Recently, I was interviewing a job applicant. I asked about his interests when it comes to work and a career. He spoke of his recent work with the U.S. Forest Service and the profound gratitude he experienced working outside in nature. The applicant also shared a curiosity about the value of the work he was doing, marking trees to be harvested. He was unclear how the removal of the trees he was marking might affect the overall forest ecosystem. The man wondered out loud whether his actions were supporting a healthy forest. He wasn’t sure his supervisors had the answers.
It sounded to me like he was clear that he didn’t want to sit inside behind a desk for his career. It sounded like he wanted to learn while doing work that allowed him to move his body and connect with the natural environment. I was energized. I responded saying that arboriculture and tree care can offer the opportunity to do those things while performing meaningful work.
In our field, there is no shortage of useful and practical knowledge and skills to learn. There are vast opportunities for expanding our understanding of trees and ecosystems and the various roles we can play as humans living and working among them. Many people these days express an increased need to feel connected to plants, trees and healthy ecosystems.
Our conversation reminded me of all the different roles an arborist can play in the course of working with trees. Caring for trees offers a wonderful context for humans to practice and learn in. Trees don’t seem to mind. Their ability to stay present in the midst of change makes them wonderful teachers, in my experience.
I’ve found that one of the most dynamic roles in this field is that of the sales arborist. In many ways, the role of sales arborist is to act as a connector between people who have or perceive a need and the organization and people who can help meet that need. Borrowing a concept from Suzanne Simard’s book, “Finding the Mother Tree,” trees and other organisms in the forest seek to make connections based on needs. It’s through having their needs met that trees and organisms develop sustaining and mutualistic relationships. Over time, these varying relationships can build into a connected community.
In some ways, working as a sales arborist is being a professional “needs-meeter” in the world of people and trees. Being clear on how we can show up to meet the needs of others while fulfilling the needs of our organization can make for a thriving business, satisfied clients and happy trees.
Josh Morin, Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA) and Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP). He is owner of We Love Trees, a four-year TCIA member company based in Niwot, Colorado. Morin is also a member of TCIA’s Board of Directors.