Annual Conference Re-cap

November 3-6 - Mystic, CT - More than 250 New England arborists convened in beautiful, Mystic Connecticut for the 2018 New England Chapter ISA Conference & Trade Show. Twenty-five exhibitors displayed their wares and even had an opportunity to address the crowd at our first ever Exhibitors Showcase held at the Mystic Aquarium during our Monday evening reception. 

The Conference weekend kicked off with an all-day Aerial Rescue certificate training. This training was held at the center of Old Mistick Village taking advantage of several beautiful trees each set up with a different rescue scenario. North American Training Solutions provided the training. Twenty four arborists from around the region attended.

Saturday also featured two amazing tours of the Mystic Seaport. Each tour provided two ISA CEUs, but more importantly, they transported participants back in time and showed them how rope was made and ships were built before the Industrial Revolution. Highlights of the tour included making a rope using the same braiding methods as early settlers to America and having a "backstage" tour of the Mayflower II which it is currently in Mystic receiving a makeover for Plymouth's 400th celebration! 

Sunday featured the ISA Certification Exams, our yearly CPR class, and a couple of new workshops: Respirator Fit Test certification and Flagger Certification. The Flagger Certification course received great feedback. Many participants did not realize when and where flaggers at worksites were allowed and were eager to learn these details and receive a useful certification (as well as ISA, MCA, CTSP, and SAF CEUs)!

Sunday night participants began to check in for the conference during the President's reception. Attendees enjoyed some delicious snacks and had their first opportunity to talk with Exhibitors and check out the Silent Auction items. Speaking of the Silent Auction, then chapter raised $1,416 to support arboriculture education in New England! Funds for research in the field were raised at our Heads or Tails Raffle that raised $600 for the TREE Fund. Kevin Brewer was the lucky winner of a Sena Blue Tooth Communication Device and a Petzl Vertex Climbing Helmet generously donated by conference exhibitor and sponsor, Shelter Tree Care Products

An additional $90 to support the TREE Fund was raised from the New England Chapter ISA annual educational tree walk, the Trek des Trees. This self-guided walk created each year by Trek des Trees chairperson, Bear LeVangie, teaches participants about the local trees and earns 3 CUEs as well as at least one pesticide credit. You can participate on your own or as a team of up to four people. Points are earned with each correct answer and the team with the most points wins a FREE New England Chapter conference registration. Congratulations to team Pmorravange (Tom Morra, Mark Przekurat, and Melissa LeVangie) for earning the most points for the 2018 Trek! 

The awards luncheon on Monday is our opportunity to thank the people and organizations that make our yearly conference and trade show possible and to recognize the people in our industry that go above and beyond to spread the word of arboriculture, to ensure trees are safely and professionally maintained,  and our members are safe when doing their jobs. Chapter President, Greg Lukos, presided over the ceremony.

Mollie Freilicher kicked off the awards by presenting our three scholarship winners.  She began by letting everyone know that our scholarships have been increased across the board to two-thousand dollars! Myles Barnes was the inaugural winner of our high school level scholarship awarded to high school seniors after completing one semester in an arboriculture program or related field. A.J. Elton received the undergraduate student scholarship and Jamie Lim received the graduate student scholarship. All recipients are students at UMASS Amherst.

The ISA Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award was presented to the Connecticut Tree Protective Association for Outstanding Landscape Beautification Activities. CTPA received the award for creating the Veteran's Healing Garden in Rocky Hill, CT.

The final award presentation is the highest honor bestowed by the International Society of Arboriculture’s New England Chapter. 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 member of the Chapter 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 Bob Allen of Eversource. 

Our conference sponsors and exhibitors were recognized and thanked. Our sponsors had the opportunity to directly support pre-conference workshops! Shelter Tree and Arborjet teamed up to sponsor the Aerial Rescue certification course, Bartlett Tree Experts sponsored the Mystic Seaport Tours and Cleaves Co. sponsored the CPR and First Aid Course. In addition, our delicious luncheon was sponsored by Lewis Tree Service and our breakfasts and breaks were sponsored by National Grid, Bioforest, Lucas Tree Experts, Davey Tree Experts, and the Davey Resource Group. THANK YOU to these sponsors and to all of our sponsors!

Monday and Tuesday were packed with education featuring three outstanding talks by Key Note Speaker, Dr. John Ball. Participants had lots of CEU opportunities; in fact, eleven pesticide credits were offered over the one-and-a-half days of education. 

All in all, it was a fantastic conference! Thank you to all that helped to make it happen. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in 2019 at the Springfield Sheraton, in Springfield, Massachusetts October 6-8. Save the date!!