Outlook - Fall 2023

By Rose Epperson on Saturday, September 30, 2023

Outlook Fall 2023 – Shady Days of Summer!

They say time flies when you are having fun and oh boy is it ever flying by! This summer was jam packed with noteworthy programing and activities. We dove into summer with our Annual Tree Climbing Championship held under the massive oak canopy of UC Davis’s Shield Oak Grove. It was a sweltering weekend but beneath the trees, climbers and spectators were treated to one of the many benefits that trees give us -- shade, shade, shade!

A total of 35 climbers participated in the event, showcasing their skills and expertise in tree climbing. We are incredibly proud of our industry athletes who demonstrated their agility, strength, and precision throughout the championship. These climbers are true professionals in their field and their commitment to their craft was evident throughout the event. Final scores and a collection of photos from the weekend can be found on page 30 of the Fall issue of Western Arborist. Congratulations to Lawrence Schultz and Kate Miller who went on to represent the chapter in Albuquerque at the International competition.

My heartfelt thanks to the dedicated volunteers and sponsors who made the WCTCC possible. Our sponsors really came through, not only with funding for prizes but coming out and sharing their time and commitment to our industry for the weekend. WCTCC Chair Jared Abrojena collected a wonderful cadre of judges and techs. A special shout-out to our host Tyler Kern from UC Davis for providing the backdrop for the event – it was spectacular.

The summer fun continued at the California State Fair with the TreeCircus’s What Trees Give Us stage show and climbing experience. This exhibit aims to educate children and adults about the importance of trees and the various benefits they provide us. Children had the opportunity to participate in a hands-on climbing experience, where they were able to climb specially designed “trees” (scaffolding and ropes) under the guidance of professionals. This allowed them to experience the thrill and excitement of tree climbing while also learning about the importance of proper climbing techniques and safety measures.

Throughout the exhibit, there were various interactive displays and demonstrations that showcased the many ways in which trees contribute to our lives. Attendees learned about the environmental benefits of trees, such as their ability to clean the air, provide shade, and reduce erosion. They also discovered the economic and social benefits of trees, including their role in providing timber, creating jobs, and enhancing the beauty of our surroundings. Arborists were on hand to answer questions at the “Ask the Arborist” area.

The TreeCircus team has been entertaining and educating fairgoers for more than a decade. In fact, Sarah Santee, one of our female competitors in the TCC this year, was bit by the climbing bug at the State Fair back in 2010. Sarah and her brothers volunteered with Timmy and crew through the years and now Sarah is a Foreperson with West Coast Arborists, Inc. in Sacramento – tree dreams do come true.

Meanwhile, in Southern California, our Spanish Committee hosted Congreso Regional de Arboristas 2023: Biologia del arbol: Principios y practicas. Over 50 attendees spent the day at Cal Poly Pomona’s Agriscapes discussing how tree biology, biomechanics and structure affect the health and wellbeing of trees with Professor Adolfo Sanchez from Guadalajara. UCCE Beatriz Nobua Behrman presented information on prevention and treatment of disease as well as identifying pests that feed on trees. Henry Herrera discussed the effect of beetles on tress health and how this can increase the risk of fire. WCISA member Christian Garcia Arcos provided great information on why tree worker safety is important for tree health and vigor. It was an amazing day of sharing experience and gaining knowledge. I’m so proud of the committee for bringing this workshop to the membership. Can’t wait to see what they do next!

Fast forward to the 2023 ISA conference in Albuquerque, which was originally planned for 2020 but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. It was truly a memorable experience that exceeded my expectations in every way. The programming was informative and engaging, the networking opportunities were invaluable, and the city itself provided a beautiful backdrop for the conference. It was a week filled with learning, collaboration, and inspiration, and I left feeling energized and motivated to continue my work in arboriculture.

The conference kicked off with a keynote presentation by Florence Williams, author of "The Nature Fix." Her talk was inspiring and thought-provoking, as she discussed the importance of nature in our lives and the benefits it provides to our mental and physical well-being. It set the tone for the rest of the conference, which had a theme of reconnecting with nature as well as each other and finding ways to incorporate the concepts learned into our urban environments woven through the programming.

Throughout the week, there were numerous educational sessions covering a wide range of topics related to arboriculture and urban forestry. From tree planting techniques to tree risk assessment, there was something for everyone. The sessions were led by experts in their respective fields, and it was a great opportunity to learn from the best in the industry.

One session that stood out for me was the “Trees and Construction Best Management Practices” with Nelda Matheny, Ryan Gilpin, and Richard Hauer. It was highly informative and engaging – not to mention, packed! They provided practical tips and real-life examples to illustrate their points. The speakers emphasized the need for strategic planning, collaboration, and innovative techniques. Attendees gained valuable insights and practical knowledge that they could apply in their own work, leaving them inspired to make a positive impact in their communities.

Luana Vargas led a session around the re-branding of the certified tree worker credential (see her article on page 46). The new branding aimed to enhance the recognition and value of the credential, attracting more professionals to pursue this credential, and showcasing the expertise and skills of certified tree workers.

I also enjoyed the Women in Arboriculture session led by Dana Karcher. It was an empowering and inspiring event. The session focused on the experiences and challenges faced by women in the field of arboriculture and highlighted the contributions they make to the industry. Attendees had the opportunity to share their stories, network, and discuss strategies for promoting gender diversity and equality in arboriculture. The session served as a platform for women to connect, support each other, and celebrate their achievements, all of which fosters a sense of community and empowerment within the arboriculture profession.

In addition to the educational sessions, the conference also offered field trips to local parks and green spaces. These excursions allowed attendees to see firsthand the innovative approaches that Albuquerque has taken in integrating trees and nature into its urban landscape. It was inspiring to witness the positive impact that these initiatives have had on the community and served as a reminder of the importance of our work as arborists. I visited the ABQ BioPark as part of the Society of Commercial Arboriculture Field Day on Wednesday. We were treated to a “behind the scenes” tree walk with Maria Thomas (plant curator) and Matthew Peterson (Botanic Garden and Heritage Farm manager). We meandered through the incredible plant collections learning the nuances of maintaining a public space garden (Albuquerque BioPark is owned by the city) we saw Chinese pistache, Siberian elms, Arizona sycamore, sephora (good in right place), a remarkable Vitex collection with 25 years of structural pruning, and even a very mature (think grandmother stock) crab apple and most of the 31 species of oaks in the gardens. It was a fascinating day and perfect capstone to a great week.

One of the highlights of the conference has always been the chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. We had a great turnout for our Membership Mixer on Tuesday night at the Doubletree. Members in attendance at the conference had the opportunity to meet Chapter President Kevin Eckert and raise a glass for trees! The arboriculture community is a tight-knit group, and it was wonderful to see familiar faces and catch up on each other's lives. Props to our members from Arizona, they showed up with bells on! The various networking events and social gatherings provided the perfect opportunity to forge new connections and exchange ideas with fellow arborists from around the world.

As I reflect on my experience at the conference, I am reminded of the words of Florence Williams during her keynote speech. She said, "Nature is not a luxury, but a necessity for our well-being." This sentiment resonated with me throughout the conference and serves as a reminder of the importance of our work as arborists. We have the power to create greener, healthier, and more sustainable communities, and events like the ISA conference provide the platform to share knowledge, collaborate, and inspire one another to make a difference.

Get ready for an exciting fall season of programming that will delve into the fascinating world of pests and soils! We have lined up multiple workshops that will provide you with valuable insights and knowledge on these important topics.

Our pest workshops (there are several planned) will explore issues that can affect trees and plants, from insects to diseases. You'll learn how to identify common pests, understand their life cycles, and implement effective management strategies. Whether you're an arborist, landscaper, or simply a tree enthusiast, these workshops will equip you with the tools to protect and preserve the health of your trees and plants. But that's not all! Our soil workshop will take you beneath the surface to discover the intricate world of soils. You'll gain a deeper understanding of soil composition, structure, and fertility, and how these factors impact plant health. Learn about soil testing, amendments, and best practices for soil management to ensure optimal growth and vitality for your trees and plants. These workshops are designed to be interactive and engaging, with hands-on activities and opportunities for discussion and collaboration. You'll have the chance to learn from industry experts, ask questions, and share your own experiences with fellow participants.

So, mark your calendars, spread the word, and get ready to dive into the world of pests and soils with our exciting fall workshops. Together, let's cultivate a greener and healthier environment for our trees and plants!

Cheers to trees,