Tree News:


Junior Arborist Camp: Reaching Out to the Future

John Ball, BCMA
Professor of Forestry, Extension Forestry Specialist
Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department, South Dakota State University
Christina Lind-Thielke
Assistant Gardener/Education Coordinator
McCrory Gardens, South Dakota State University

altWhen did you decide to become an arborist?  We’ll guess it wasn’t in elementary or secondary school.  At that time career plans are focused on becoming an astronaut, entertainer or even President.  Unfortunately, even as you become older and developed more realistic career plans, probably no one talked with you about arboriculture.

Arboriculture, as with all many other occupations, is facing a demographic challenge.  As the number of individuals in their formative years of exploring career options declines, there becomes increased competition to attract these potential workers.  Fields such as arboriculture that involve physical activities will be particularly impacted as their aging worker population may not be able to perform physically demanding tasks.  The question becomes how to recruit the new work force.

Arboriculture, despite the high visibility of some its work such as tree pruning and removals, is not a well-known career option.  There are few secondary school programs or courses and most guidance counselors are unaware of the field’s potential.  Many young people only become acquainted with the field after high school while attending a post-secondary school for another occupation or working in an allied trade such as landscaping. The time to begin creating the awareness and interest in an arboriculture career is as early as possible in the school system, when the students are beginning to explore their career choices. 

Hence the development of the Junior Arborist Program through McCrory Gardens, a part of South Dakota State University.  This objective of this program, funded through support from the TREE Fund, is to create and deliver arboriculture summer programs focused not only on secondary school student, the high school student, but middle school and elementary. 

The program delivered this past summer was developed around eight modules of arboricultural instruction.  The modules were designed to be completed within a one to three hour time period and involve indoor and outdoor activities.   Each module consisted of a list of desired outcomes, a lesson plan, equipment and supplies, including specific PPE, needed to complete activities within the module, and the skill and knowledge requirements of instructors.  The eight modules were:

1)    How trees grow and survive

2)    The root of the matter: the importance of soil

3)    How to identify tree species

4)    Tree pruning

5)    Tree care operations

6)    Tree felling

7)    Tree inventories

8)    Tree climbing

The summer camp consisted of four mornings of field and classroom activities and was held in mid-August 2016.  The students, across a wide range of ages, enjoyed the opportunity to learn about how trees grow and develop identification skills, but the highlight was, of course, climbing and observing arboricultural operations such as felling and chain saw use.  The program sparked interest in arboriculture as well as awareness that this is a career path.  We hope that the spark ignites in some of the students and they eventually pursue a career in arboriculture or urban forestry 

This is just the beginning of a long-term effort to expose children to the many opportunities in our field and we plan to continue the program with other camps and weekend opportunities next summer.


ISA International Conference & Trade Show – Texas Style

Fort Worth, Texas in August?  I must admit, I was expecting plenty of heat and humidity, tumbleweeds, dust storms, etc., but instead, attendees of the ISA Annual Conference & Trade Show were treated to beautiful weather, friendly folks, good food, and a wonderful educational event.  In fact, I am now a huge fan of the city of Fort Worth. Easy to get around, hotels conveniently located near the convention center, and a spectacular city park (Fort WorthWaterGardens) that served as a magnet for visitors and locals alike.  Everybody loves water features, but the liability associated with water and steep slopes (see photos) would keep me awake at night.

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The proceedings got off to a rousing start as professional tree climbers, Tom Otto and Shawn Sears, who also double as cat rescuers, described in humorous fashion the dangerous business of extracting felines from the tops of trees.  I’m not really a cat lover, but by the end of their keynote presentation, I came to appreciate what they do for cats and for their owners who are so glad to have them back on the ground.


One of my favorite talks of the entire convention was delivered by Dr. Glen Stanosz, Professor of Tree and Forest Health from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  In his presentation, Dr. Stanosz talked about tree decline diseases and how we sometime toss the world “decline” around ill-advisedly and inappropriately.  According to Dr. Stanosz, the word decline is most appropriately applied to situations in which either abiotic or biotic factors cause the gradual deterioration of a tree, often ending in death.  Dead branches in the canopy may or may not be symptoms of decline….it all depends on how the tree responds.  Very interesting…so much so that I’ve invited Dr. Stanosz to speak at the Iowa State University Shade Tree Short Course next February.  C’mon…you can’t blame me for trolling for speakers at someone else’s conference!


Finally, the trade show was interesting, educational, and fun.  Lots of helpful and knowledgeable vendors, books to buy, products to try, and always something to eat.  So if you missed Fort Worth in 2016, don’t get left out when the show moves to WashingtonD.C. in 2017 (July 29 to August 2).  See you there!


By Jeff Iles
Professor and Chair, Iowa State University Department of Horticulture

Service Above Self – Jeff Iles

By: Ed Adcock
IowaStateUniversity - College Communications Specialist


IowaState’s Shade Tree Short Course got its start 60 years ago. The annual, two-day event held each February is coordinated by Jeff Iles, chair of the Department of Horticulture. This year’s meeting drew about 700 participants, and emerald ash borer—a destructive pest claiming the lives of millions of ash across the United States— was a prominent topic of conversation.


Trees! An Illustrated Field Guide 

Trees! is written by one of the Midwest's foremost authorities on trees. Covering trees from Saskatchewan to Nebraska, from Montana to Iowa, this is author John Ball's guide to the Northern Plains fruit, nut, ornamental, shade and windbreak trees based on more than 30 years of his personal observations in North America, Europe and Asia.

This book provides more than 100 original illustrations of leaves, keys to identify species by their foliage and twig characteristics, and the major insects, diseases and disorders for each genus and species. He discusses environmental requirements such as climate, and soils including pH tolerance. You’ll receive helpful information for fruit and nut trees – their pollination, harvest and storage requirements. And for all trees, the height, spread, form, autumn foliage color, flowering and fruiting characteristics for the species and cultivars along with specific information on rootstock, a feature missing from most other guides.

The book covers 80 genera, almost 300 species and more than 450 cultivars to answer the question on every tree lover’s mind: “Will it grow here?”


By John Ball, BCMA 
Professor of Forestry, Extension Forestry Specialist
Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department, South Dakota State University








Reminder - ISA Price Increase Information



We wanted to send out a reminder to the components regarding the raise to Certification and Membership fees. All fees go into effect 01 January 2017. You may find information on our website at concerning the increase. I have also attached our Frequently Asked Questions as well as our Rate Increase Matrix. Please make sure that you are utilizing the most up-to-date handbooks found at If you need to replace your existing hard copy stock, please call CSC at +1 217.355.9411.


ISA Membership Fees increase $5.00 USD

* Increase knowledge with ISA publications and online resources

* Utilize member discounts on Certification and CEU opportunities

* Connect with more than 23,000 members throughout the world


Certification Exam and Recertification Fees increase $20.00 USD for ISA Members and $30.00 USD for Non-Members

* Enjoy added value with recent program improvements

* Market yourself and your ISA certification with new branding services including an upgraded ID card

* Take advantage of ISA’s easy online access to manage your CEUs


If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.




Erin LaRocque
Associate Director of Credentialing
International Society of Arboriculture

Frequently Asked Questions

ISA Rate Pricing and Comparison Chart


International Society of Arboriculture
ISA Public Education site
Back Issues of Arborist News magazine
Monthly ISA e-newsletter
Quarterly ISA Professionalism E-newsletter 
Back Issues of TCI Magazine
Monthly TCIA e-newsletters
Tree Care Industry Association 
ISA Student Opportunities 
Municipal Forestry Institute
Urban Forestry Today 2015 Webcast Series