Woodland Trust

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Urban audience understanding and review

Earlier this year, Public Knowledge conducted a holistic study on behalf of the Woodland Trust to enable them to better understand urban audiences connections to trees and woodland and their warmth to getting involved and supporting the Woodland Trust and their core aims.

This project involved a large scale face-to-face survey of residents in 8 urban locations, selected by the Woodland Trust to cover a spread of location type, geographical reach and levels of current engagement with trees. An online survey was also conducted to top up this sample and reach those residents on the periphery of the locations selected too. Focus groups were conducted in each of the urban locations to add qualitative depth uncovering residents perceptions of their areas regarding green space, what is accessed, what level of involvement was felt appropriate and motivations to get involved to inform messaging development.

Analysis from the quantitative research uncovered key audience groups within urban spaces who were passionate about nature and woodland and likely to support the charity either through action or donation. Through insights into what inspires and resonates with these groups, the Woodland Trust are able to develop suitable messaging and campaigns that speak to those in urban environments, through the channels which best reach them.

Alongside this audience research we also conducted desk research and depth interviews into best practice in the sector on the topics of the recruitment of volunteers and working in urban areas. Depth interviews were held with charities and NGOs working in the trees and woodland space. This was coupled with insights from depth interviews with representatives of local authorites to understand where the cause sat within their priorities and how best to work in partnership to achieve Woodland Trust's core aims.

A benchmarking survey developed as an output of the research will allow the Woodland Trust to continue this study and monitor any change in urban areas against individual’s connection and awareness of trees, woodland and nature.

For more information please email Sophie Brannigan here.


“Public Knowledge were commissioned by the Woodland Trust to identify the current level of use and connection with urban woods and trees and how to grow this connection. They worked with us superbly to meet our needs and were quick to respond to any queries or requests throughout the process. Their passion for the findings was evident throughout and the outputs were of a quality that allowed us to start using some of their findings straight away to help inform our street trees project.”

Emma Holman, Programme Lead - Urban, Woodland Trust