Steve Nix: Thanks for doing this with me, Joe. I want to introduce people to arborists and arboriculture on Forestry at About.com and I appreciate you talking about your important service.
Joe Green: Glad to do it, Steve.
Steve Nix: You have enjoyed a great career practicing Arboriculture in several of the largest suburbs in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area. Tell me how you started.
Joe Green: In 1995, I was hired as City Arborist for the City of Roswell, Georgia. At that time, it was a part time position to help monitor the preservation of the City’s trees that were being affected by rapid development. The City of Roswell hired me on my past merits as a horticulturist, landscaper, and teacher.
Since I was not certified at the time of my hiring, they provided me with the training and testing opportunities to take and pass the arborist certification exam through the International Society of Arboriculture.
Steve Nix: You went on from there to teach?
Joe Green: Yes. I keep my ISA Certification active by completing the required 30 hours of training every three years to remain certified. My main job now is that of a high school horticulture teacher but I continue to work in the field of arboriculture as a consultant in my community to assist home owners with tree care.
Steve Nix: This may be the first time many readers have had an opportunity to meet a professional arborist. Why would someone consult an arborist?
Joe Green: Often times, homeowners would prefer the objective opinion of an independent arborist who is not in the business of tree removal before removing large trees on the recommendation of a tree removal firm. Certified arborists like me fill that gap.
Steve Nix: What hoops do you have to jump through to become an arborist and how can someone enter the profession?
Joe Green: There are three main requirements to becoming a certified arborist. First, you must document a minimum of 3 years full time experience working in the field of arboriculture prior to certification.
Then, you must pass a rigorous written ISA exam that covers all phases of tree care and identification. You must be current on the latest findings in tree biology which effects the way you plant and establish a tree, prune the tree and protect the tree with the proper diagnosis and treatment of problems. You obviously have to know how to identify common tree species and know the safety procedures when working on and removing trees.
Third, You must earn a minimum of 30 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) to keep your certification active every three years. You must pay the fees for the testing, and the subsequent fees for the actual certification. Membership to the International Society of Arboriculture is also an added advantage for an arborist to receive educational updates.
Steve Nix: How do you learn about and keep up with all this tree care material?
Joe Green: You can access the ISA web site at http://www.isa-arbor.com It’s a great place to start to find an arborist in your area or to research any information on certification or tree care.
Steve Nix: What do you teach budding arborists and what opportunities do kids have entering the profession?
Joe Green: As a high school horticulture teacher, I am fortunate to have a pulpit where I can teach my students the excitement and the miracle of trees, their value, their beauty, their resilience, their structure, and the importance of maintaining adequate canopy levels, especially in urban areas.
Any kid in my class will get a few extra points to give a tree a real bear hug for at least a minute. I know that may sound silly, but it is a new thing for most kids to really take notice of the very living trees that were once ordinary objects in passing.
So, apart from being the nutty professor of trees, I teach students the economic as well as aesthetic value of trees. We take the lesson a few steps further by studying career opportunities that involve trees and other offshoot careers such as landscape design, maintenance, research, and a long list of horticultural directions they can choose.
Steve Nix: Thanks for doing this, Joe!
Joe Green: Hope it helps.
Contact Joe Green: firstname.lastname@example.org