Guidelines for Divisional Activity Reports
Reports of Divisional visits and other events are an important and valued part of the content of the journal and are only possible due to the voluntary efforts of members in writing them. So whether you are a regular contributor to this section, or writing up a visit for the first time, THANK YOU!
Reports can vary in length from 200 to 600 words. Longer reports will be edited down to an acceptable length at the Editor’s discretion to allow more reports to be published without delay. While every effort will be taken to retain the important points of your report if it has to be reduced in length, contributors will not get the opportunity to see the shorter version before it is published and so are strongly advised to keep to the word limit (If you think a particular woodland warrants additional greater coverage than can be achieved in a report of this length, it may be a good subject for a case study feature article. Please contact the Editor if you wish to discuss this).
Please submit your report in digital format (preferably as a Microsoft Word file with photos as separate jpg files) by sending it by email to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send in notes or drafts of reports. Reports are often edited for publication as soon as they are received so it is important that what comes in is the final version.
Photographs are welcome (see suggestions below) and should be submitted in digital format as separate files – do not embed photos in your Word doc. Jpeg files at 300 dpi resolution or higher are ideal. Please make sure that all photos submitted are accompanied by a suitable caption including any required copyright or other credits.
Photo-reports. It isn’t always possible to submit a full report of a particular meeting or event. An alternative is to send in a single good photo of an interesting feature of the event (see suggestions below) together with a couple of explanatory paragraphs, not forgetting to include the date and place of visit.
Tips on writing the report
- Write you report as soon as you can after the visit while it is fresh in your mind, and send it in as soon as you can. If you leave it for a few months and it misses the next issue, the report may not appear until six months or so after the visit.
- Reports should aim at being a summary of the visit, and not a detailed chronological description of the day’s events. Although it is a good idea to give an overall picture of the day, a ‘stand by stand’ account of a tour around estate plantations rarely makes for a good read, and will make the report far too long. Try to consider why you were shown those particular stands – for example, is your guide illustrating a progression, or comparing and contrasting growing conditions or demonstrating management styles? This will help you capture and convey the ‘message’ of the visit without all the detail. Do not try to include everything.
- What emerged as the theme(s) for the day? Use that as the basis of your report using the things you saw to illustrate the key points that were made, or aspects discussed.
- There are usually one or two aspects of the visit that really interested the members who were there. If it interested people at the time and got them asking questions, it will interest readers of the journal, so don’t be afraid to concentrate on this aspect in your report.
- When describing the estate, forest or woodland visited consider what makes it distinctive in general (e.g. is it terrain, growing conditions, species, management practices, or history?) and try to bring this out in your report. It isn’t necessary to provide details of soil type, rainfall, etc unless they are central to the theme of the visit.
- Remember that many readers, especially those overseas, won’t be familiar with your region, its characteristics or the local personalities. When you first mention a place or a person in your report it very helpful to the reader if you give some very brief indication of where, what or who they are. Here is a good example:
“The meeting… was held at Gwydyr Forest, Llanrwst Forest District, by invitation of Kim Burnham, Forest Enterprise’s forest district manager…Our first stop was at Artist’s Wood, which borders the busy A5 holiday route and which is close to the ‘honeypot’ tourist town of Betws y Coed. This ancient woodland site was planted with Douglas fir in 1921 and now had sizeable mature trees growing on it.”
- Give your report a heading – Division, Place visited and Date – as it appears in the QJF – no need to put date in the text of the report), and always put your name (as author of the report) at the end.
- Please check your facts, especially spellings of named individuals and places, as the journal does not have the resources to check the details of every visit.
As a general rule, readers would much rather see a photo of what the members saw on the visit rather than a photo of a group of members studying something the reader can’t see or listening to a speaker they can’t hear. If you do want to submit a group photo, try to ensure that the backdrop to the group shows something distinctive about the place visited.
Other ideas for photos include:
- a particular landscape feature of the place visited
- an unusual tree or vegetation pointed out by the guide
- evidence of disease or pests causing a problem at the site
- any special structures or environments to encourage or discourage wildlife
- an unusual, historic or experimental forestry practice
- unusual or innovative facilities for visitors or sportsmen
- any presentations that took place at the meeting
And finally, please always provide captions for the photos, especially identifying any speakers or persons involved in presentations.