Outlook Fall 2020

By Rose Epperson on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Outlook: Celebrating our Strength

I do not think I need to ask anyone how they spent their summer vacation. Most of us spent it close to home digging into our gardens, our pantries and maybe cracking a book or two. I think the biggest thing for me during this challenging time is recognizing how strong our membership really is. As essential service providers, we have been able to continue working and providing our employees and suppliers the same opportunity. I’ve been so impressed by our committee chairs who have started their meetings by checking in with the group on how everyone is doing. I think it’s really important that we rally together, and I know that will get through to the other side.

As a chapter, we kicked off the summer with a virtual version of our Annual Business Meeting - many of our committee reports were included in your summer magazine. The online business meeting gave our committee chairs and officers an opportunity to interact with the membership (even if it was in a one-way interaction). We had the opportunity to hear from our financial advisor, Francine Liu from Gerber Kawasaki, on how our investments have been performing over the last year. Francine reported that at the end of Q2 in 2020, our portfolio was at $278,878 a gain of $10,384 over FY 19/20. We installed our officers for the coming year and welcomed Jodi Carlson from the city of Sacramento as our newest board member. We got a little creative in our virtual passing of the gavel which was really fun (if I had only known I needed to click the checkbox to share my sound). I admit I continue to learn more about this new virtual reality every day.

We also celebrated our annual awards recipients for 2019. I’d like to thank past president Carol Kwan and awards chair Rebecca Senior for a great program once again this year. Special mention is deserved for our Award of Merit recipient Rick Cober. Rick was a very involved and passionate arborist from Arizona who lost his battle to cancer earlier this year. Rick spent most of his career engaging with others, not only increasing his own knowledge, but mentoring so many other Arizona arborists. It was also great to see Tim Womick recognized as an Honorary Life Member for his work in the chapter introducing children of all ages to the gifts of trees. Please make sure to visit the collages in the centerfold of this issue to read about all our award recipients. The event was capped off with a fantastic keynote presentation by Nelda Matheny and Dr Jim Clark. Nelda and Jim shared the Top 10 lessons they have learned throughout their careers in Arboriculture. I recapped their Top 10 in the side bar. So much great stuff there!

I’ve been pretty impressed with the resilience of our membership over the summer, too. We took our in-person programming and shifted it to the virtual world and your response was overwhelmingly positive. Our First Wednesday Webinar Series has served over 2800 attendees. We have also taken some of our traditional programming online. Ryan Gilpin and the rest of the Tree Care for Birds Committee held a fantastic multi segmented training as part of our USFS grant. Over 190 arborists participated in the three-week program that focused on regional wildlife issues and concerns. We moved forward with our TCIA ATSI grant funded Electrical Hazard Awareness Program (in Spanish). Attendees had been waiting since the spring for the workshop. It was a great experiment and our gratitude goes out to instructor Noe Cardenas for working with us on taking the program online.

There are so many great programs available online at little or no cost. I started listening to the TCIA podcast right when they came out. They are interesting and timely as well as a way to hear what other arborists are doing. Just recently our own Tracey Takeuchi was showcased for her work as an educator with Cal Poly Pomona and the challenges that the program has been faced with during the pandemic. I really liked what Tracey had to say about getting involved in careers in our industry. Cal Poly Pomona recently received a Stihl Gear Up grant through TCIA, through which college programs are outfitted with the latest safety gear and equipment. I know Tracey is anxious to get back to face-to-face education, but she sure is making a difference in the new virtual classroom as well.

I’d like to thank my whole team at Epicenter for remaining agile and flexible during these challenging times. We are all learning so much about programming and contingency plans and yet we still have a lot to learn. We remain committed to your professional growth and general well-being and will keep our ears and eyes open for additional opportunities to learn and grow.

As we were in production for this issue of the Western Arborist magazine, the Western Chapter leadership made the tough decision to move the 86th Annual Conference and Trade Show to the virtual space. We will return in person to the beautiful Olympic Valley in May of 2023. We will still be offering over 15 hours of continuing education this fall, with interactive networking and marketplace opportunities. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring our members the best educational opportunity possible while safeguarding their health and wellbeing.  We hope you will join us online!

Stay Safe,



”Science up…learn what you need to learn about plants and trees, don’t have “plant blindness”…and move forward into your future knowing that this is functional viable vibrant industry to work in as a career” WCISA Board Member and Award Recipient, Tracey Takeuchi, during her TCIA podcast August 31, 2020