It’s great to be back! (All images by Mikaela Olin)
Every year WAC – the Women’s ArbCamp – brings together women and non cis-men in arboriculture from all over the world. The fifth event took place at Ekolsundsslott near Enköping in Sweden in September.
The event was planned and pulled off in less than a month by Ann Elisabeth Jacobsen of Träd och Säkerhet and Boel Hammarstrand, and it was great to be back.
WAC2020 was cancelled due to Covid and it looked like the same would happen in 2021, but in a climate of ever-changing safety regulations we managed to find a space and time where the recommendations were suitable to go ahead. The event attracted more than 30 participants from all over Sweden as well as Germany and Norway.
We are grateful to have so many sponsors who help to keep the event free and all-inclusive for participants. They helped us grow from 18 people and 1.5 days in 2016 to 50 people and 2.5 days in 2019, which was our last pre-pandemic event, and we are confident that with their support the WAC will be even bigger in future.
Chain changing workshop.
Jenny from Canibus and her dog demonstrated how dogs can be used to find spruce bark beetle.
Women’s ArbCamp is intended for anyone who is already in the arboricultural profession or thinking about getting in to it but not yet sure whether arboriculture or climbing trees is for them. It is intended to help create a more inclusive profession for all non cis-male people – not to exclude men, but to include women, trans and non-binary.
For every event, the organisers aim to ensure there is a wide range of equipment on site to give participants the opportunity to try out equipment or manufacturers that they might not otherwise be able to try in the field. WAC2021 included practical and theoretical workshops covering gear inspection, site safety based on the ArbRisk app, an arboretum tour, MRS/DRT and SRT systems, and general climbing activities. Ann Elisabeth Jacobsen introduced us to the world of chainsaw competitions, hosting a workshop explaining the task of fitting a chain; she showed us all how to change a chain super-skilled and superfast. Jenny from Canibus gave a demonstration of how dogs can be used to track and find European spruce bark beetle, a different way of incorporating dogs in arboriculture.
As usual, some of the workshops were run by the participants. We encourage anyone who wants to hold a workshop in their chosen subject to get involved. This can be a great taster if you are thinking about getting into teaching or instructing on any arb-related subjects, but it can also help with nerves or uncertainties about having to take the lead at a work site or at other times when you have to talk to a group of people.
With WAC2021 behind us, we are already starting to plan the next event on 15–18 September 2022 in Malmö, Sweden. Hopefully with a lot more notice and more forward planning, it will be even bigger and better then previous years.
For more information: Boel87@hotmail.co.uk, @womensarbcamp
This article was taken from Issue 195 Winter 2021 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.