What is your background in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry?
I completed a Bachelors of Science in Forestry and Environmental Management from the University of New Brunswick in 1998. I had thought my career would start in a logging community somewhere in Northern BC, however my first professional opportunity started in utility vegetation management (UVM). I worked for 3 years with various tree inspection projects along the rights-of-way in California for Pacific Gas and Electric. From this earliest experience, I migrated north to Washington and continued working in UVM for Puget Sound Energy. As a consultant, my work increasingly involved consulting on urban forestry issues with municipalities and private property managers. In 2009, I attended the Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI) and have since engaged in a decade of urban forestry projects including tree inventories, urban forest management plans and urban forest inventories. Read More "Board Profile: Ian Scott, Secretary"
Most current members in our region are likely unaware that before there was a Certified Arborist exam sponsored by the International ISA, the PNW chapter had its own CA (Certified Arborist) test. In the late 1980’s, the Western chapter had developed an immediately successful certification exam for its region. Some of our chapter founders promoted making arborist certification available to PNW members. Around this same time, Susan Murray, a chapter member and college horticulture instructor from the Vancouver, BC area wrote an arborist certification as part of her Master’s thesis.
In 1990 or early 1991, a small committee of chapter members from BC, Washington and Oregon, began to meet to go through Susan’s exam, question by question, and make it ready for PNW members to take. This process took several months, and I believe we had the exam ready to present at the ATC in the fall of 1991. Not to be outdone by the upstarts from the West Coast, within 12-18 months, the International ISA had its own exam ready to deliver, and it replaced all individual chapter tests. All those who had passed the PNW exam had their CA status recognized by the International. Certification fueled the rapid growth of the PNW chapter and the whole ISA, and helped turn even spur climbing toppers into real arborists all around the world!
There are so many reasons to be an ISA Certified Arborist in 2019. We are the ones that can mitigate development consequences and edge effects. We can retain trees, create beneficial wildlife snags rather than remove all the material, preserve old trees through pruning and cabling, design storm water runoff away from valuable trees through rain gardens, replant when removing trees, and plant natives and non-native species. Wait, what – non-native? Yes! Know when a site has changed to a new condition and recommend the right plant in the right place. The urban forest is not like the native contiguous forest. People live in cities, and cities need trees. Urban foresters and ISA Certified Arborists are important for adaptable urban forests. (“A city without trees is dead. Alex Shigo”)
Do you ever ask yourself what it means to be a female arborist? Or perhaps, what your friend or wife goes through to practice Arboriculture? Historically, the Forestry and Arboriculture fields have been male dominated, and I feel that it is still male dominated. I climb like a girl because that’s what I am; those words in that order have generally been derogatory. But I am a girl. When I walk into a board room to lead a meeting, am the only female in the room, and I know the most about the trees and the stakeholders, do I have to consider my gender? When I’m on a consult or in charge of my job site with male homeowners and other male arborists, do I consider it? Because I run our male tree crew and our family with my husband, do I have to consider it? Well, the answer is yes and no.
Many cultures regard trees as part of their heritage. How is inherited knowledge passed from generation to generation through trees? How can we use trees to tell stories and connect with our ancestors? In this article, we’ll explore how cultures have shaped our “human-tree” relationship in different parts of the world I have traveled.
Tu Di Gong, Gods and Trees
During the summer of 2010 I packed my prized climbing set-up, a couple changes of clothing and headed to Hong Kong, China. There I joined my colleague, Will Koomjian, to complete contract work for the Hong Kong Government. Upon arrival at the airport, I unfolded the directions I had jotted down on scratch paper. The notes depicted a bus transfer and an hour and a half trip through the Northern Territory of Hong Kong. My destination, Sui Hang San Tsuen, bordered Shenzhen, China. I was greeted by Don the local arborist and promptly put to work at a nearby site. Jetlagged, on the first day, I was shown how to use GPR and Tomography to examine the underground roots of old, roadside Melaleuca trees before an improvement project. I was impressed.
Over the next year, Will and I found ourselves climbing and writing reports for hundreds of spectacular specimen trees managed by the Hong Kong Government. Many of these trees were deemed Old Valuable Trees (OVT’s) which gave them special recognition and protections. This program could easily be compared to a heritage tree program ran by a city, county or state here in North America. Read More "A Community of Trees"
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. Read More "Board Spotlight: Anna Heckman, Secretary"
This is the third, and likely the final, article on Pristophora geniculata, Order Hymenoptera, identified consuming up to 90% of the foliage of certain Mountain Ash trees in Metro Vancouver, BC in 2015, with subsequent defoliation in summers of 2016, 2017. This chewing insect pest was previously reported in Ontario after 1938, of European origin, and never reported west of Michigan. This pest has a complete life cycle and, once established, does not have to move far from the host plant, exclusively in the genus Sorbus. There are 100 to 200 species within this genus worldwide. Of particular interest to arborists are ornamental Mountain Ash trees in gardens and public landscapes. Read More "Mountain Ash Sawfly Larvae Eat Their Way Into Year Three"
The first Tour des Trees route went from Seattle, WA to Oakland, CA, a distance of over 1,000 miles. That year 13 riders raised $89,000 for tree research and education. And so it began ...
I had the great privilege of riding in the inaugural Tour des Trees in 1992. My dear friend Jim Clark (a founding visionary for the Tour), was kind enough to invite and challenge me to participate in a bicycling adventure. At that time I did not know what to expect, nor did I have any idea of its significance, but I can unequivocally state that the original ride was one of the paramount endeavors that I have ever undertaken. Read More "Veteran Rider Phil Svoboda Returns for 25th Anniversary Tour"
I am very sure many of you may have heard this story, but us older folks have been known to repeat ourselves. This is also given that in February 2018, I will have been involved in the field of arboriculture and related fields (including zoology, but that’s another story) for 70 years, when I started with the Davey Tree Expert Company. Read More "How I Came to Be an Arborist: Some of My History"
My membership with the ISA began when I became a certified arborist in 2000. This was the same year that I moved to the PNW and joined the Chapter. At the time, my involvement was limited, but then the international conference was being hosted in Seattle so I volunteered to help. The networking and comradery with my peers was so enjoyable that I’ve stayed an active volunteer with the Chapter ever since.
My current volunteer position is the planning chair for the 2017 Annual Training Conference being hosted nearby in Lynnwood, Washington. Over the years, I’ve gained tremendous leadership experience through my volunteer efforts with the ISA, and this position is another opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Early on in my career, I learned from the example of my mentors at Puget Sound Energy, how volunteerism within the PNW-ISA creates even more opportunities to learn and grow professionally than just our daily work on its own. Read More "Ian Scott"