The Ethical Branch

In the PNW, we bear witness to best management practices (BMP's), and seemingly the worst as well. I feel a tide has changed much with the climate in our industry. It appears more PNW Arborists are well-aligned with our code of ethics and BMP’s, and some may have continued to use “loopholes” to cut corners, or an assimilated professionalism to sustain a career. Whether or not you are one or the other, we must continue to learn and engage each other with “proper practices". It makes our industry stronger and respected among the world community. This may translate into greater opportunities, if desired, or more jobs/fields in which we may guide our success for the planet, or profit, or both. Read More "The Ethical Branch"

ISA Certification Exam Prep Classes Coming to BC This Fall

ISA Certified Arborist logoBurnaby Central School in Burnaby, BC, will hold another series of classes to prepare individuals for the ISA Certified Arborist Exam. The course is designed to prepare park professionals, tree pruners, landscape architects, and gardeners for the exam. Topics include tree identification, plant physiology, pruning, installation, and establishment.

The class will begin on October 9, 2018 and run for ten sessions on Tuesdays from 7 to 9:30 PM and Saturdays from 9 AM to 12 PM. This will prepare students to take the ISA Arborist Certification Exam typically offered around early December in North Vancouver.

Class Requirements

  • Students will need a copy of the ISA Arborists' Certification Study Guide, Third Edition by S.J. Lilly. It is available online at and through Pacific Arborist Supplies (604.929.6133).
  • Three years’ industry experience is required to write the exam.

For more information on the ISA Certifications, visit

Applying for ISA CEUs and Maintaining Certification

PNW-ISA Announces New Online Tool for ISA CEU Approvals

The process to assign Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) for an event starts with your local Chapter, the Pacific Northwest ISA. PNW-ISA uses external reviewers to approve applicable CEUs using the domains of the ISA Certification exam. The CEU code [example, PN-17-000] is then assigned by ISA. In addition to the CEUs assigned specifically for PNW-ISA classes and workshops, nearly 1,200 total CEUs were approved last year for our various partners and allied professions. That equates to almost 200 full-day classes in one year. Read More "Applying for ISA CEUs and Maintaining Certification"

Credentials Communicate Commitment

As I write what is possibly my last Certification Corner as the Certification Director for the PNW Chapter, I find myself struggling to understand motivation between the young, new, arborist and the seasoned, highly skilled arborist. Recognition of the value of the Certified Arborist and/or any of the Certifications or Qualifications offered by the ISA seems to becoming more and more common these days. The credential seems to be more valued by owners, managers, and those coming out of school into the working world. As the Local Manager for the Bartlett Tree Experts in Clackamas, OR, I find it easier to promote the credentials to a young motivated arborist out of college than the seasoned high-skilled arborist who learned the trade through sweat and on-the-job training.

Credentials do not make you a better arborist. It is my opinion that the credential communicates commitment to yourself, the industry, and your employer and/or manager. I spend time trying to motivate very highly skilled and experienced climbers to get credentials with little to no luck sometimes, even when we cover the cost and time for those employees committed to taking the time to study and sit for the exams. Credentials provide more opportunity for those with them than those without. Every credential has a value; this can be monetary, increased opportunity for advancement, and just personal career growth.

To everyone in the field of arboriculture, take the time when given opportunity to get the credentials – it makes you more valuable as an employee.

Sometimes the Opportunities Will be Looking for You

I had an interesting event happen to me that brought my trust in our youth back into an acceptable range. It seems to me that youth of today are clouded about the reality of life after high school. Most are fully supported by their parents financially, emotionally, and educationally, and have no trust of experience in adulthood because they never had to support themselves. Read More "Sometimes the Opportunities Will be Looking for You"

Your Market Value

What is your market value as an employee or a potential employee looking to be hired or working with a professional tree care company?

I recently had a conversation with several of my non-certified production arborists regarding attaining the ISA Certified Arborist Certification. Many are trained “in-house” and others are hired from the outside. All with different skill sets and experience. All of them are motivated to improve and take the opportunity to be moved up from production, whether they were climbers or plant health care technicians looking for new opportunity. Read More "Your Market Value"

Easy CEU Opportunities

Here we go again, another year is coming to an end as we move into the 2016 Holiday season. I recently attended the Liaison Meeting in Chicago in October, as I do every year as part of my duties as the Certification Director for the Chapter. The attendees at this meeting include ISA staff and a representative from every chapter or associate organization. Part of the agenda is discussion and exercise on assigning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to training courses.

Many of us, including me, are getting our ISA renewals in the mail to renew our current certifications, whether it be Board Certified Master Arborist, Municipal Arborist, Utility Arborist, Certified Arborist, Certified Tree Worker, or a combination of several. Each of these certifications needs CEUs in order to renew. Many of us attend ISA or Chapter training seminars throughout the three years between renewals. And, like me, many of us do not monitor our CEUs until the last six months before our certification expires. At that point we have to scramble to find training to meet the CEU requirements before the deadline of December 31st. Read More "Easy CEU Opportunities"

Certification Leads to Growth for Young and Old

Hot August dog days of summer. Landscape and trees are drying out. It seems you cannot water enough. Most professional tree companies are enjoying a nice backlog and the days seem to have fewer hours at the time we need more. Working in arboriculture for what is now over 25 years for me, I have witnessed some amazing growth of many young arborists and watched them develop into some of the top arborists in the PNW if not in the country. Even now, when we recruit young new talent fresh out of college, or even better, interns interested in the industry, I am always amazed at each person’s motivation to excel and invest in our industry. Read More "Certification Leads to Growth for Young and Old"

Changes for Tree Climbing Championships

Summer has begun and the unseasonal high summer temps are early. The last several weeks I have been involved in an email thread regarding the Chapter’s Tree Climbing Championship (TCC) and a Certified Tree Worker Skills test that will be held in Boise, Idaho during the Annual Training Conference (ATC), on Friday, September 16. The ATC committee is working hard putting together the event and the getting the needed volunteers. This includes getting approved CTW evaluators lined up. This thread put into motion a realization that the Chapter and board has lacked commitment and understanding of the time and effort it takes from the amazing volunteers who step forward to put the TCC and CTW events together. The Regional TCCs in Seattle and Portland have the same issues. Read More "Changes for Tree Climbing Championships"

The Value of ISA Certification and Membership

As Mother Nature pushes out another winter season, we all get a little teased with some mild sunny days giving us a taste of the spring to come. Temperatures are in the 60s, flowering plums are almost in bloom, and the witch hazels are just finished up, yet I know there are weeks of rain still on their way to bring us all back to reality.

It’s been a while since I have discussed the value of ISA Certification and Membership. As an Arborist Representative for Bartlett Tree Experts, I get to interact with and promote my profession to many people – from clients, employees, and peers to random people – on a daily basis. As a professional, I have a true passion for my profession. I continually look for opportunity to support, learn, improve, and educate myself and others I interact with on the benefits and care of trees.

Read More "The Value of ISA Certification and Membership"