Arborists from across Atlantic Canada Gather in Saint John for Annual Conference and Tree Climbing Competition


Saint John is in for some “shady competition”. Approximately twenty professional arborists from across Atlantic Canada will meet in King Square on Saturday, September 15 to compete in a tree climbing competition. The event is open to spectators as part of a three-day conference of the Atlantic Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) being held in Saint John from September 13-15, 2018.

City of Saint John arborist and Incoming President of the ISA, Chris Gaudet, has competed in the event in previous years and has served as a judge for ten years.

“Arborists play an important role in the maintenance of City trees, parks and landscapes,” says Gaudet. The friendly competition offers a great way for us to refine and celebrate our skills with colleagues and the public.”

The competition begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday with competitors set to complete five activities, which include the aerial rescue, work climb, throw line, speed climb, and footlock. Each activity is designed to test competitors’ speed and skill. Proficiency in these tasks can be critical in a real-life event such as an aerial rescue in which the arborist must climb and safely lower an injured climber who is unable to descend without assistance. 

As an arborist for over 25 years, Gaudet recalls times when climbing trees  was not as fun as it sounds, “Working in ice storms, hurricanes and high winds is never any fun and can be dangerous, but arborists always have each other’s backs to stay safe.”

The top three competitors will face off in the Master’s Challenge for the championship ending around 3:00 p.m.. The winner of this Atlantic competition will advance to the international competition that is held annually at a different location around the world.  This year’s winner will compete in Nashville, Tennessee in August of 2019.

The City of Saint John’s Parks and City Landscape Services maintain approximately 8.5 hectares of community parks, 907 hectares of other greenspaces, and 25 km of trails. This includes areas of Rockwood Park, one of Canada’s largest municipal parks, situated in the heart of Saint John. On average, crews plant 100 trees and 70,000 annuals per year.  

The City of Saint John is proud to be the host City and a sponsor for the 2018 conference of the International Society of Arboriculture Atlantic Chapter.

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