2020 Annual Conference Run Down

October 4-6, 2020, Your Home or Office - More than two-hundred and forty New England arborists logged in to participate in the 2020  New England Chapter ISA Virtual Conference & Trade Show. Twenty exhibitors set up virtual booths complete with video, live chat, and live video conferencing! 

Thirteen CEUs, including five total pesticide credits were offered over the three half-days of presentations and live networking sessions. On Sunday the conference agenda featured more of a workshop feel with two tracks: AS300 ANSI Standards and i-Tree! Sunday also featured ignite sessions, that prooved to be technically challenging, but we hope some enjoyed an opportunity for lively back and forth in smaller groups. Monday and Tuesday held loads of education featuring our Keynote Speaker, Nina Bassuk, who spoke on Creating the Sustainable Urban Landscape.

Our annual awards and recognitions ceremony was moved to the Monday morning business meeting. Chapter President, Heather Green, and Chapter Executive Director, Heather Leff, tag-teamed the presentation which recognized the people in our industry who go above and beyond to spread the word of arboriculture, who ensure trees are safely and professionally maintained, and who help keep our members are safe when doing their jobs. 

Heather Green kicked off the awards by presenting our three scholarship winners. She began by letting everyone know that the New England Chapter offers three, $2,500 scholarships annually and that the deadline for the 2021 application is April 1, 2021. Tristan Elia was the recipient of our high school level scholarship awarded to high school seniors after completing one semester in an arboriculture program or related field. Tristan attends U-Maine Orono. Dana Tripp received the undergraduate student scholarship and attends Paul Smith's College, and Ryan Suttle received the graduate student scholarship and attends the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

The ISA Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award was presented to the City of Nashua for the Outstanding Arbor Day Activities, to the Town of Hanover, NH and Dartmouth College for their partnership and their continued Outstanding Landscape Beautification in the Hanover region, and to Unitil also for Outstanding Landscape Beautification for their Energy Saving Tree Program - planting over 200 trees in New Hampshire and Massachuetts. Congratulations to all of this year's recipients!

The final award presentation is the highest honor bestowed by the New England Chapter ISA. The Dr. H. Dennis P. Ryan III award is given in recognition of outstanding service in advancing the principles, ideals, and practices of arboriculture. The award is granted to a dedicated and active individual who has made important contributions to arboriculture, either through work in the organization, research, education, field practice or in promoting the chapter. This year's award was presented to Dr. Joseph Elkinton of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Being virtual did allow us to pepper in a little fun! Our virtual platform allowed partipants some healthy competition in our Play to Win Challenge! Attendees were encouraged to scour the event site for special codes that would earn them points in the contest. It was a heated competition with several people earning the highest point value! First prize, a $400 gear prize package generously donated by Shelter Tree Care Products, was issued to the first one to reach this goal. Congratulation to Allison Marcotte. Prizes were also issued to the 2nd and 3rd place winners as well as seven other random participants. Congratulations to: Brian Salas, Colleen Byrnes, Joseph King, David Dion, A. J. Elton, Jonathan Duval, Thomas McMann, Karen Doherty, and Al Romero!  

Each year the chapter strives to raise funds to support the TREE Fund.  The research supported by the TREE Fund is fundamental to the success of arborists around the world. We struggled to find a way to acheive our fundraising goal virtually. In an attempt to drum up donations we reached out to our supporters to see if any of them would like to offere a donation match. Arborjet generously offered not only to match conference TREE Fund donations up to $3000, but took it one step further, they offered to double match donations if necessary! Huge thanks to everyone that donated during conference and to Arborjet for their seriously generous match. Together, we raised over $3800 to support the TREE Fund.

A portion of the TREE Fund's Donations were raised throught this year's Trek des Trees. Normally, a self guided walk, the Trek des Trees Committee, rallied and created an online quiz with questions featuring all things New Hampshire from trees to history! Thanks to the committee and to those who took the quiz raising an additional $90 for the TREE Fund!

Our conference sponsors and exhibitors were recognized and thanked. Our Meeting Sponsors and Session Sponsor made this year's confernce possible. There is a significant investment to move a conference from in person to virtual and we could not have done it withouth their support. Thank you to Aerial Solutions, BioforestClearion, Davey Resource Group, National Grid, Shelter Tree Care Products, Bartlett Tree Experts, Rainbow Treecare, and Tree Specialists. THANK YOU to these sponsors and to ALL of our exhibitors! 

The presentation concluded with the Passing of the Gavel ceremony. Heather Leff thanked outgoing president, Heather Green, and welcomed the 2021 president, Sara Sankowich. Sara is the Utility Arborist Association Past President and serves on many industry committees.  Sara has previously served on the New England Chapter ISA board of directors as New Hampshire State Director, Vice President, and President Elect. Sara has already started planning for a great 2021!

The 2021 Annual Conference and Trade Show site has been secured, so save the dates! We are looking forward to seeing everyone LIVE and IN PERSON in 2021 at the Hilton Doubletree in Manchester, New Hampshire, October 3-5, 2021.

All in all, it was a fantastic conference! Thank you to all who helped to make it happen.