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Start at the very beginning; learn about basic tree biology and ecology and the common species we find in the UK in this introductory online course.

Trees are an important part of the plant kingdom, with their colourful leaves, acorns and blossoms surrounding us all. They provide homes and food for wildlife and also many ecosystem services for humans.

During this introductory online course, you will start at the very basics of the biological definition of a tree and their place in the plant kingdom.  You will continue to build your knowledge and explore their incredible biology and ecology. Later topics take you through introducing the two main types of trees found in the UK – coniferous and broadleaf trees, looking at basic identification of the most common species you may find. This course will enable you with the confidence to progress your learning and move on to courses looking more in-depth at specific tree identification.

This is a 4-week online course covering 4 topics, for which you will complete a variety of self-led online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with an interactive Zoom workshop to complement the online content. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion. Understand how our online courses are delivered.

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers.

Knowledge Level

Introductory. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge

No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

What is covered in this course?

    • What is a Tree?
    • Tree Biology and Ecology
    •  Introduction to Common Coniferous Trees
    • Introduction to Common Broadleaf Trees

Please note – This is NOT a tree identification course

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Explain how trees fit into the plant kingdom, the key differences between angiosperms and gymnosperms, and the basic structure of a tree.
    • Understand the basics of tree photosynthesis, life cycles, habitats, niches, ecosystem services.
    • Recognise by key characteristics some of the most common conifers in the UK.
    • Recognise by key characteristics some of the most common broadleaf trees in the UK.
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers.

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning about trees with further relevant courses, or branch out into other areas of the plant kingdom. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on 24th August to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – bookings will not be taken after this time.*

* Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

  • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
  • Each individual needs to place their own order to ensure we can sign you up to the learning platform and give you access to resources.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses.

  • Discounted rates
  • Privately run courses for your group
  • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Click here to find out more!

Tutor: Laurie Wildwood

Laurie Wildwood is a professional Ecological Consultant and botany tutor who, with his refreshing approach, aims to inspire adults and children to explore and appreciate the natural world. His professional background is in ecology, conservation and habitat management.

Live Webinar Information

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 4:30 pm (BST):

    • Monday 5th September 2022 at 4:30pm – 5:15pm
    • Monday 12th September 2022 at 4:30pm – 5:15pm
    • Monday 19th September 2022 at 4:30pm – 5:15pm
    • Monday 26th September 2022 at 4:30pm – 5:15pm

Please note - webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the virtual learning platform for learners unable to attend.

Example Timetable


Week 1: What is a tree?
Self-study material available: 29/08/2022
Week 1 Live Webinar: 05/09/2022 at 4:30 pm

Week 2: Tree ecology and biology
Self-study material available: 05/09/2022
Week 2 Live Webinar: 12/09/2022 at 4:30 pm

Week 3: Introducing common coniferous trees
Self-study material available: 12/09/2022
Week 3 Live webinar: 19/09/2022 at 4:30 pm

Week 4: Introducing common broadleaf trees
Self-study material available: 19/09/2022
Week 4 Live webinar: 26/09/2022 at 4:30 pm

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 10/10/2022

Time commitment: This course will require approximately 2 - 3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the Field Studies Council.

The course includes:

    • 45-minute interactive weekly Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants
    • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
    • Activities to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop
    • Tailored course completion certificate

Once registered, you will follow well-illustrated, user-friendly ’books’ to pick up knowledge. Quizzes and skill checks will give you instant feedback on your learning. Forums give students the chance to interact with each other as well as a place to share work.

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Before You Attend

Accessing Your Course

  • Once you sign up you’ll receive an email at least 24 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle.
  • Moodle can be accessed through a browser or an app.
  • Webinars are via Zoom so you won’t need any new software to attend

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

Sorry this course has ended