The New England Chapter ISA Annual Conference and Trade Show Makes “History”!

The 2023 Annual Conference and Trade Show was held October 1-3, 2023 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, ME. Renowned assistant professor of history from the University of Central Florida and author of The American Canopy, Dr. Eric Rutkow, took this year’s conference to a new level! Thank you to all of our amazing speakers.  Here is this year’s conference by the numbers:

Attendees: 350
Exhibitors: 30
Sponsors: 13
48 Silent Auction Items Raised $2,771
Heads or Tails Raffle Raised $1030.00 +

logos of conference sponsors

ISA Update Delivered by ISA CEO, Caitlyn Pollihan

woman at podium

ISA CEO, Caitlyn Pollihan, provided the ISA update including information on the health of the organization and an update on professional arboriculture around the world.


2023 Dr. H. Dennis P. Ryan III Award

man and woman next to podium

Kristina Bezanson

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 Kristina Bezanson, New England Chapter ISA 2024 President Elect.


2023 Gold Leaf Award

man and woman

Massachusetts Greening the Gateway Cities Program

This year’s winner of the Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award was awarded in the category of Landscape Beautification.  This category recognizes individuals, organizations or municipalities that have made signification contributions through tree planting and landscaping which enhances environmental protection, conservation, beautification, air purification, or wildlife protection.  It can also be for non-planting landscape activities that have had a positive impact in promoting tree care and tree preservation.

This year’s award was presented to the three organizations responsible for the Massachusetts Greening the Gateway Cities Program. The program aims to increase the urban tree canopy by planting and caring for trees, for free, in urban environmental justice neighborhoods.

The award was presented to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Department of Recreation, Urban and Community Forestry Program, and the United States Forest Service.  Danielle Gift, US Forest Service New England Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of these three organizations.

President’s Award Winners

a group of men at a podiumWinners of the 2023 President’s Award for their efforts as Committee Chairs were:  Doak Marasco (Marketing Committee and Nominating Committee), Rich Cartier (Membership Committee), and Greg Lukos (Finance Committee).

two men shaking handsThe Passing of the Gavel

Introducing the 2024 New England Chapter ISA President, Scott Wheeler. Scott is the Superintendent of Parks, Grounds and Forestry with City of Newport Rhode Island.  He has been with the City for over 29 years.  Prior to that he worked for Bartlett Tree Experts and for the town of Danvers Massachusetts.  Scott received a BS in Urban Forestry from UMass Amherst.   Scott did two stints as the Rhode Island Sate Director for the New England Chapter from 2001 to 2005 and from 2018 to 2021.  He has served as the Vice Chairman of the Rhode Island Tree Council.  He is currently Chairman of the Portsmouth RI Tree Commission and an advisor to the Newport Tree Conservancy. Scott is an ISA Certified Arborist.

2023 Scholarship Recipients

Sean Redding, New England Chapter Secretary presented the 2023 New England Chapter ISA Scholarships. Each scholarship is $2,500 and is presented as a check to the recipient.

High School Recipient

Taylor Sirois
Taylor Sirois graduated from Bristol County Agricultural High School. Taylor is now attending Paul Smith’s College pursuing a degree in Arboriculture and Landscape Management and Ecological Forest Management.  She has competed in the New England Chapter ISA tree climbing championship and plans to become a certified arborist.

Undergrad Recipient
Aly Milando

Aly Milando is studying Forest Resource Management at the University of British Columbia.  A resident of Concord, Massachusetts, this Aly is hoping to embark on a career revolving around environmental sustainability, specifically in relation to forestry. She also plans to become a certified arborist.

Post Graduate Recipient

Les Welker
Les Welker is a graduate student at the Yale School of the Environment. He is studying Urban Forestry with the goal to build a career in urban forestry, managing green spaces and urban canopy in a scientifically validated way that maximizes the ecosystem and social benefits that they provide.

Heads or Tails Raffle

Bjorn Sage

P.C. Hoag Co. for the WIN (again)

Winner of the Heads or Tails raffle, Bjorn Sage of P.C. Hoag Co.!  Bjorn won a $700 pruning package donated by Eversource.

Conference Scenes

people outside near a tree
Tree Walk - Planting, Pruning, PHC, and More with Portland’s Urban Trees. Photo by Abigail Bentley.
people seated listening to a lecturer
Introduction to Plant Health Care, Basic Disease Identification – Marc Ware. Photo by Abigail Bentley.

Thank you to all our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, donors, and volunteers who helped make the 2023 conference a success!

Hope to see you next year in Warwick, RI (October 6-8, 2024).