Get Out of the Office and Into the Trees as an Urban Arborist

In this article with Atlas Obscura, Nick Crawford, sales arborist for Davey's San Francisco office, tells readers what it's like to have your office in the trees. 

Posted: May 17, 2016 

By Eric Grundhauser 

In annals of childhood pleasures that can be turned into actual careers, being a professional tree climber is probably near the top. Who wouldn’t want to spend their days scaling mighty trunks? And now you can do so amid the fast-paced pleasures of the big city, as the field of urban forestry becomes increasingly large and diverse.

Arborist jobs—or known as tree surgeon or tree doctor jobs in the U.K.—come in many different varieties, but almost all of them start with climbing trees and going to school. According to Nick Crawford, a San Francisco arborist working for the Davey Tree Expert Company, jobs like his are perfect for anyone who likes working outside and isn’t afraid of working high off the ground.

“What kind of person goes to work each day swinging from the trees?” he says.“It’s just so far removed from a regular desk job. It requires someone who just has a fearless attitude.” Crawford has been working as an arborist for most of his life, beginning with a job at his father’s landscaping business as a teenager. He continued to focus on his love of arborculture up through college, earning a degree in urban forestry.

One of the biggest differences between urban forestry and the duties of a general arborist have to do with scope. As Crawford told us, in addition to working to care for specific trees and their issues, someone looking to get into urban forestry will need to consider more macro issues. An arborist may need to convince state and municipal governments to spend money on tree care, and learn how to maintain and improve general canopy coverage.

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