Arboriculture Workshop at Cedar Creek Correction Center

Noe Cardenas- Certified Arborist- City of Seattle teaching about arboriculture

The SPP recently held a full day workshop on arboriculture at Cedar Creek Correction Center.  The workshop was a great success with nearly 40 inmates (maximum allowed) and approximately 12 staff in attendance.   Arboriculture is defined by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) as the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees.  Arborists are knowledgeable about tree health and are trained and equipped to provide proper care.  Inmates participating in the workshop already have an interest and some experience working with trees.  They are all members of Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) forestry crews.  Inmates on these crews work full-time planting trees, controlling weeds, fighting forest fires, and assisting with native plant restoration projects.

The workshop covered a wide range of tree-related topics including: forest ecology, an introduction to arboriculture, tree biology, tree career options, pruning, and a tree climbing demonstration.  Seven different volunteer presenters took time away from their busy schedules to share their passion for trees with the inmates.  The goal of the workshop was to introduce inmates to arboriculture and other tree-related careers.  We hope to inspire inmates to consider becoming ISA Certified Arborists.  ISA certification is quickly becoming a minimum requirement in many tree care companies.  Certified Arborists are able to demonstrate a standard of knowledge and dedication to tree care; which can provide an advantage in today’s job market. The ISA has generously donated 50 certification exam study guides and featured the SPP in the April edition of their publication Arborist News.

Dan Kraus- World Champion tree climber giving climbing demonstration

If resources allow, the SPP will work with our partners at WDNR and Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC), to build a certification training program in the near future.  The training program would bring together volunteer instructors to help qualified inmates prepare for the arborist certification exam.  An education and certification program at Cedar Creek Correction Center could provide multiple benefits including:

  • employment opportunities at a decent wage for inmates post-release;
  • green-collar job training which builds a new work force to care for our urban forests;
  • involvement with the ISA, an organization that encourages on-going educational and professional development;
  • the program may serve as a model for other prisons and other states;
  • with increased employment opportunities and education, inmates may be less likely to re-offend when they are released.

Inmates participating in arboriculture workshop

Many thanks to the volunteer presenters, students, and agency partners that helped make the workshop a success.  Please stay tuned as we carefully explore options for expanding this education opportunity.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.