Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

New Silk Wood Project Manager

Posted: February 27, 2023 at 12:40 pm Author: Oscar Adams - Silk Wood Project Manager

Oscar Adams - Silk Wood Project ManagerIn January 2023, we welcomed Oscar Adams to Westonbirt Arboretum as the new Silk Wood Project Manager. Thanks to members' continuous support of The National Arboretum, The Friends are pleased to fund this position as we look to regenerate Silk Wood after the ash tree felling over the last few years due to Chalara ash dieback. We caught up with Oscar to find out more about him, his role and the future of Silk Wood...

"I am happy to introduce myself as a new Project Manager at Westonbirt Arboretum. A little about me – I have always spent a lot of time among trees, firstly working in arboriculture which led me to study Woodland Ecology and Conservation at the University of Cumbria. While in the north I managed an upland restoration project and have most recently worked for a community woodland in the West Midlands.

Funding from The Friends has paid for my role, enabling me to manage the exciting Silk Wood Community Project, which follows the discovery and devastation of ash dieback in Silk Wood where many infected trees have been felled. We are seeking funding to regenerate the area as a community woodland, engaging schools, community groups, volunteers, and others with the lifecycle of tree planting at the arboretum. Funds are also being sought for additional staff resources and activity costs. We want the groups we connect with to play a part in each stage of the project, including the design, planting, management, and monitoring of the new woodland.

Trees affected by Chalara ash dieback

Since the discovery of Chalara ash dieback, we have conducted floral and faunal surveys, providing a baseline from which we can monitor improvements in biodiversity provided by the new planting. We also continue to closely monitor our remaining ash trees for any signs of infection. The income generated from the sale of the felled ash has covered the sensitive woodland work to date - felling, extraction and ground repairs.

Trees affected by Chalara ash dieback

Over the next few months, the main focus will be seeking external funding which will determine the shape and scope of the project. We will also be looking to gather support from interested groups."

We'll be sharing further updates on the Silk Wood Community Project and how to get involved later this year.