Columbus State Arboriculture Education Expansion and Tree Care Academy Project

2017 | Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College has been a regional education leader in horticulture-related education for more than 20 years and strives for currency in skills training. The existing landscape program at Columbus State was established in 1988 and has a long-standing track record of success. Arboriculture as a specialty places the College at the center of a growing interest in green spaces as a tenet of urban planning and conservation. This project will establish awareness of this important field and create an entry point for the Arboriculture Technician Pathway in the central Ohio region to increase the supply of qualified technicians.

The project will increase public awareness and support of arboriculture in two ways:

First, through the promotion of a new Arboriculture Certificate: Columbus State Community College is creating a new Arboriculture Technology Certificate. Beginning in August 2017, it will award its first credentials in May 2018. As part of this International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree project, the College will promote the program to new students and to the public, putting special emphasis on opportunities within the program for hands-on internships. 

Second, through the Youth Tree Care Academy: This weeklong academy, the centerpiece of this funding request, will be held during the month of June 2018. It will be open to secondary students who are at least 16 years old. The camp will include hands-on learning and demonstrations from industry professionals in topics such as Introduction to Tree Care and Planting & Pruning Basics. Participants in the Academy will receive information about the certificate program.

Project Results

Columbus State Community College and the Landscape Design and Management Program were pleased to partner with TREE Fund in order to cultivate a greater public awareness of the variety of opportunities in the arboriculture profession. Through this cooperative effort, 41 students from five local high schools participated in a Tree Camp on Columbus State’s downtown campus in Columbus, Ohio. Students were broken up into smaller groups where they visited five industry-specific stations throughout the day. These stations included a safety presentation given by Bartlett Tree Experts, followed by Plant Health Care sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts; Pruning and Climbing presented by Ahlum and Arbor Company; Tree Assessment and Climbing by Joseph Tree Service; and Equipment and Arborist Tools by the Davey Tree Expert Company. Also on site were equipment displays by all these companies, as well as by Russell Tree Experts. The students enjoyed a short tour of Columbus State’s campus, including a short tree identification lab, and they were given lunch halfway through the program.

The college is also in the process of approving an Arboriculture Certificate program that consists of eight classes totaling 20 total credit hours. These classes include courses in plant sciences, plant identification, plant healthcare, arboriculture, landscape management, OSHA training, and a field experience. Upon completion of the certificate, students will be able to sit for a beginning level arboriculture credential recognized by the profession. This certificate is expected to be in place during the 2019 academic year. Current students are already enrolled in many of these classes, as they are also part of the existing Landscape Design and Management degree and the Landscape Certificate program.

We at Columbus State Community College and the Landscape Design and Management Program would like to formally state that without TREE Fund support for this process, none of the outcomes would have been possible. As a direct result of this funding, we were able to complete the development of our proposed Arboriculture Certificate and also reach out to dozens of career-tech centers across the state, informing them of our Landscape Design and Maintenance program and career opportunities in the industry. The industry partners who supported our event were extremely pleased with the attendance and are hopeful that through continued outreach events such as this, they will see increased interest in careers in the industry among young adults and therefore a stream of skilled employees.