Outlook Summer 2019 - Mahalo Nui Loa

By Rose Epperson on Monday, July 1, 2019


Another conference under our belt. I know I say it every year, but this year I was especially impressed by the program, the conference committee, my staff, and the many local volunteers. Some said we couldn’t pull it off, but we did, and the conference was outstanding.

The program committee consisting of Dorothy Abeyta, and Steve Connolly, and assisted by Delia Juncal (Epicenter), developed an amazing program with an impressive slate of speakers. Our keynote speaker, Cecil Konijnendijk set the tone, and Christian Giardiani, our ‘closer’, wrapped things up nicely. In general, the presentations were well crafted, the subjects timely, relevant, and compelling. It was a good mix of science and practical application. They wove together a tapestry of valuable information for working in western landscapes.

Our local committee outdid themselves. They transformed the main auditorium space into a lush Hawaiian forest. Over 250 decorative plants were used to transform the stages and surrounding areas. It was spectacular. It took a lot of effort to set everything up and then to take it all down three days later. I know Carol Kwan (President) and Corey Bassett (conference chair) were very pleased with the results. The entire committee deserves kudos for their parts in the conference. I also want to recognize Angela Liu, Ben Lee, Randy Liu, and Maureen Murphy for providing the unique Aloha spirit throughout the event.

When looking for a conference site back in 2016, we identified several potential hotels, and after careful consideration, we settled on the Sheraton Waikiki, the site of the 2007 ISA conference. We were a bit nervous because the room rates were so high, even with a hefty discount. In hindsight, we couldn’t have chosen a better location. For us, the hotel was a perfect fit. The Sheraton staff was so accommodating and helpful the entire week. They made sure we had everything we needed. Even the food—the ‘local grinds’, as they call it in Hawaii, was particularly good.

Our awards ceremony to recognize chapter members for their service, contributions to the chapter, or their accomplishments was nicely done. For a list of the awardees for 2018/19, see pages 24-25. Awards chair, Rebecca Senior, from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension did a great job of organizing and presenting a slate of deserving candidates to the board for approval. Past president Rick Gessner presented the awards and offered remarks about each of the recipients during the ceremony.

This year we added a new category —Young Professional. This award recognizes an individual who has been an ISA credential holder for less than ten years. This award recognizes outstanding efforts that advance the principles of the WCISA. Four candidates were nominees but ultimately the Board selected Corey Bassett. To paraphrase what Kevin Eckert, Chapter Board member, listed in his nomination:  “Corey has taken on big challenges when she recently stepped into Hawaii’s Urban & Community Forestry Program as a program manager. She had been working as a consulting arborist, and is known for promoting arboricultural standards, best management practices, and high ethical standards. She serves as a role model for arborists her age, and is a great ambassador for our industry. She clearly demonstrates that women in our profession can succeed in whatever  career choices they pursue. I’ve known Corey for several years and worked with her prior to her new role. I echo Kevin’s confidence and admiration. Corey worked on several community grant programs while in California, and is part of the Tree Care for Birds and Wildlife standards group, and even volunteered to chair the conference on Oahu. She’s ambitious, talented and accomplished —a true professional. Corey is planning to start working on a Master’s degree in British Columbia this fall. You can read all about the awardees this year by keeping an eye on our social media outlets. We are excited to share their work with chapter members and others in the coming months.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize my Epicenter team for the outstanding job they did managing registration, solving problems, dealing with the endless tasks of running a conference, and keeping things running smoothly. They jumped right in and became familiar with the conference facilities and hotel staff, and worked closely with the local committee. As you might guess, it’s a formidable task to run a conference of this size and complexity. There were so many things going on at any one time.—kind of like juggling. From what I saw, things went as planned. It was all pretty seamless.

Our president Carol Kwan will be stepping down as the close of the 2018/19 fiscal year. Carol has served the chapter membership with distinction, dedication, and great skill–while doing her utmost to ensure that arborists in the Hawaiian Islands were better served. Her column: Hawaii Happenings also helped to raise awareness about arborists, arboriculture, and arboricultural issues there. As past president she will be involved with our nominations and governance in the coming year. If you ever wonder what it’s like to become involved in the chapter governance, reach out to Carol: carol@carolkwanconsulting.com. She has a great story to share.

I’m looking forward to working with Molly Sinnott who will become the chapter’s new president. We will turn our attention back to our educational programming that is so important for professional development of our members. We have some special training opportunities coming up, for example:  workshops on crane operation, understanding soils, and the 4th Women’s Climbing Weekend. We’ll wrap up the summer with another climbing workshop in Santa Rosa. Fred Frey has been a driving force behind this outstanding training program for the local climbing community. Kevin Kielty  will be providing and grilling the meat for the BBQ lunch for the attendees, as he did last year. The chapter is really built on volunteering and collaboration– if you want to host or get involved in the educational programming, let me know: repperson@wcisa.net.

There is a growing number of credentials for a range of arboricultural specialties. The program is intended to advance the credential holder’s career opportunities by attesting to their knowledge, skills, or competencies with respect to the specific credential. ISA’s unexpected move this winter, has resulted in some delays in qualification or re-qualification courses. We have been working with the ISA staff to keep the process for courses and/or continuing education moving forward. We’re doing our best to make sure the June renewal period goes smoothly by helping the new ISA team with the program. Furthermore, we are planning on launching ASCA’s Tree and Plant Appraisal Qualification courses later this summer in California and hope to bring them to the other states in the coming months. Keep an eye on the website and email reminders for the latest offerings. If you are not receiving our communiques, let us know so we can help you “opt in” to this great information stream.

Here at home, I am looking forward to a great summer. The lake is full and the snow pack still deep. Things are looking good! We are headed to the California State Fair with the TreeCircus to continue the Green Dream Climbing Experience. We’re excited to be back in the California building at the fairgrounds this year. If you are interested in helping us in the climbing ring or at the ‘Ask the Arborist’ table, email Suzanne@wcisa.net   I look forward to catching up in Knoxville during the ISA international conference August 11-14 or at one of our local events. If you need assistance, my team and I are available—don’t hesitate to reach out

Cheers to Trees!