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Tree climb­ing com­pe­ti­tion Satur­day in New Glas­gow

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ADAM MACINNIS

The steady buzz of chain­saws de­scended from the tree­tops of Carmichael Park in New Glas­gow Thurs­day morn­ing as a hand­ful of men bus­tled about hang­ing ropes and trim­ming branches.

The vol­un­teers are in town to pre­pare for this week­end’s At­lantic Tree Climb­ing Cham­pi­onship.

“Ar­bourists from all over Canada get to­gether one a year for an an­nual meet­ing and train­ing ses­sion fol­lowed by our tree climb­ing cham­pi­onship,” said Matt Wishart, who is serv­ing as head judge for the event, sched­uled for Satur­day.

The win­ner, he ex­plained, will have the chance to com­pete at a sim­i­lar in­ter­na­tional event.

The 25 peo­ple (23 men and two women) who reg­is­tered so far for the event will be com­pet­ing in five dif­fer­ent events de­signed to em­u­late the tasks ar­bourists are re­quired to do as part of their job. Events in­clude ev­ery­thing from speed climb­ing to aerial res­cue dur­ing which the com­peti­tors must safely re­trieve a dummy from the tree.

Wishart said it’s all great train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence for skills they need on the job.

“As ar­bourists we do have a fairly dan­ger­ous job and we spend a lot of time train­ing on emer­gency sce­nar­ios.”

Wishart has per­son­ally been in­volved with the tree climb­ing cham­pi­onship for eight years and is vis­it­ing the area from Monc­ton.

“We’re all here be­cause we love what we do,” he said.

This is the first time the event has been held in New Glas­gow.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand we need to take care of our trees, es­pe­cially in an ur­ban set­ting,” Wishart said. “We picked this place just to get the word out that it’s worth hir­ing a trained pro­fes­sional that is cer­ti­fied through the ISA or some sim­i­lar or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Al­ready the hos­pi­tal­ity has been won­der­ful in the com­mu­nity, he said, and he hopes that they’ll see a good crowd come out to watch the events through­out the day. Com­peti­tors are ex­pected to start around 8 a.m.

Neil Treb­ble of Fred­er­ic­ton was also on site and help­ing set up.

“It’s an ex­cel­lent way for peo­ple through­out the At­lantic prov­inces to get to­gether and net­work and come up with some new ideas and tech­niques,” he said.

Ar­bourist Danny LeBlanc has com­peted in the past but said this year he’s go­ing to help with the setup in­stead.

Ar­bouri­cul­ture he said has been de­fined by some as the art and science of tree care.

“When you see some­one who can move through a tree very ef­fi­ciently and safely, it’s kind of an art,” LeBlanc said. “Not ev­ery­one can do it.”



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