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With 2012 just around the corner, here is a look back at some of the biggest headlines of 2011.

2011 Year in Review

With 2012 just around the corner, here is a look back at some of the biggest headlines of 2011.


TCI Expo perseveres despite unforeseen challenges

On October 29, several days before TCI Expo was set to kick off, a major snowstorm hit the region. The storm, which dumped more than two feet of snow in some areas, resulted in snapped branches, downed trees and downed power lines. More than 3 million people from Maryland to Maine lost power (more than 800,000 of those people were located in Connecticut, and many ended up being without power for more than a week). Adding to the challenges, several area hotels were without power. Through it all, TCI Expo 2011 and its attendees persevered. According to the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), 177 companies exhibited at the show and 1,937 tree care professionals attended the trade show, workshops, seminars and demonstrations. In addition to the trade show and conference, TCI Expo hosted a Student Career Days (SCD) event, which drew 230 college and high school tree care students from throughout the United States. Many of the sponsoring tree companies organized a last-minute cleanup of Bushnell Park, site of the SCD competition, which was heavily damaged by the storm. Students pitched in to help and spent hours working side-by-side with industry professionals. Later, the students participated in tree climbing competitions, educational seminars, workshops and a job and internship fair. According to TCIA, many tree service companies that came to Connecticut for the show also performed double duty, carrying out tree work for local residents hit hard by the storms. On November 5, TCI Expo opened the show floor and gave free admission to all tree care crews who were working to restore essential services to the region. In the end, despite all of the challenges, TCI Expo was once again a great source of information, education and networking. And this time, perhaps more than ever, it showed the determination, camaraderie and true personality of the Tree Care Industry.



PLANET and PGMS extend partnership with OPEI, GIE+EXPO through 2018

The Green Industry Expo (GIE) announced Nov. 2 that it extended its partnership with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) through the year 2018. GIE consists of the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). GIE+EXPO is the ninth largest trade show in the United States and offers 500,000 square feet of indoor exhibits, featuring 750 exhibitors, a 19-acre outdoor demonstration and test-driving area, educational and networking opportunities, and a convenient mid-America location within driving distance of 60 percent of America’s population. GIE+EXPO is scheduled to be held in Louisville at the Kentucky Exposition Center for the foreseeable future.



ISA launches new online learning center

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) launched its new Online Learning Center (OLC), which features self-paced training courses on a variety of topics. The OLC is a 24 hour portal to learning and professional development in the field of arboriculture. ISA has long been a leader in arboriculture education and over the past few years identified the need to provide educational opportunities through the web. The ability to access educational materials online provides alternatives for professional development, and additional CEU opportunities. The OLC also creates an infrastructure of affordable learning and training that is accessible to arborists across the globe. With the OLC ISA credential holders can complete courses for convenient opportunities to earn CEU credits toward maintaining their certification. Employers will also benefit from the availability of arboricultural education and training in the easy to use online format. Employees will have more opportunities to broaden their arboriculture knowledge in a flexible convenient way that will save employers time and money. The OLC launched offering 25 courses including one that can be taken free of charge. 



2011 STIHL Tour des Trees raises more than $460,000

Sixty-five cyclists from across North America took to Virginia’s scenic byways in early October for the 2011 STIHL Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE Fund, America’s largest fundraiser for tree research. This year’s Tour raised more than $460,000 for the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund, and the event’s legacy includes 45 new trees in Virginia and Washington, D.C., planted during the Tour’s outreach and education programs. The weeklong cycling event kicked off at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach, Va., on Oct. 2. The cyclists continued on to Williamsburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, Front Royal, and Reston, finishing their journey in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8 with a finale concert celebration at American University with Rolling Stones keyboardist and conservationist Chuck Leavell. Highlights of the 2011 STIHL Tour des Trees included tree plantings in Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello and the state Capitol grounds in Richmond and 65 miles of spectacular cycling along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since the Tour began in 1992, more than 970 riders have helped generate more than $5 million for tree research and education programs which have helped fund a host of different projects that have addressed disease and pest management, urban planting challenges, tree biomechanics and workforce safety.



TCIA announces $165,000 federal grant for electrical hazards training

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) was awarded a federal grant in the amount of $165,000 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The grant was awarded through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which provides funding for nonprofit organizations to conduct in-person, hands-on training and educational programs for employers and workers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces. TCIA will develop approximately 25 free workshops and train 750 employers and employees of tree care companies in safe ways to handle electrical hazards associated with trees. These select workshops, financed 100 percent through federal funds, will be offered to small businesses and limited-English, low-literacy, and hard-to-reach workers throughout 19 states.



ISA focuses on pioneers and trendsetters with 2011 Awards of Distinction

Eight distinguished professionals made up the circle of winners for this year’s International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Awards of Distinction, sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts. The awards were presented at the 87th annual ISA Conference and Trade Show, July 23 – 27 in Sydney, Australia, and honored:

Mark Hartley —Award of Merit (New South Wales, Australia)
Lauren Lanphear —Award of Achievement  (South Euclid, Ohio)
Dr. Thomas Green —Excellence in Arboriculture Education (Macomb, Ill.)
Dr. Ken James  —Arboriculture Research (Victoria, Australia)
Dr. Brian Kane — Early Career Scientist Award (Amherst, Mass.)
Dave Nowak —Author’s Citation (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Mark Schnobrich — Honorary Membership (Hutchinson, Minn.)
Dr. Robert Miller —Honorary Life Membership (Oriental, N.C.)

ISA President Tim Gamma presented the awards, which acknowledge the accomplishments of ISA members and industry professionals for outstanding achievement.


Husqvarna R&D event

Husqvarna hosted a media event this past July at its Charlotte, N.C., research and development (R&D) facility, and I had the good fortune to experience, hands-on, a wide range of outdoor power equipment. Chain saws, pole saws, clearing saws, stump grinders, blowers and other tools of the trade were available to me and other members of the media to test run/drive. It was great to experience that first-hand feel for some of the latest products, and get an idea of what will be of interest to you, the reader, editorially with regard to our future equipment coverage. Donning chain saw chaps and a slew of other personal protective equipment in 100-degree heat gave me a whole new level of appreciation for those who are in the field every day — and the level of professionalism, effort and expertise required to do the job, and do it well. And although I can’t go into specifics about the inner workings of Husqvarna’s R&D facility, it was great to see the efforts being made from a manufacturing standpoint to develop the cutting-edge technology that makes your jobs safer and more efficient.


New national standard for tree risk assessment

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved a new standard for tree risk assessment designated ANSI A300 (Part 9)-2011 Tree Risk Assessment a. Tree Structure Assessment. The new Tree Risk Assessment a. Tree Structure Assessment is the first national standard to address risk assessment of trees and takes precedence over any previous tree care management standards and guidelines. The standard addresses the following items:

Tree structure assessment practices, including:

Levels of tree risk assessment
Target identification
Risk analysis and reporting
Owner determination

The A300 Tree Risk Assessment standard uses the international standard series for risk management, including ISO 31010 Risk Management – Risk Assessment Techniques, as a guiding principal.



U.S. Forest Service funds tree inventory for urban planners

New research funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help city planners make better decisions about their urban trees for a range of benefits, including energy savings and improved access to nature. Researchers, led by U.S. Forest Service scientists, will hire field crews to gather information on the condition of forests from approximately 1,000 sites in five western states – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington – to compile data for a comparative study on the health of trees in urban areas. The result will be a network of permanently located plots in urbanized areas that can be monitored to obtain information on their health and resiliency. This is the first time in the Pacific states that systematic information is being collected on the health of trees in urban areas. Determining the current health and extent of specific urban forests will help forest managers better understand how urban forests adapt to climate change and other issues. Urban trees cool cities, save energy, improve air quality, strengthen local economies, reduce storm water runoff and enliven neighborhoods. Work on the initial plot installation will continue through 2013, with a large amount of data gathering planned for 2012.



More than 3,200 participate on approximately 200 projects for PLANET Day of Service

On Earth Day, April 22, 2011, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) conducted its 3rd annual PLANET Day of Service, a grassroots effort that encourages individual members, supplier members, and state associations to create volunteer lawn care, landscape, and interiorscape projects in their own communities. More than 3,200 volunteers from across 43 states and Canada participated in approximately 200 projects, including landscaping elementary schools, city parks, court houses, monuments, playgrounds, group homes, and senior citizen homes; educating local school children on the benefits of the green industry; and installing irrigation systems. It’s estimated that altogether more than $1 million in time and services was donated during this Day of Service.



Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation releases Emerald Ash Borer management statement

In the wake of a landmark summit on emerald ash borer (EAB) management hosted by Valent Professional Products, the newly-formed Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation (CUATC) released an EAB Management Statement that provides stakeholders with recommendations on how to approach EAB management in urban landscapes. Comprised of leading university researchers and extension specialists; tree and land care company representatives; non-governmental organizations; municipal arborists and foresters; and a representative from Valent Professional Products, the CUATC has developed a “consensus document” to help clarify misconceptions about EAB management options and bring a unified voice to management strategies for dealing this devastating pest. Native to Asia and first discovered in the U.S. in 2002, EAB is an invasive insect pest that has killed tens of millions of ash trees across 15 Midwestern and Eastern states and threatens to kill millions more as it continues to spread. The 20 co-signatories who helped craft the EAB Management Statement said they “strongly endorse ash tree conservation as a fundamental component of integrated programs to manage EAB in residential and municipal landscapes. Cost-effective, environmentally sound EAB treatment protocols are now available that can preserve ash trees through peak EAB outbreaks with healthy canopy intact. Used in association with tree inventories and strategic removal/replacement of unhealthy ash, tree conservation will help maintain maximum integrity and value of urban forests.” Dr. Joe Chamberlin, regional field development manager for Valent Professional Products, said the completion of the EAB Management Statement marks an important turning point in the fight to save ash trees from EAB. The CUATC also emphasizes the strong scientific support for an integrated approach to management, discrediting the prevailing belief that tree removal is a valid strategy for slowing the spread of EAB. The coalition then lists the three chemical options for EAB control that have been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency: dinotefuran, emamactin benzoate and imidacloprid.



New guide helps municipalities monetize the value of green infrastructure

Quantifying the economic value of green infrastructure’s benefits is the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective stormwater management approach, according to a new report by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and American Rivers.  “The Value of Green Infrastructure:  A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits” is a broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure. The guide fills an information gap that has hampered widespread deployment of green infrastructure—the practice of managing stormwater with natural systems. “The Value of Green Infrastructure” brings together current research on green infrastructure performance and presents methods for calculating related benefits in water management, energy, air quality, climate, and community livability. The values presented in this guide are not the final word. More research is needed to put more accurate dollar figures on the full range of green infrastructure’s benefits. Based on existing research data, many of the estimates in this guide likely undervalue the true worth of green infrastructure benefits, but it is an important first step in the right direction.

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