I’m going to take you through the best courses in tree identification. Alright, when you walk through the woods, or around your neighborhood, do you recognize the trees you see?
It might seem like knowing the names of trees has no particular value, however, there are a lot of values attached to distinguishing the names of trees. Just like Christian Diehm a philosopher argues, that distinguishing species of trees may offer a different way of seeing “nature” that could transform our view of the world around us.
It can be tricky to learn how to differentiate specific trees, even with a field guide in hand. Leaves from two different species can look very similar, while a single species or even a single tree can have leaves that vary in size and shape.
This difficulty is part of what makes identifying trees a valuable pursuit, demanding a particular sort of attention.
The UK has at least fifty species of native trees and shrubs, and many more species of introduced non-native trees.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Proper Tree Identification
- Learning to identify the trees on your property will help you enjoy and better manage your land.
- Seasonal Cycle Awareness of Tree Species
- Opportunity to know more about a Tree
- Helps you know the purpose a Tree can serve
- Helps us to have a different perspective on Trees
1. Learning to identify the trees on your property will help you enjoy and better manage your land.
Woodland owners who learn how to identify the trees and other vegetation on their property are better able to enjoy their land and will make more informed decisions about their management actions.
2. Seasonal Cycle Awareness of Tree Species
Tree identification involves an awareness of both the seasonal cycles of tree species, and the larger phases of growth and development into which those cycles fit.
Becoming aware of the distinctive biological realities of trees involves developing an aesthetic sensitivity to the shapes, colors, and textures in which those realities find expression.
3. Opportunity to know more about a Tree
Learning the name of a tree often means learning something about it. Some names, like sugar maple and broom hickory, speak to the uses humans make of those trees.
Others, like river birch and moosewood, imply trees’ relationships with local geography or other forms of life.
4. Helps you know the purpose a Tree can serve
The distinctiveness of trees also determines the difference in their uses. Trees are of different species and also serve different purposes. You know, trees are important to our lives whether we notice them or not.
They supply us with the boards we build our homes, different construction such as upholstery, and the oxygen we breathe. However, trees exist not for our use but for their purposes.
The lightweight strength of the wood makes it wonderful for construction, but, from the trees’ perspective, that physical characteristics is what it takes to grow upward, lofting leaves toward the sunlight.
5. Helps us to have a different perspective about Trees
When we get to know trees we may begin to look at them differently. Each tree, we will want to assert, is a wonder, a real-life marvel making a way through the world, fully deserving of admiration and respect on its terms.
10 Best Tree Identification Courses
- Family Survival Course
- Bow Making Bushcraft Weekend
- Axe Workshop and Tree Interpretation Weekend
- The Woodland Wayer
- Wild Food Foraging and Preparation Weekend
- Fire Lighting Bushcraft Weekend
- Hedgerow Medicine and Medicinal Wild Plants Course
- Willow Basketry Day Course
- 10-Day Woodland Immersion Survival Course
- Plant and Tree Identification 6 Weekend Immersion Course
1. Family Survival Course
This course is a one-day and one-night (24 hours) course aimed at parents and children who want to learn how to live more comfortably in the wild.
The course is designed to be a family-friendly course, enabling parents and children to discover together some of the delights of learning to live with the resources available to us in nature.
The age range for this course is 8+ years with 16 as the maximum course size. In this course, you will also be given the opportunity, instructions, and tools to carve something from green wood.
2. Bow Making Bushcraft Weekend
This is a three-day course that will guide you through the whole process of making a wood bow with hand tools out in the field.
The bow and arrow have been one of those accelerating forces in the shaping of mankind’s story on Earth firstly allowing our ancient ancestors to ensure the security of food in the wilderness they called home.
As our societies developed and wars were fought, victory often favored those people who harnessed the power of this truly incredible weapon.
Whether you have an interest in ancient history or simply share with your ancestors the exhilaration of firing a bow and arrow, opening the door to making your wooden bow can be the beginning of a life-long journey of discovery.
In this course, you will be guided through the whole process of making a wood bow with hand tools out in the field.
There will be a range of handmade bows on hand to highlight the diversity of bow design and you can take your pick in crafting anything from a Mesolithic flat bow to a Medieval longbow.
The age range for this course is 18+ years with 10 as the maximum course size.
3. Axe Workshop and Tree Interpretation Weekend
This is a weekend course for tree identification, the language of trees, and how to use your tools safely. This course will take you through on initial ways you can identify trees, utilizing some of their unique “tricks” to open up the world of tree identification to you.
Of course, the practical aspect also includes a large amount of axe work during daylight hours. Here you will learn how to fell, limb, log up, and split different woods using an axe in a safe, efficient, and effective manner. We also cover appropriate tool choices.
You will cover the legal framework surrounding the use of sharp-edged tools. The age range for this course is 18+ years with 12 as the maximum course size
Places on this course are severely restricted to ensure the quality and safety of the course information presented.
You will also learn in this course the language of trees, how they grow, how they react to environmental conditions, and how they can be managed beneficially for the environment.
4. The Woodland Wayer
A comprehensive course aimed at those with either a personal and/or professional interest in progressing their bushcraft knowledge.
This is a two-year course with a personal development bonus of special private access to our woodlands for you to consolidate your skills.
The Woodland Wayer consists of 17-weekend courses and 3 one-day courses spread over the 2 years. In addition to the actual course dates, you will be able to access and utilize your area of woodland on 12 additional weekends throughout the course.
Further to this, course participants benefit from a 10% discount on all equipment from our World Of Bushcraft Centre and 15% off further courses or expeditions with Woodland Ways. The age range for this course is 18+ years with 12 as the maximum course size.
This course is designed to leave you with all of the skills necessary to fully understand the scope, depth, and breadth of what we mean when we talk about Bushcraft, this is the real deal.
You will have access to a wealth of information, working in small groups with our instructing team. Each instructor on the team will bring into the mix of teaching their particular specialisms.
All are renowned for their vast knowledge and practical application of bushcraft skills and are highly respected experts in their field. All the weekends start at 1 pm Friday and finish midday onwards Sunday, this means it is easy to complete this course and remain in full-time employment.
The Woodland Wayer takes place in either our 250-acre SSSI woodlands in Oxfordshire or within a remote block of woodland on the Haddon Hall Estate in Derbyshire.
You can join this course at 1 joining weekend each year, and from this point, you join the rolling program until you complete all modules. Upon conclusion of the course, you receive the Woodland Ways Red Deer Stag pin badge as a symbol of your knowledge.
5. Wild Food Foraging and Preparation Weekend
This is a weekend course that goes beyond a Foraging Day Course and is spent looking at processing a range of wild foods.
The courses are designed to be a fun experience and at no point during the course will you be expected to do anything that you are uncomfortable with. Instructors are always on hand with help, advice, and assistance.
The age range for this course is 16+ years with 16 as the maximum course size
6. Fire Lighting Bushcraft Weekend
This is a weekend course on firefighting skills, using a wide range of methods, giving you the knowledge to light a fire in any condition.
On the weekend, you will have the rare opportunity to work in small groups with us on this most important topic, not only understanding its importance to our species but also discovering a whole myriad of methods for creating it focusing on historical and primitive methods.
This course is not an endurance test but is designed for you to get practical hands-on experience of fire lighting, in a fun and safe weekend.
No prior experience is required for you to attend this course. The age range for this course is 18+ years with 10 as the maximum course size.
7. Hedgerow Medicine and Medicinal Wild Plants Course
This is a day course spent in beautiful woodland, discovering the resources that are all around us, and their amazing uses.
You will have a warm welcome from your instructor who will spend time with you in the morning identifying, describing, and collecting a selection of native, wild, medicinal plants from around our stunning 250-acre woodland.
With each plant you will describe how to identify it, its medicinal uses, and how to prepare it, making sure you’re equipped with the knowledge that the world around offers.
You will discuss the etymology, myths, and tales that you may have heard, and discover if there’s any truth to those old stories. The age range for this course is 18+ years with 16 as the maximum course size.
8. Willow Basketry Day Course
A one-day basketry course based in our woodland venue with rustic furniture around the campfire. You will be taught the basic principles of working with willow and will be guided through the process of making your own small round willow basket.
The course will also cover other aspects of basketry including; alternative weaving techniques, sourcing your material from the hedgerow, adding handles, oval baskets, etc. All tools and materials to take part are supplied
This course is for those over 18 although under 18 must be accompanied by an adult with a maximum size of 12.
9. 10 Day Woodland Immersion Survival Course
One of the more advanced and longest duration UK-based Bushcraft courses. This will build your knowledge and improve your confidence.
The Woodland Ways 10-day course is designed for those who already have an understanding of Bushcraft skills and are starting to rely more on their skills rather than on modern-day equipment.
Throughout this course, you will become increasingly immersed in the rhythm of the Woodland. The instructors will enable you to make full practical use of the resources available to you and show you how to rely more on your skills and resources to sustain yourself out in the woodland environment.
You are encouraged to gradually reduce your reliance on modern equipment and food so that by the end of the course you are using only natural materials for all your Bushcraft activities and, if you so wish, are eating purely wild food, with a 3-day skills consolidation period at the end.
Food throughout the week will be provided in the form of wild game, depending on the time of year and seasonal changes this will differ from course to course.
However, you are assured that there will be a wide range of games including; fish, fowl, small mammals, and deer. (Vegetarian and other dietary alternatives are available with prior notice). The age range for this course is 8+ years with 10 as the maximum course size.
10. Plant and Tree Identification 6 Weekend Immersion Course
An in-depth, immersive course to teach you how to identify plants and trees year-round, how and when we can utilize them sustainably. It is a 6-weekends between 15th April 2023 and 10th March 2024, with timings from 9:30 am-4:30 pm daily.
Our connection with plants and our very understanding of their uses and the dangers that they present have been developed and handed down from generation to generation and are rooted in our very existence.
But in the modern world, without constant exposure, the skills of Identification are so much harder to retain. The age range for this course is 18+ years with 10 as the maximum course size
Understanding and recognizing the details can be a bewildering task, but you will be surprised by the connection you already have with many plants through your own experiences.
Understanding how you know these things is a part of your journey as we unlock further understanding of the world of wild plant identification. The key to this starts with the tools to equip you with a wide range of wild plant identification techniques which we will guide you through step by step.
Some Highlights of the course
15th – 16th April 2023
Wild Spring greens are at their best in the early stages of their development but are often the most challenging to identify as they are still to develop further key characteristics that help distinguish them from other species.
Wildflowers are in full display revealing the signature of the plant they belong to, sinking in with the annual rhythm of their choreographed display. We examine these further as you start your herbarium.
3rd – 4th June 2023
Late summer flowers are blooming, and tree foliage is well developed, we take the opportunity to examine these late bloomers and have a closer look at the crown-to-leaf structures of both native and non-native broadleaf tree species.
Observe the doctrine of signatures in plants for identification purposes and how it relates to their proposed uses.
2nd – 3rd September 2023
At this time of year, early fruit and nuts are forming on flora, we observe the changing structure of wild plants in the transfer of energy to reproduce and the identification features this reveals.
Plant defenses have also matured so it’s time to be looking at strategy plans of wild plants to protect themselves from attack and how this relates to family groups.
11th-12th November 2023
Many plants withdraw at this time of year embarking on their survival plan in continuing their species to emerge the following year, revealing further identification details in the seeds they produce, the dead standing stems they leave behind, and an opportunity to examine the root systems they have developed.
6th-7th January 2024
Winter tree identification with the detailed examination of buds in deciduous trees and needles in coniferous species, family characteristics, symbiotic fungi, and tree diseases, sensorial tree identification at night, combined with understanding species growth regulators and how they respond to changes within their environment and distinguishing confusion species.
9th-10th March 2024
Observing the first signs of spring as flora slowly awakens from winter’s grasp, as the first wildflowers and new growth begin to emerge, revealing the start of its annual rhythm.
I hope this answers your question on how to go about the species of trees around you. With your enrollment in any of these courses, you can help yourself to identify the kind of trees you have in your neighborhood or surrounding area.
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Ahamefula Ascension is a Real Estate Consultant, Data Analyst, and Content writer. He is the founder of Hope Ablaze Foundation and a Graduate of Environmental Management in one of the prestigious colleges in the country. He is obsessed with Reading, Research and Writing.