Due to the ISA Texas Tree Conference taking place in Waco September 27-29, 2022, the Saluting Branches day of service scheduled for September 28 everywhere else was rescheduled for October 5 for Texas. Unbeknown to the volunteers, on October 5, 2022, four locations in Texas traveled back in time to September 28 so they could stand in solidarity with their fellow arborists and stewards of the landscape.
Those locations were Austin Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin, Butler Nelson Cemetery in Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas and Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. It is rumored that the new Quantum Micro-Injector by Rainbow Ecoscience has a super-secret setting that makes time travel possible. Fact checkers are unable to confirm or deny, and Twitter has censored any discussion.
Nationally, the 2022 Saluting Branches was the largest one-day volunteer event in the tree industry. More than 3,000 volunteers donated their talents and services to the caring of trees at 83 veteran properties. This translates to more than $3 million in donated services. The mission of Saluting Branches is to provide arboriculture services to those spaces dedicated to the remembrance of our military veterans of the United States of America. It also allows arborists an opportunity to come together and work on something bigger than themselves or their individual companies.
This article will look only at the 2022 Saluting Branches activities in Texas due to, ahh, time limitations.
Austin Memorial Park Cemetery had 29 volunteers, and the site leader was Kirsten Schneider.
Butler Nelson Cemetery had 77 total volunteers. Lincoln High School Junior ROTC cadets posted the colors during the opening ceremony, and 32 cadets led by Lt. Henderson stayed and participated. The cadets spent time with the arborists from Texas Tree Surgeons, based in Dallas, the Texas Forest Service regional forester and the City of Plano forester.
Plant ID, proper pruning and urban-forest career paths were just a few of the topics discussed. Coffee and donuts were sponsored by Sam Hill Tree Care, an accredited, 25-year TCIA member company based in Dallas, and lunch was provided by Trinity Blacklands Urban Forestry Council. Husqvarna brought demo equipment and raffle items. The weather was perfect, and there were no safety-related incidents. As site leader at Butler Nelson, I can honestly say we left the cemetery better than we found it.
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery had 16 volunteers from Stars & Stripes Tree Service, LLC, Tree Mann Solutions, New Leaf Tree, LLC, and Daughters of the American Revolution. “It’s a spiritual thing and darn good contribution,” says Jim Dunlap, site leader at Dallas-Fort Worth.
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery had 31 volunteers, and the site leader was Tyler Burkett from Burkett Arbor Care, an accredited, eight-year TCIA member company. His wife, Amy Burkett, company president, is a member of TCIA’s Board of Directors.
If you missed this epic event, not to worry, you can sign up for it next year. Or, if you have a Quantum Micro-Injector and can figure out the super-secret setting, perhaps you can time travel back to September 28, 2022.
Kristoffer Rasmussen is urban forestry manager for the city of Dallas, a TCIA Accreditation/loss-control auditor and a member of TCI Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Committee.