2017 International Tree Climbing Competition

By Rebecca Nardacci, Fairfax Horticulture Intern

Me preparing to climb

At the end of July, I helped tend the VCE tent at the International Tree Climbing Competition with Adria Bordas, Kirsten Conrad (Arlington horticulture agent), and Jolene (Arlington horticulture intern). This year the event was hosted by the International Society of Arboriculture, or ISA, at the National Arboretum in DC from July 28th to July 30th. In previous years it has been held in San Antonio, Tampa, Milwaukee, Toronto and Portland. The ISA is a noteworthy distributer of research on the benefits and maintenance of trees. The organization encourages the practice of professional arboriculture, and provides opportunities for networking within this community. The ISA holds the International tree climbing event to draw awareness to the arboriculture industry, educate the public and to provide an opportunity for climbers to share new equipment and techniques with each other.

The original tree climbing competitions in California gave new climbers practice and training for their jobs. Slowly, more companies became aware of the competition and more climbers were inspired to join the competition. In 1976 the first official competition, “ISA Jamboree” was held in St. Louis, MO. In 1994, the event became international and the tree climbers were exposed to different techniques and methods of climbing. In 2001, the first women’s champion was celebrated, and since then the competition has continued to grow. After years of competitions, they now have an official set of rules and events.