Outlook Fall 2022

By Rose Epperson on Saturday, October 1, 2022

Through the years I have celebrated our summer programming trave­logue style. The sum­mer of ‘22 was definitely tree-filled.

When things started heating up outside, we got together on­line for Kathy Wolf’s “Connect­ing the Dots” webinar. Kathy has such a wonderful way of connect­ing trees, nature, and our own well-being. The core of Dr. Wolf’s work is the intersection of human health and nature. She strongly emphasized the relationship be­tween the quality of life and the concept of nearby nature. She and her colleagues describe how trees promote general wellness. Nature is a remarkable antidote to attention fatigue and there are elements of our surroundings that can promote recovery in a fairly short period of time. Dr. Wolf introduced the concept of “nearby nature – outside experi­ences in our own surroundings is what urban forestry, manage­ment, and policy pursues.” I’ve known Kathy for years and never tire of the fascinating work she does. It was wonderful to spend that hour with her.

Speaking of our Wednes­day Webinars, we finally found a home for our past webinars. WCISA Events Coordinator, Ryan Pendleton, has been editing and preparing them for replay. Many are now available for view­ing on our Tradewing platform. Murphy’s Law kicked in with Dr. Wolf’s program. Zoom cut off the recording after one hour. We are lucky that Auburn Extension had Dr. Wolf do the same session for them last month and they have allowed me to share their record­ing. If you’re interested, drop me an email and I’m happy to share it with you. Check out the events listing on page 12 for a full list of other re­corded webinars available in our Tradewing com­munity. We are constantly adding to the library – check back often and let us know if there’s something you would like to see posted there.

We spent Fa­ther’s Day week­end in Balboa Park with friends that have become fam­ily - our “tree fam­ily.” I know I’ve shared the story so many times over the years of meeting my husband Al when we were both volun­teers for the tree jamboree back in the 80s. Thirty plus years later, the tree climbing championship remains an event that we rarely miss. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it was incredible to be back together again. We had a full docket of competitors, tons of volunteers, and several die­hard commercial exhibitors. The backdrop of the infamous Balboa Park was the icing on the cake! Outgoing TCC chairman, Phil Ruiz, captured the spirit of the event perfectly in his article on page 30. Our 2022 champions Ja­son Claassen and Kate Miller will represent the Western Chapter at the International competition this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. What an amazing opportunity. I look forward to working with Jared and Kati Abrojena as Jared takes on his new role as the chair of this event. I’ve known these two since they were teenagers, and it is incredible to watch them grow and develop the same pas­sion that Al and I have for trees and the people who care for them.

The tree tribe gathered again at the California State Fair. Tim­my Womick and the TreeCircus were back in action this year and we were there to support them along the way. Timmy, alongside Chad Brey and Grayson Keating, pulled eighteen days straight of pure tree passion. They did four shows a day with multiple climb­ing opportunities for kids of all ages. The exhibit is funded by our USFS education grant support­ed by CalFire. The stage was de­signed and built by Andy Trotter and West Coast Arborists. This year we had over 546 “future ar­borists” ascend the ropes. I’m grateful for all the volunteer ar­borists who came out and shared their passion for trees with state fair visitors. Huge props to our core “tree team” for their commit­ment to the exhibit.

As the summer got even hot­ter, our August webinar featured CalFire’s Henry Herrera. Henry provided a great webinar ses­sion on our changing climate and how trees and forests are affect­ed by these changes including the increase in wildfires and fires burning with more intensity and hotter. Henry touched on the Fire – Flood Cycle: after a fire occurs, there is little or no vegetation pro­tecting the soil. The soil becomes hydrophobic (water repellent) so the water can’t percolate into the soil – and instead creates flood­ing. Henry is currently serving on our Spanish Arborist Committee. He was asked to weave in com­mon translations throughout the session. It added another level of education for attendees and was well received. That same week, our island members were treat­ed to a whirlwind 4 island vis­it by Dr. John Ball. Later in the month, Fred Frey gathered a team of Northern California arborists in Santa Rosa for a fantastic day of learning at Doyle Park. It was a tribute to friend and longtime member Kevin Keilty who passed away earlier this year. The climb­ing workshop was well attended and offered another opportunity to share knowledge and build con­fidence in young climbers. We are so thankful for all the volunteers that came out and worked with the attendees developing their skills.

Over the summer, Member­ship Coordinator Rita Franco, along with teammates Heather Crippen and Christi Ruiz, facilitat­ed seven TRAQ courses through­out the state. Between them, they chalked up over 4000 miles up and down I-5 and I-99 and across the state. The efforts paid off as we welcomed 123 new qualified tree risk assessors into the program this summer alone. The Chapter is fortunate to work with an amazing cadre of TRAQ instructors. Kevin Eckert, Lisa Smith, James Komen, and Jim Flott had a busy summer.

With the summer heat waning and fall moving in, we begin planning for our 89th Annual Conference. We will be returning to what would’ve been the side of our 2020 conference: Olympic Village outside Lake Tahoe for “Digging in: An Exploration of Arboricul­ture.” The call for presentations is currently open and we are hoping you will all join us as we continue to bring the best programming to the membership. I want to thank Conference Chair Molly Sinnott and the Program Committee (Zeno Acton, Ethan Clicker, Wendy Hanson, and Igor Lacan, Ph.D.) as well as my team at Epicenter who have already begun to work on the event. It’s going to be a good one.

As we enter what’s considered the “season of grat­itude,” it’s the perfect time to recognize our colleagues for the good work that they do. Western Chapter ISA Awards Committee will be accepting nominations through December 31st. If you would like to highlight a project or person, jump on the website and follow the link to our online submittal page.

As I reflect on the summer programming and activities, I can’t help but acknowledge the common threads that were woven through it. It’s all about col­laboration, learning and working and growing togeth­er. In the words of Timmy Womick “What do trees give us?” FRIENDS (and countless other benefits)!

Cheers to Trees!

Rose Epperson