Board Spotlight: Anna Heckman, Secretary

I took my arborist exam in 2006 at the Redmond Annual Training Conference. I was a student at the UW, a new mom, and working for one of our well-known consultants whose first of many important lessons for me was to “get involved, I would never regret it.” I volunteered for the Redmond ATC that same weekend and I do not regret it one bit.

Currently, I serve as an unorganized mediocre Secretary for the Board. It was a position that needed filling, so I raised my hand to help out. I am also coordinating the Field Day for the ATC in Lynnwood this fall. In the past I have volunteered for the ATC and the International conference.

I was fortunate enough to go to school and focus my studies in forest ecology. After working as a seasonal for the Forest Service and a field research scientist for the University of Washington, I went back to school for a master’s degree in urban horticulture. For nearly 10 years now I have worked government positions as a vegetation manager and restoration ecologist. In every department I worked I was the only certified arborist on staff and my skill set was well used.

Now I work for the City of Everett Parks and Rec department as their Urban Forester. This position was a new position to the city so the process has started from the beginning. I teach colleagues and citizens the importance of trees as green infrastructure. I work with teams on development and management plans, and tree policy updates. I manage a great – also new to the city – arborist crew who not only work in the trees, they are becoming experts in noxious weed management, slope stabilization, and habitat restoration techniques. We partner with Forterra and community volunteers in the Green Everett Partnership to improve the health of our forest parcels. We partner with WA State DNR for Tree City USA grants including WCC crew assistance for projects and a partial funding of our new landscape tree inventory. None of the work I do is ground-breaking in our region, but it is for our city, which makes it a great challenge with many rewards.

I live in Edmonds, WA. I am involved in the habitat restoration community as a board member and volunteer for a nonprofit organization – Sound Salmon Solutions. I enjoy bike touring and trekking through alpine environments, knitting, baking, and making soap. My spouse of nearly 20 years and my early teenage boy keep me busy and have introduced me to new loves as they follow their hearts and passions as well. Baseball, saltwater fishing, and jazz clubs/concerts are some of the new life adventures I may never have known or appreciated if it were not for family.

Just through the last decade I have seen change in ISA volunteers and management from folks who I consider my mentors to those who are my colleagues. Now there are generations below me just starting out in the industry. In my head I am still that 20-something college student eager to learn more and I often forget that the experiences and knowledge I have gained are worth sharing with others in the industry.

In order to keep this organization running in the quality manner I have perceived it to be in the past, in order to attract a diverse group of tree industry professionals, and to keep our region top notch when it comes to innovation, safety, and research, I do know that I am one of many individuals who need to step in to help steer the PNW-ISA into the future. It will not happen by itself and no single individual is perfect in all skill sets to make it happen on their own. Though Secretary is probably not the best fit for my insanely disorganized clerical skills, I do want to stay involved with the Board and help where my skills can be of the best use. Just this year I have expanded my network of awesome tree people. I look forward to meeting more in September at the ATC.

Article By:

Anna Heckman
Learn more about Anna Heckman.