Outlook - Spring 2018 Growing together

By Rose Epperson on Sunday, April 1, 2018

If you haven’t visited WCISA’s redesigned website. I recommend you do so. It’s brand new and man is it beautiful! Talk about a match made in heaven – it’s the perfect combination of form and function. It’s really important to shake things up from time to time and embrace new ways to serve our online community. Our previous website, updated 7 years ago, was a little dowdy and a bit dated. We had just outgrown it. So the timing to make sweeping changes was right. Seven years ago, we thought the website was ‘state of the art,’ but with time, the menus got congested with new links and additional information needed to meet growing demand. There is an expectation to do things in the most efficient way, people also want a more professional and contemporary look.

Using the latest technology has improved our website’s interface and user experience. We’ve also added a ‘shopping cart’ where members can register for meetings, renew their membership, order books or other sale items, all in one transaction. I’d like to thank Chris Crippen for the countless hours he worked on the system, as well as the board of directors for their input and support. As with any big change, there may be a few ‘hiccups’ along the way. But we’re confident that we can solve any issue quickly and that the members will be impressed with how much easier it is to navigate the site and find what they’re looking for. We have a dedicated help line set up to respond quickly to questions and concerns – just a click away (help@wcisa.net). Thank you for your patience and please let us know what you think of the newly designed site.

Activity throughout the Chapter has increased significantly this year. In Hawaii, there were a number of events and activities in February. TCIA held it’s Winter Management Conference there, the 2nd annual Hawaii Tree Jamboree in Memory of Greg Severino was held on Maui. Mark Chisholm, who was conducting climbing workshops on some of the other Hawaiian islands, lent a hand with the Jamboree set up and judging – what a great experience for the local climbers. On the mainland, our partners in Nevada and Arizona were involved with providing Certification Exam preparation classes to local arborists, interested in becoming certified. Such programs promote improved tree care and professional standards within the local industry and throughout the chapter.

Here in California, we’re getting excited about holding our 84th Annual Conference in Santa Rosa this April. The theme of “Old Growth – New Growth: Bridging the Gap” is also threaded through the chapter activities this year. Merriam Webster defines, ‘Bridging the Gap’ as: “having qualities of two different groups or things”. More literally it means to function as a bridge, connecting two points, ideas, or things. The chapter’s activities reflect this definition in its new website, and its educational programming, for example the TRAQ Certification Classes and the TRAQ Renewal workshops. Thus, we help connect members with the information they need to be successful.

The conference is loaded with great programing. We start with a ‘restorative’ tree planting event, in partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation and the California Urban Forests Council, on Saturday, April 21, to help vegetate Fountaingrove in northeast Santa Rosa, the area hardest hit by the recent wildfires last fall.  From there – we kick off Monday with three great events connecting at Galvin Park – the 11th Annual Britton Fund Ride gives riders three options this year. Their first stop is at the park for a ceremonial tree planting event. Novice riders can loop back to the hotel after a visit at the Luther Burbank School, while ‘veteran’ riders will tour the beautiful Sonoma countryside with either a 30 or 60 mile route. Our TREE Fund golf outing will take place at Bennett Golf Course also at Galvin Park. Past President Robert Phillips took advantage of the venue and has planned a full-day preconference field workshop, featuring Jared Abrojena and Chad Brey. This is a must-attend event for tree care crews. Our Keynote and nationally acclaimed Speaker, Lynda Mapes, author of “Witness Tree” comes highly recommended by Judy Shigo of Shigo and Trees. The entire three-day program is filled with some of the most notable specialists in their field – the best in business, science, utility forestry, and pest management. We’ll wrap up with a field tour to Santa Rosa Junior College for an in depth look at strategies for mature and aging trees, assessing problems of urban soils , and  a demonstration of the potential uses for drones in arboriculture. So much great information. Conferences like this do so much to disseminate the science –based information that sustains and elevate professionalism within the arboricultural community. Our program committee; Bruce Hagen, Larry Costello, and Denice Britton have really outdone themselves this year.

Our volunteer coordinators have been working to increase opportunities for volunteers and to encourage members to get involved. The expectation is that some of the volunteers will want to take on greater responsibility and perhaps chair one of the various Chapter committees or run for a Board position. We can always use more volunteers. There are many opportunities for involvement, such as serving on a committee or volunteering to help at local events. Perhaps volunteering for the CIRCLE Grant plantings and ArborDay celebrations are of interest to you. Our friends at California Urban Forests Council will be planting over 1400 trees throughout California this spring, and they could use your help and expertise. Learn more about the opportunities to get involved at www.caufc.org. The Britton Fund will be returning to Fairyland in Oakland this fall for another Workday event. If that is more your ‘cup of tea’, keep your eye out for more information.

I’ve been busy volunteering as well! Yes, even Executive Directors volunteer for the same reasons. I’ve served on the board of California ReLeaf since 2009. It started out as an interesting and fun opportunity that allowed me to meet people outside of my profession to get involved at the state level. However, my involvement has turned out to be a period of incredible growth for me. The ReLeaf Board, comprised of professionals from many different sectors: public health, the nursery industry, and the business and nonprofit communities, met at Boethling TreeLand last month. Boething Executive and California ReLeaf president, Haydi Danielson, hosted the group at their Palo Alto farm. It was a productive meeting and a remarkable day surrounded by beautiful plant material. Each board member has a unique perspective regarding the strategic plan and direction of the organization. I also found the staff to be delightful, accommodating and professional. ReLeaf is quite active in legislation, and I have learned so much from Chuck Mills about policy and funding – subjects that were completely foreign to me eight years ago. My involvement with ReLeaf  has been very rewarding, but it’s time for me step down and move on. My term ends this August – I have mixed feelings but I know I can (and will) be calling on this group of professionals for their insights or to catch up or reminisce. To find out more about California Releaf – visit their website at www.californiareleaf.org

I guess what I am trying to say is to get involved in something that interests you or you feel passionate about. The opportunities are endless. The experience will foster personal and professional growth, provide new insights, useful information, connections, and some lasting friendships. Together we grow – together we succeed. If you would like to find out more about volunteering with the chapter, please drop me a line at repperson@wcisa.net – I’d love to connect.

See you in Santa Rosa,