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  • Writer's pictureJessica Corner

ISAO Conference Highlight 2020

I know I promised this a loooong time ago, but I have no excuse (you thought I was going to give you one, didn’t you?) Anyway, here we go!

rows of chairs and title
ISAO Conference Highlight 2020

And the International Society of Arboriculture Conference HIGHLIGHT of 2020 is.... Tree Climbing Japan!

John Gathright from TreeHab explained about his tree climbing program for children with disabilities or who have experienced trauma. It all began in 1997 when 57-year old Toshiko Hikosaka dreamed of climbing the biggest tree in the world. As a paraplegic person, this seemed impossible, but in 2001, with Gathright and Tree Climbing Japan’s, she made it to the top of the 5th largest giant sequoia in the world (243-foot) - and passed out from exhaustion! Since they could not descent safely, the team spent the night in the tree, but Gathright described so perfectly her overwhelming joy in the morning when she realized it wasn't a dream after all - she had really done it!

As parents of a child with special needs, we were so drawn to this idea. We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to take Tyson up in our backyard tree, but we know so many kids just like him who would love to experience being an arborist-in-training. It’s hard to think that far in the future, especially right now during these "Corona days”, but without making any promises, we can at least say it’s something we’re looking into. If you’re reading this and you have a connection or practical input about how we can make this tree climbing dream work in Canada (specifically the GTA), feel free to contact us!

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