Archive for the ‘Continental Connection Newsletter’ Category

Continental Connection – April, 2015

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Arboriculture Canada’s newsletter for April, 2015

Cover page

Continental Connection – ACTE Newsletter – Summer 2014

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

A copy of the summer 2014 ACTE Newsletter.


Continental Connection – Winter 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Front Page

Keep up with the ‘news’ from Arboriculture Canada!

What Makes a Good Instructor?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Recently printed in the Continental Connection newsletter.

What sets one instructor apart from the majority?  Arboriculture Canada Training & Education Ltd. has developed a process for training and mentoring instructors that serves to do exactly that.

DSC03632 cropaAs owner and lead instructor of ACTE, Dwayne Neustaeter began to train and mentor instructors many years ago.  He has developed a train the trainer program that takes individuals through exercises that challenge them to develop the presentation and communication skills necessary to not only facilitate effective learning in attendees, but also to make learning engaging, entertaining and fun.

Dwayne sends out weekly emails (Platoon Weekly) to a team of over 100 people who have attended past Train the Trainer events with him to remind them of the principles of effective instruction and presentation.  If you have ever had the good fortune of attending a course, session or presentation conducted by Dwayne, chances are you were engaged, entertained and you remember a good deal of what you learned during that session.

If you are currently a leader in your organization, whether a supervisor, a crew foreman, a trainer or the owner – you might be interested in some of the tips that we use when training and mentoring our instructors.  We thought we would share some of them in this issue with you.

A fundamental concept to good instruction we use to help instructors remember how important the context of a learning environment is – is that “DATA doesn’t MATTA”.  This simply means that the context of a teaching environment is just as important to the learning environment as the data or content of the course or session.  As Dwayne recently explained in a message to platoon members:

I learned a unique way to teach a lesson about tree assessment from Alex Shigo.  He would ask a group to list above ground tree parts, and the lists would be quite vast.  Then, he would ask everythone to list below ground tree parts, generally called roots, and the list would pale by comparison.  The lesson – there is a lot more known about the above ground tree parts than there is about the below ground tree parts.  This becomes a lesson in tree biology.  However, I can also compare this lesson to teaching.  There is a lot of emphasis put on the data or content aspect of teaching, and yet, all parts are important in any system.  If you focus most heavily in one area over another, you will have an imbalance, so Data (Content) does Matta, but not at the expense of Context.  They both need to be considered equally for there to be success in learning.  Teaching is like tree assessment and we have to consider all parts above and below ground, content and context, in order to make reasonable and reliable assessments and lesson plans.  I am as passionate about content and context management in the classroom as I am about my passion to learn and understand trees above and below ground.

Train the Trainer

Train the Trainer

Dwayne attended a program called “Ultimate Leadership Camp” with Peak Potentials in August of this year, together with his friend and colleague Andrew Hordyk.  This is what he had to say about that experience:

This past week Andrew and I attended a five day course called ‘Ultimate Leadership Camp’.  This camp was delivered by the same instructor and company that I took my trainer courses from years ago, the courses from which I developed the content and format for the instructor/trainer intensives that Arboriculture Canada delivers.  It was a great course and one of the biggest things I learned was that as trainers or instructors we are also leaders – this goes hand in hand . . . like air and light, sun and heat or smell and taste.  The only difference between a leader and an instructor/trainer is timing and appointment.  There are times when you are the instructor/trainer by designation, however leaders are chosen by those they are together with.  Leadership is one of those things that other gives you – like your reputation.  The following is a list of some characteristics of a leader we learned at the course.  I challenge you to practice them in your life and watch what happens.


Accountable – take responsibility for results

Decisive – make decisions quickly

Courageous- act in spite of fear

Assertive – speak with authority, not aggressiveness

Calm- unemotional regardless of situation

Optimistic – believe things will work out

Confident – trust and believe in yourself

Compassionate – be understanding and care for others

Creative – plan, strategize and problem solve

Flexibility – adapt and be willing to embrace change

Integrity- be reliable and do what you say . . . ALWAYS

Passionate- never quit or give up

Action – act quickly and concisely when it is safe and secure

Pro-Active – take action on problems or opportunities as you see them develop . . . make things occur.

There are many important components of planning a training program, lesson plan, meeting or event that will facilitate and allow for trust and openness amongst participants and effective lasting learning.  Dwayne addresses them one by one in his trainer programs, as well as through his weekly messages.  The following is a weekly message that he wrote just prior to delivering a recent Chainsaw Train the Trainer event as he was preparing.

This week as I prepared for the Chainsaw Train the Trainer program, I was thinking about all the past classes and the memories I have each and every intensive I have been a part of.  I look forward to the learning that I know I will gain from working with new people with new experiences.  I am always reminded of the story about the mental tool box.  I first heard this story from Tim Ard and I have never forgotten it and have told it myself many times over.

Training and education truly is a journey, not a destination, and like the old toolbox in your garage or in your truck, your mental toolbox is dialy exposed to new experiences and interactions, particularly at a training event like a seminar or course.  It is important to remind people that you are teaching or leading that your purpose is simply to add to their mental toolbox.  Many of us had a junk drawer of tools, trinkets, special wrenches from the last BBQ or children’s toy you assembled.  The box gets bigger and bigger and for the most part you don’t throw much of it away, even though you may not use each tool very often or ever.  Why don’t you throw anything away?  The reason is because you know what that tool is for . . . and you might use it one day.  Experiences, training and education is a lot like that.  Each learning is valuable and means something specific to you.  When you are in a leadership or teaching position, you can start with this analogy and encourage enrollment from the class.  (by asking them to mimic the opening of the brain with their hands above their heads . . .)   It is a good way to let the audience know you are there to help, and more importantly you can end the session by reminding them of the toolbox analogy and request them to do one thing.  What is that request?  Ask everyone to simply keep an open mind because like a toolbox, if it is closed, nothing can get in!

It is such a great analogy because it also illustrates the important connection between training, education, information and experience, and how one without the other is not complete.  So much of how we learn is through synthesis of knowledge into practice – experience is the qualifier.  True or True!

Open up your toolbox to learn more!

Open up your toolbox to learn more!

Part of our trainer program involves the way that an instructor begins or introduces a program to a group of attendees.  They are taught to do the following things:

  1.  Scan
  2. Welcome, acknowledge, edify and name of talk
  3. W.I.I.F.M. (What’s in it for me?)
  4. E.T.R. (Earn the Right)

Each trainer is taught in detail the importance of each of these steps and examples of how to implement and practice this in relation to the topics of the content.  Dwayne wrote a short lesson on Earn The Right (E.T.R.) as follows:

How many of you have learned a lesson or gained respect for someone from listening to their story?

E.T.R. is where you tell a story that relates and applies to the topic you are teaching. It is a true story that explains why you are qualified to teach the course or present the topic. The story should be designed to give you the right to present on the topic and it should make your students understand that you know the material and have the experience to back up what you are going to be talking about. A good ETR is passionate and authentic, remember your truth is in your passion, and people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. An ETR can include or be a relational story about something you witnessed that impacted your life and/or effected change in you.

Your ETR builds confidence and ties in with your WIIFM. After your ETR your students are even more excited to hear what you have to say. Your ETR is personal and it is where you begin to establish a fundamental trust with your audience by making yourself vulnerable. It often is a story of a challenge or character building experience in which you learned a hard valuable lesson, a lesson you want to help other’s learn more easily. The basic concept is that we don’t have enough time to make all of the mistakes ourselves and that experience is one of our most valuable teachers, and so the more we can learn from others experiences the better, TRUE or TRUE.

A good ETR shows a willingness and more importantly a commitment to learn and share, like in all things practice and stick with stories that have worked well in the past. Your ETR is about experiences, it gives a relational human quality that resonates with those listening, it helps others relate and connect with you.

These are all snippets of advice from a master of instruction.  Dwayne has spent many years teaching around the world to people of many ages, walks of life and occupations.  He connects with people in a relational way and he learns from everyone he interacts with.  He has a gift of teaching – and those of you that have learned from him can understand his passion.

These are some of the principles that Arboriculture Canada nurtures in the instructors we use to teach our programs.  Dwayne and our team of instructors looks forward to working with more learners in 2014, and thanks all those attendees in 2013 for your participation, your passion and your commitment to learning!

Instructor Stranded in Paradise

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

On September 7th, a phone call came through to our office from one of the ArborCanada Trainers – Danny LeBlanc.  Danny was in Kincolith, BC (or Gingolx) which is a Nisga’a Village in the Nass River valley in the far northwest corner of BC.  Kincolith is a small coastal village on the edge of a water way of the Pacific Ocean, over which you can see the Alaska Panhandle.  Danny was teaching a 2 day Tree Dynamics & Integrated Risk Assessment program for the North West Community College.

Danny:                  “Nancy – I don’t think that I’ll be able to get out of Kincolith tomorrow night to catch my flight out of Terrace.”

Nancy:                  “How come?  Is everything okay?”

Danny:                  “Everything is fine, but we are having heavy rains and the Ministry of Transportation has closed the highway leaving Kincolith because of flooding and landslides affecting the Nisga’a Highway.”

Nancy:                  “Is there any other way out of Kincolith”

Danny:                  “No, there is only one road in.  The only other way out is by boat.  However, the ferry shut down several years ago when the road was brought in, so there are no boats to get out on.  It looks like I’m going to have to wait out the rain and hope that the road has not sustained too much damage to repair and travel on soon.”

Nancy:                  “Keep me posted and let me know tomorrow what updates they have given you so I can cancel your flights if necessary.”

That was Wednesday afternoon.  By Thursday, there were no new updates.  There was still a heavy rainfall watch in place and the road was flooded and no one knew the extent of the damage.  The course that Danny was teaching was finished on Thursday.

It could be that many people (including me!) would be envious of Danny’s predicament.  He was stranded in one of the most beautiful spots in the world – if you like mountains, the ocean, forests, eagles, bears, fish and friendly, cheerful people!  If you can catch the silver lining of a cloud – Danny was living a travel ‘perk’ that some of us may only dream about.  Welcome to the exciting variables of ‘life on the road’ – Danny!

Many thanks goes out to Lavinia and her family at Lavinia’s Bed and Breakfast.  One of my first questions for Danny was:  “Will they supply you with a bed until you can leave?”  Lavinia and her family were very hospitable and gracious to Danny and provided him with a warm place to sleep and kept his belly full.  He was privileged to experience a rich culture of First Nation’s traditional food dishes such as sea lion and other northern delicacies.

Friday brought long walks around the village for Danny.  Being the only non-local person in the village, everyone knew who he was and he was greeted with smiles and laughter by the locals, as they teased him that perhaps he should purchase some property and find a partner to get comfortable with!  He was told that it might be weeks or even months before he could leave, usually with an underlying chuckle.  They even picked out the residence they had available to sell to him.

"It's a fixer-upper Danny!"

I think that Danny was starting to get just a little worried.  I haven’t mentioned yet that Danny’s cell phone didn’t work in this remote area and he couldn’t hook up to the internet and e-mail his family back home.  He was using a land line to make important and necessary phone calls – but having easy contact with family wasn’t much of an option.

Friday late afternoon, I got another call from Danny.  He told me that he might have an opportunity to ‘catch’ a ride out via water with the Coast Guard boat, as the local band government had decided to send some of the staff to Prince Rupert for some baby supplies and perishable goods that were running low in some of the households.  He would be dropped off in Prince Rupert and then catch a bus over to Terrace to get a flight the next day.  If he was given permission to do this, he needed to know whether I would be okay with having someone from the village drive the rental vehicle back to Terrace once the road way opened up.  Arboriculture Canada was responsible for the vehicle that was rented – and we would be trusting the safety of this vehicle with someone we didn’t know.  I told Danny that I trusted him to make this judgement call.  Lavinia’s daughter, Abby was willing to drive the car back when the highway opened – and Danny vouched for her trustworthiness.

I wasn’t sure what was happening until I received a call from Danny about 4 hours later.  He was in Prince Rupert and preparing to get a bus ride over to Terrace.  He was clearly exhilarated, as he shared that he had just had an open ocean ride in a Zodiac Coast Guard boat for 2 hours along the waterway between Alaska and BC.  It was an adventure he’ll never forget!  To cap off the experience, he was privileged to see the beautiful northern lights for only the second time in his life.

This type of situation has occurred in this community before and happens in surrounding communities, as flooding and landslides or severe winter weather cause road closures from time to time.  Because of its location on the Nass River near the Alaska Panhandle, Gingolx was once an isolated village, the only ways able to get in being boat or plane. This isolation combined with the surrounding mountains meant Gingolx would often suffer power outages due to snow during the winter months. Residents could go as long as 3 weeks without power until helicopters could be flown in to fix the lines.  In 2003, a 28 km road from Gingolx to Greenville was completed, which connected Gingolx to the other three Nisga’a communities. This road, the Kincolith Extension Highway, links Gingolx to the Nisga’a Highway with connections to the Yellowhead, and Cassiar Highways.  Every household is given a two way radio so that announcements can be made during emergencies when necessary.

We extend many thanks to the people of Kincolith and Lavinia’s B&B for your friendliness, laughter and hospitality.  Thanks to Abby for driving our rental car back to Terrace when the road was opened later that weekend.  I would consider it a privilege to be forced to slow down life in an area of such pristine beauty and untouched nature.  Danny – you experienced a little piece of Paradise!

Tree Care Industry Expo 2009 NEWS from ArborCanada and North American Training Solutions

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Arboriculture Canada partners with North American Training Solutions, CORE Ergonomics and the Good Rigging Device System at the TCIA Expo Exhibit.

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.

Get Connected!

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Get Connected! 

We are proud to have provided training services for so many businesses over the years, many of whom have been with us from the very start in 1999 and we don’t take it for granted.  If you are interested in learning more about the vast amount of services and solutions we provide for any of the clients below, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Commercial Arboriculture: 
ArborCare Tree                                                 Bartlett Tree Experts
Davey Tree Expert Company                      For Trees
Chipps Tree Care                                              Pidhirney Welding
Arborwood Tree                                              Van Dyke’s Tree Service
Pavey Tree                                                         Asplundh
Telus                                                                     Woodbine Entertainment
The Butchart Gardens                                    ULS Landscaping & Mntn.
Adair Tree Care                                                 Somerset Tree Service 
Municipal Arboriculture:  
Metro Vancouver                                            City of Victoria
City of New Westminister                            City of Richmond
City of Surrey                                                     City of Kamloops
City of Kelowna                                                 City of Calgary
City of Red Deer                                                RM of Wood Buffalo
Town of Fort McMurray                               City of Regina
City of Saskatoon                                             City of Winnipeg
City of Ottawa                                                   City of Toronto
Municipality of Clarington                            City of Brampton
City of Hamilton                                                City of Sarnia
City of London                                                   City of Halifax
City of St. Johns
Government/Public Sector: 
BC Forest Service                                             Water Survey of Canada
Alberta Hunters Education                           Department of Federal Fisheries & Oceans
Parks Canada                                                     Royal Roads University
 University of British Columbia                   University of Calgary
Olds College                                                       School District #45 West Vanc.
Niagara Peninsula Cons. Auth.                   Grand River Cons. Auth.
Olds College                                                       Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation
Ontario Line Clearance                                  ATCO Electric
Yukon Electrical Utility                                    Fortis BC             
BC Hydro                                                             Hydro One
NB Power                                                            Central Alberta REA
Waterloo North Hydro
Golf Courses / Memorial Gardens:  
Edmonton G&CC                                              Glencoe Golf Course
Evergreen Memorial Gardens                    Penticton G&CC
Quilchena G&CC                                               Whitevale Golf Club
Kamloops G&CC                                               Silver Springs G&C
Earl Grey Golf Club                                          Silver Springs G&CC
Muskoka Lakes G&CC                                    Port Colling G&CC
Derrick Golf & Winter Club                           Royal Ontario Golf Club
 Seymour G&CC                                                 Ravencrest G&CC
 St Catharines G&CC                                       Penticton G&CC.
Fire Fighters and Emergency Workers:
The following have attended training programs that are being delivered for municipal arborists, in order to collaborate with emergency rescue protocol.
City of Ottawa                                                   Aylmer Fire Department
Markham Fire Department                          Spruce Grove Fire Services
Victoria Fire Department                             
Horticulture, Landscaping & Park Technicians:
Woodbine Entertainment                            Green Acres Landscaping Ltd.
Revelstoke Resort                                           Western Landscaping
Greenville Landscaping                                 Grand Oaks Parks
Outland Reforestation                                   Moore Resource Management
Great Lakes Forestry Centre                       Wilson Turn Maintenance
Western Landscaping                                     UBC Botanical Gardens
Trillium Landscaping Inc.                               Sierra Alta Landscaping Construction
Sheppard Landscaping                                   PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
Progress Landscaping                                     Ornamental Landscape Maintenance
Executive Lawn and Tree Care                   Coxson’s Landscaping
Cottage Country Lawn                                   Bowen Plant and Gardening Services
BC Plant Health Care Inc.                              Avant Garden Services
Industrial Chainsaw & Cut-Off Saws:
Fortis BC Generation Plant                           Lupul Movers
Iatse 891                                                              W. Pidhirney Welding
HCM Contracting                                              Roadside Construction
VHF Construction Ltd.                                    McElhanney Associates
Oil & Gas:
 Petro Canada
 Telus Canada
Train the Trainer / Leadership Training:
City of Winnipeg Forestry
North American Training Solutions
Non-Profit Societies and Associations:
 International Society of Arboriculture:  Prairie Chapter, Pacific Northwest Chapter, Ontario Chapter, Quebec Chapter, Atlantic Chapter
Landscape Ontario
Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association (LANTA)
BC Nursery Landscape Association (BCLNA)
Canadian Golf Superintendants Association (CGSA)
Calgary Zoo
Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation
Ontario Commercial Arborist Association
Canadian First Nations:
 Six Nations Forestry
Lower Nicola Indian Band
Westbank First Nation
Peguis First Nation Training & Employment

Message from Dwayne – Focusing on 2010

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

For over 10 years, our partners, staff, colleagues and I have continued to forge an idea or concept in the area of tree care.  This concept is that training, and education for tree workers is important for the safety of the workers and the preservation of trees.

Training has always been an important aspect of any successful organization. Historical evidence shows that training tree workers has been going on almost since the very beginning in North America and long before that in Europe and other parts of the world. People seem to have a connection to trees that is almost inexplicable and for some of us this connection causes us to become arborists and to dedicate our lives to the care and preservation of trees, making it our livelihood.

In a recent television interview, where I answered questions pertaining to a colleague who won an international award last year at the ISA show in Providence, I answered questions that made me seriously stop and ponder why I do what I do as a profession.  I realized why I have chosen this business of arboriculture education for long over a decade and why I have worked as an arborist for over two decades.  It is because I love to train and educate others to understand trees and safely and properly care for them.

Many friends of mine have said that understanding how a tree grows and functions is the first step in understanding how to care for it. The same premise holds true for so many aspects of tree care. Climbing and rigging is much safer and easier if all involved with the job at hand understand various concepts of physics.  A basic knowledge and grounding in the science of physics goes a long way to improving safety, productivity and longevity. Using a chainsaw and felling trees is another major aspect of tree work that overlaps into many other trades. Understanding how a chainsaw cuts and the reactive forces created are other examples where training and education will make a big difference in the areas of safety and productivity.

So often in these busy times as new staff come and go, time may not be invested on why to do a task a certain way, but rather focus is only put into how the task should be performed.  Workers that do not understand the reasons and concepts behind performance criteria required of them will show results of boredom, accidents, and no-shows.  We call this, ‘training without education’.  As a result, many employers and business owners face a decision of whether to invest in a person who may or may not remain in their employee long term. 

ArborCanada’s approach to connecting training and education with respect and enjoyment is one of the secrets to our success. In open enrollment courses, where attendees come from all around and take a general course, or in focused programs customized for a specific clients work activities, ArborCanada training and education creates a win-win investment in a short time. In one or two day’s attendees are inspired, trained and educated. They have fun and learn more, faster. Many times attendees of our programs leave motivated and inspired to stay with arboriculture a while, several years or a lifetime. In my case, this type of investment set my career path.

Attendees from our programs and past customers have experienced this to be true many times, not just because our curriculum is current and relevant and our instructors are leaders in arboriculture in many respects, but because we are doing what we love and are passionate about. In fact, anyone who pursues their heart and passion is destined to succeed. Many of us understand this well and have inspired and motivated others to stay in the tree business because of it.

We at Arboriculture Canada Training and Education – from registration, workbook production, certificate generation, data entry, web design, our corporate partners, assistants and instructors – are passionate people doing what we love -because we choose to.

Thank-you to our customers who come back to us for training year after year and to everyone who chooses to work with us and support us. We look forward to seeing all of our old friends in 2010 and meeting many new ones.

Dwayne Neustaeter