10 -11 November: lunchtime tree walks

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Photo  by Shiroshana Tissera

Walk itinerary: 
Meet in front of the Main Reception                                 Start 13.00 hours     Finish: 14.00 hours                          No cost – just turn up                                                           Enjoy the stunning displays of autumnal hues with this short tree identification walk around the campus (35 min),  followed by  leaves-painting session at the CSA.

The first two lunchtime tree walks around the Cranfield University’s campus!-) 
Our guide for these walks will be David, current MSc student at Cranfield University. I asked him a couple of questions:

David, could you tell us more about the planned tree walks?
I would say it is more a “biological” walk than a “tree walk” – Its more about appreciating nature as a whole. Trees are just one part of our mother Earth :). During the walk, I will try to tell you something about basic dendrology, ornithology, ecology… but don’t expect any overbearing academical knowledge. – just  a nice and friendly walk around Cranfield campus.

David, our guide - let's hope he is coming alone for the tree walk!-)

Tell us something about  yourself.               I studied ecology and conservation biology at Charles University in Prague. Currently I am studying for MSc in  Land Management at Cranfield University. In the last couple of years I participated in few expeditions to Africa; during which I always felt a sense of astonishment at biodiversity in that region. I just love nature.

What is your favourite walk?           Everywhere where you can find some patch of nature is fine ! But my favorite walks are in the mountains of my country (Czech Republic). I grew up there and that is where you can observe all the changes that happen in nature.

What advice would you give to our walkers or what useful  information could you share with us?                                                                                                                                                   Feel the nature ! It’s not necessary to be able to identify hundreds of species of  trees or animals. In contrast I think that the most important thing for every human is to maintain a deep personal connection with nature and the natural environment. After all, it is here for us to enjoy -). 

Many thanks, David. I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming lunchtime tree walks.

Kristina Sodomkova
Do you like to decorate your room of office walls with pretty artwork, using fallen leaves and a poster paint? Come to the CSA 1st floor after the lunchtime tree walks on Thursday and Friday 10-11 November.


Tree expert wanted

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In July this year we ran a mini series of special natural history walks. This was mainly thanks to Alan Nelson, staff member of School of Applied Sciences, who offered to do a number of early Thursday evening guided walks for us. Additionally, the Community Centre provided financial support in form of transport – individual taxis and a minibus, to be precise!  Three of these special walks took place: to Caldecotte Lake; from Olney to Clifton Reynes; and around Emberton Country Park. The events proved to be extremely popular, with more than 20 students and staff attending the first two events and a smaller number attending the third (influenced by the bad weather on that day).

Cranfield University students in discussion with Alan Nelson during a visit to Caldecotte Lake
Alan Nelson, our natural history guide

Alan has in-depth knowledge of fauna and flora; dragonflies in particular. Attending one of his guided walks allowed us to see nature in a very different light.  Our faces lit up and we listened intently; whether Alan was describing a longbow – a medieval historical weapon made from yew wood, discussing diseases troubling horse-chestnut trees, keelhauling, various plants such as teasel or the fact that a cygnet could be eaten by fox.

Teasel - one of many lovely photos taken on one of our guided natural history walks. Photos courtesy of Chanlynn Ho and Sharon Birkholz.

Now that autumn season is approaching and colour of the trees is changing so beautifully, it would be perfect to have a tree talk. I approached in person the Farm Woodland Forum, whose secretary happens to be Cranfield University member of staff, whether they could do a special interest walk for us. However, they don’t think they can help us at present.  So the hunt for a tree expert is still on!

If you are a tree expert or have any other natural history/botany expertise and would be happy to do either a lunchtime, short, guided walk or a longer weekend walk for our group, please contact us. Above all, you will be rewarded by knowing you have enriched life of many of our students.