Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Crew Update #5: Professional Development at the U.S. National Arboretum

For the past four weeks, our High School Summer Crew has been quite busy caring for trees throughout the District. This Wednesday, the crew got a break from their hard work with a professional development day of tree climbing at the United States National Arboretum. Casey Trees would like to thank Colien Hefferan, Director of the Arboretum for welcoming our Summer Crew and making this event possible.

Contributing writer - Zakara Wardlow, Summer Crew Team Member

After exceeding our crew's goals, we had the opportunity to participate in our second career development day: learning how to climb trees at the National Arboretum. When we arrived we were greeted by Master Arborist Steve Nagy from Davey Tree who gave us preparation and instruction on how to properly climb a tree using a rope and harness system. We learned the basic techniques and learned about the use of tree climbing by arboreal professionals, including pruning techniques. It was really fun to climb and proved to be very physically challenging as well. All of the crew and Casey Trees staff had the chance to climb the tree. After testing our tree climbing skills, we took a break for lunch and got ready to explore the grounds of the Arboretum.

We were introduced to the Arboretum's extensive collection of Japanese bonsai trees. Bonsai trees are carefully pruned miniature trees grown in a small pot of soil. These trees often live for long periods of time with careful attention. We were shown the oldest tree in the United States - a bonsai that was around 400 years old! I thought it was great to be able to see that in person. Tony Vlahakis and Michael Rayburn (tree experts at the Arboretum) gave us a tour of the grounds, showing us the white oak (state tree of Maryland and Illinois) and the tulip tree (state tree of Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky). We had the chance to improve and demonstrate our ability to identify trees. Unfortunately, our trip was cut short because of stormy weather, but we were glad to have the chance to participate in another career development day.

Some photos from this event (more can be found on Flickr):

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