in a bit more detail…

Data

Though quite a dry subject, data is the bedrock to any technological based interaction with trees.

Both TreeTalk and Curio use tree data released by the GLA. The data is derived from the local authorities who maintain their own data collection and management regimes, the data is provided to the GLA in a manner that makes it relatively easy to deal with by including standardised English species names, GPS locations and so on. However the data is incomplete and in some cases inconsistent. It was interesting to share information about the challenges faced by the GLA and how TreeTalk and Curio are both dealing with the available data and planning on augmenting it.

Curio gave examples of how data is provided in other parts of the world and how it might be standardised (in some cities they have exact details down even to the source nursery!).

We described our work with TreeTalk cleaning up species names, mapping from 2771 species in the GLA set down to just over 500 master species.

It became apparent that it would be very useful to share methodology around database structure, species mapping between Latin and common names, and between English and other languages, and to work towards an agreed standard in naming. It was suggested that further data should be included in the dataset around tree age and condition and also a record made of the data collection methodology, particularly when it comes to location data.

User Experience

All speakers agreed that making the best user experience of the technologies discussed should be a key focus if end users are to be engaged, and hopefully, enthused by the information available. Curio and TiCL both highlighted how easy their applications are for end users to interact with, TiCL can be used on a hyper-local level by bodies such as ‘Friends of’ groups, and a demonstration of how anybody can easily enter data and create a trail based on tree locations with “one goal … to get the person to the tree!” Curio outlined how their user interface and experience had been key to the development of their application with the idea that to engage users they need to add features that compete with other entertainment applications. So, the Curio app is packed with gamification features and also allows users to enter data to augment the existing datasets. TreeTalk meanwhile, is exploring how to highlight interesting trees to its users, through explaining and highlighting rarity, through colour, and by generating trails to the most intriguing.

Ignore Tech at Your Peril

Technology has become a key part of our daily lives and it is clear it is becoming inseparable from our own evolution. Young people see it as the default way to find out about their world. Logically then, the natural world and trees especially are becoming the subject of tech advances allowing for better and deeper engagement and understanding. It is clear then that we, the developers of technology, must be vigilant when it comes to the motivations for this inexorable co-evolutionary journey. Richard Lanyon-Hogg demonstrated that IoTr sensors could monitor many environmental factors including temperature, electrical conductivity, humidity and dozens more, these could also be enhanced with images and video. Once IoTr sensors are rolled out, even on a small scale, vast amounts of data will be generated, and it is this data that has potential to provide new insights and knowledge, which in turn will further highlight the fascinating lives of trees.

This ‘Build it and they will come’ approach is familiar in the tech world, but environmental scientists are more used to an approach where a need is identified which can be helped by a specific technical solution. If the scientific and academic worlds are to freely access and share data that can be, and no doubt soon will be, harvested from the natural world for the greater good of humanity rather than for the benefit of the shareholders of global tech companies, then it is essential that we embrace the great technological leaps forward we are on the cusp of, and support the endeavours that were presented at this event. It is great to see this Open Data approach being adopted by Katrina and her team at the GLA, and indeed, across government in the UK.

A Way Forward?

We believe that the audience and the speakers were very excited by the community that emerged on the 2nd June, and it seems appropriate that we continue to develop shared aims. Perhaps the first of these would be to look at how we can all contribute to a shared standard for categorising and storing tree data, and we will publish a further post suggesting how this might be structured and what we would hope to achieve.

All in all, it was a very exciting day, and we hope that it is the start of many future collaborations to engage people with trees using technology.

Paul Wood & Steve Pocock, TreeTalk, June 2017

Posted on June 8, 2017

TreeTalk is in Beta

News

Street Tree Stalkers: Paul Wood leading a group looking at recent street tree planting in Hackney

Naturally enough, TreeTalk launched as a public beta website and Android app during London Tree Week 2017.

We’ve been very pleased by the positive feedback we’ve received so far, and have a lot of improvements to the platform planned as a result. Watch this space for updates and enhancements!

What is TreeTalk?

TreeTalk has been developed using tree data from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to give residents of London the opportunity to get out of the house, use their feet and find interesting and green streets whilst learning about trees.

What makes TreeTalk unique is that you can find new walking routes, learn about the trees on your local roads, and our newly launched app can even speak to you and tell you about the trees as you are walking by them!

We’ve learned that by providing a reason to get out, we can bring about wider positive change. In this case, using your feet to learn about trees, educate yourself and your neighbours, is just the first step.

Our newly developed Android app (supported by the treetalk.co.uk website) is simple to use. By using your location, the app will create a circular walk from your home, or any other address, and will take you past interesting trees in your local neighbourhood. Maybe you could use it to guide you from your office on a lunchtime stroll, or explore a part of London with which you are less familiar.

You can learn about trees such as the rare Nettle Tree (which despite its name doesn’t sting!). Its jagged leaves and green berries will be seen much more in the future as it has shown it can handle anything that the city and climate change can throw at it. Then there is the Strawberry Tree with its simultaneous flowers and fruit in the autumn. And yes, its fruit does look like strawberries! Maybe with TreeTalk you will discover your own ‘rare’ street tree walking your local roads?

Street Tree Stalkers: Paul Wood leading a group looking at recent street tree planting in Hackney

– Give members of the community an opportunity to experience the joys of discovery of a local tree walk with our tree guru Paul Wood;
– Get you to help us explore and understand the streets and help refine how to get more people out walking and exploring;
– To design and link up hand-crafted walks in the area and promote them to encourage usage;
– To make our routes even greener and more fascinating;
– To promote and show gains in health, e.g. steps taken daily; by integrating a step counter;
– And to build the depth of tree library, e.g. imagery & content;

You can help us explore these topics and help share your passion for walking with others.

All the above points are ambitious, but we are dedicated to making change and we see these as the first steps towards that.