November fifth to the seventh found NATS/ACTE trainers advancing the knowledge of safe arboriculture at the Tree Care Industry (TCI) Expo in Baltimore, Maryland USA. Billed as the largest tree care industry trade show thousands of arborists gathered for three days of networking, presentations, education and comradeship.
Combining the skills and knowledge of an eclectic set of tree work professionals, trainers and cutting-edge industry innovators, NATS/ACTE formed an epicenter of education and information in one booth on the trade show floor. Joining forces with C.O.R.E Ergonomic Solutions and Good Rigging LLC an aggressive program of arborist skills was displayed and taught.
A cadre of fluorescent yellow shirted instructors actively engaged each other and passersby in any number of tree care topics. The Good Rigging Control System (GRCS) was on constant display lowering and raising rounds of wood. This ingenious device allows an arborist to render any job requiring large loads to be lowered with unparalleled finesse and control. To those interested, various tips and techniques were readily available to unlock the full potential of the GRCS.
Numerous climbing lines hung from the rafters and the staging framework as climbing and rigging scenarios were discussed. Knots were taught. Systems were rehashed. Stories and exploits were told and retold. Many tree care providers work in retaliative industry isolation. Magazines and catalogs are often the only avenue for them to increase their knowledge. The NATS/ACTE booth allowed many climbers and ground workers a chance to see and interact with the new tools and techniques of arboriculture first hand. This invaluable interaction is a great source of learning for both student and teacher alike.
Splices were viewed and demonstrated. Due to some generous donations by our sponsors many spliced slings, split tails and lines were given away. Often the person on the receiving end had first-hand experience in seeing and making the splices him or herself. This comprehensive, entreating look into the necromancy of cordage splicing was eye opening and informative.
Members of C.O.R.E Ergonomic solutions discussed proper work practices to prolong careers as well as job related injuries and how to avoid them. Often an Expo attendee would relate the story of an injury and receive accurate, useful information. Work Positioning saddles were often a hot topic for discussion and many walked away with a better understand of how to fit a tool to a worker as opposed to fitting a worker to a tool. This is the very basis of proper ergonomics and a driving force behind C.O.R.E’s mission.
As a supplement to the full line of activities and information exchange going on at the booth, various NATS/ACTE instructors presented to the Expo as a whole on the trade show floor’s main stage and in separate scheduled seminars. Topics ranging from hazard and danger tree cutting, to pruning for wildlife habitat enhancement, aerial rescue and ergonomics were covered in detail. Lively question and answer sessions ensued during and after the presentations and much was learned by all. More than the standard “generic” info was covered. Attendees took home real, relevant information and skills to practice and use on the job site.
After a tiring three days, much fun, friendship and information was shared and gathered. New ideas were born. Old ones were refined with new understanding. The combined skills of all made for an atmosphere of fun and challenge that has developed into the hallmark of all our training programs. The array of tools, techniques and desire were finely aligned with education, inspiration and competence. Anywhere these can be found working together is bound to be a success. If you saw us there, thank you for your time and attention – we anxiously await the next opportunity to serve, support and share with you. If you could not make it, it we hope to see you in the future whether it be at the TCI Expo or any of our training programs in Canada or the United States.