Setting Young People Up for a Future in Arboriculture

2018 | Kent Roosevelt High School Forestry and Landscape Management Program

The Kent Roosevelt High School Forestry and Landscape Management Program (FLMP) has been in existence for over 20 years and its equipment has experienced wear and tear. Although some equipment has been replaced throughout the years, tree work is hard on equipment. It is important that tree gear be frequently replaced to remain safe, and this requires a great deal of expense. Climbing technology has changed considerably over 20 years. Ascenders, carabiners, lanyard systems and assisting pulleys are now part of a rope and harness system. It is important that graduating students have a working knowledge of the advances in arboriculture specific to climbing, and funding cuts in public schools systems have made covering these expenses extremely difficult. School budgets are tight and program budgets have not increased at the same rate as inflation. In spite of this, Kent Roosevelt High School FLMP has managed to do more with less and has created a reputation for helping high school students realize a productive place in the tree care industry. Many local employers have become accustomed to recruiting from our program annually. Many students have realized the benefits of further education by attending colleges such as OSU-ATI, Kent State University, Cuyahoga Community College, and schools as far as the University of Wisconsin, Stevens-Point to study arboriculture before entering the industry. This grant application is for financial assistance with purchasing updated climbing gear. This gear would allow for the continued and more efficient ability to work in the community to earn funds and practice the valuable skills learned in the arboriculture field.

Project goals (updated June 26, 2019):

  1. Teaching existing students current, safe, efficient climbing techniques and skills. Linking these skills to skills of being productive  community, family and workforce citizens. The equipment will be used for successive years until deemed unsafe which means countless students will have had the opportunity to benefit from this grant.
    • 18 high school students have learned to use the new equipment and expanded their knowledge and climbing skills to date.
  2.  The upgraded equipment will allow the continued ability for classes to work on local community projects throughout the school year. Community entities such as local parks, cities, schools, golf courses, and occasional private residences will benefit from the practice and applied skills taught in class using the newly purchased gear.
    • Two classes have already used the new climbing gear to complete climbing work on the Kent City School campuses, the Kent City Parks, John Davey Arboretum, as well as two private residential properties. This type of work continues all year, every year.
  3. The new gear will allow for the continued sharing of the climbing experience with other students and parents through the many opportunities throughout the year to give climbing demonstrations and to introduce students and their parents to the field of arboriculture.
    • The climbing equipment has already been used for two parent education evenings in which current students were able to demonstrate their climbing skills to parents of prospective forestry program candidates. Current students also demonstrated and shared their skills at six additional programs where we used the new equipment to give interested freshman and sophomores an opportunity to climb. All of these events allowed students in the program an opportunity to talk about the grant, ISA, tree climbing, arboriculture, and careers in the field. These programs will continue to be repeated in future years.
  4. The equipment will help to produce better educated high school students that can enter the tree care industry as productive climbers and arborists. Tree care companies will benefit by having more safe, efficient, educated employees.
    • The students that have been able to use the new climbing gear are much better educated and prepared for work in the tree care industry due to safer and more up to date knowledge of climbing techniques and gear.
    • This project will continue and repeat every year that climbing and arboriculture are part of the curriculum in this program. As a result, the impact of Goal 4 will be quantified with time.
  5. The upgraded tools will encourage further enthusiasm and excitement for the industry so that the colleges and universities having arboriculture programs will see the benefits through increased enrollment.
    • This project will continue and repeat every year that climbing and arboriculture are part of the curriculum in this program. As a result, the impact of Goal 5 will be quantified with time.

Project Variance: The original TREE Fund grant proposal was for $5,000, which would have allowed for the purchase of 5 new complete climbing sets. An unexpected additional $10,000 from Davey Tree greatly expanded the grant budget resulting in the purchase of 15 new complete climbing sets along with some additional equipment that further enhances the climbing education experience.

News Coverage: As a result of this TREE Fund grant, Kent Roosevelt High School FLMP has had the opportunity to appear in their local paper, Record Courier Newspaper, in September, 2018, and on November 15, 2018 with both an article and picture. In addition, they have appeared in the Davey Bulletin, Sept./Oct. 2018 (page 17), and the Six District Educational Compact Points Newsletter, Fall 2018. Click here to read them all.