Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story


#ARBatwork #ArbMatters #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023 #PledgeLessPlastic #WomenInArb #WomenInTrees & 12 Faces of Arb 1987 storm 2 Rope 2018 2024 30 Under 30 3ATC 3ATC UK Open 50th annual AA AA award AA Awards Aboricultural Association Accident accreditation Addiction advice AFAG AFL aftercare AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley All Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture amenity Amenity Conference Anatomy Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards Anthropology APF APF 2020 APF 2022 app APPGHG application Appointment apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Approved Contractor Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show arb training ARB Worker Zone ArbAC ARBatwork ArbCamp Arbor Day Arboretum Arboricultural Association Arboricultural Journal Arboricultural Student Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe Ash Ash Archive ash dieback Asian Hornet Assessments Assessors at atf ATO Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bark Beetle Bartlett Bartlett Tree Experts bats Bats & Trees beetle Best Student Award beyond ism Bill Matthews biochar biodiversity Biodiversity Net Gain biomechanical biosecurity BNG Book Prize Book Shop Booking Books Bookshop boundaries branch Branches brand Brexit bs5837 BSI Budgeting Tool bursary business Call for Abrstacts Call for Abstracts Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane Canopy Climbing Collective carbon career careers Cavanagh CAVAT CCS Cellular Confinement Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv CEO Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara charity Charles charter Charter for Trees Chartered Environmentalist chelsea Chelsea Flower Show City & Guilds Claus Mattheck climate climate change climber climbing code Cofor Colleges committees competition competiton conference Conference India Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Continuous Professional Development Contractor Contractor Focus Contractors Cornwall Cornwall Branch Coronation Coronavirus Coroner Council Countryside Countryside Code Countryside Stewardship Course for beginners COVID-19 CPD cross industry news Crown & Canopy Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary David Lonsdale deadwood death debate Debt defra deployment Design Devon Director disease diversity DMM document donate dothistroma downloads draft Drought Dutch elm DWP EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education EFUF Election elections Electricity Elm yellows Emerald Ash Borer England England Tree Action Plan England Tree Strategy English Elm environment Environment Act 2021 environmental EPF Equality equipment Equipment Theft Europe European Arboricultural Council European Forum on Urban Forestry European standards European Wood Pastures EUSTAFOR Event exeter Exhibitors Fall from Height Fatal Fatality felling Fellow Fellow Members Fera Field Trip Finance Fine firewood First Aid FISA flood flooding for Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests freelancers FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser fungal fungi Future Flora Futurebuild gardening GDPR General Election Geocells Gold Medal Gov.uk government grant grants Grapple Saws Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure Green Recovery Green Up Guarantee guidance Guidance Note Guidance Note 2 guide guides Hazard Tree Health heart-rot Heatwave Hedgerow hedges height Helliwell Help Henry Girling Henry Kuppen History HMRC HOMED Homeworking Honey Brothers honours Horse Chestnut HortAid horticulture horticulturists HortWeek housing HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE HTA ICF ICoP identification Immigration import industry Industry Code of Practice industry skills Infographic InfraGreen Initiatives Inspiration Insurance Intermediate Tree Inspection International Urban Forestry Congress International Women’s Day International Year of Plant Health invertebrates Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference IPAF Ips Ips typographus Irma irrigation ISA iso ITCC i-Tree IUFC IWD21 Jo Hedger Job Job Centre Plus job opportunity Jobcentre Plus jobs judgement JustGiving Karabiner Keith Sacre Kent Kew Kit land-based Landsaping Landscape Institute Landscape Recovery Scheme Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures legal legislation Letters Liability licence Local Authority Treescapes Fund London longevity LTOA Lynne Boddy Magazine Malawi Managegement Plan manifesto maple Mayor of London MBE Melbourne Member Benefit Member Survey Membership Mental Health mentor MEWPs Midlands Morphophysiology moth' motion Moulton College Myerscough NASA National Geographic National Hedgerow Week National Tree Safety Group National Tree Week NATO Natural England NatureScot Netherlands New Year’s Honours News NHS nominations Northern Northumberland Notice notification NTIS NTOA NTOC NTSG Nurseries oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree occupation of OHRG online opm Padua Papua parks parliament Perennial Pest Alert pests Pests & Diseases Pests and Diseases Petersfield petition Petzl photo Phytophthora Phytophthora pluvialis Pine Processionary Moth plan planning Planning Law Plant Health Plant Healthy planting Plantsman Plantsmans Choice Pledge Plumpton College policy poll Poster Power PPE practice Preston Twins Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Product Recall Professional Members prosecution Protect and Survive protected tree protection PUWER Qualifications Queen’s 70th Jubilee Questionnaire Quotatis ramorum RC Recruitment Red Diesel reference Reg Harris Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rehab Rememberance Day renewal REnvP Report Rescue research Research grant Resilience response results Retirement retrenchment review RFS rhs RHS Chelsea Flower Show Ride for Research Ride4Research rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons Royal Forestry Society RSFS Safe Working Practice Safety Safety Bulletin Safety Bulletins Safety Guides Safety Notice Saftey Salaries Sale school science Scotland Scotland Branch Scottish Branch SDG Accord security Seed Gathering Season Seminar seminars Share Sheffield Show Sierra Leone Site Guidance skills skills survey SocEnv Social Benefits of Trees soil soils South East South East Branch South West Speaker spotlight SRT SRWP staff Standards statement Stationary Rope Stationary Rope Technique statutory STIHL Stonehouse Storm strategy student Student Book Prize Student Conference Study Trip Sub-contractors Succession Successsion Supporter survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight Sycamore Gap symposium T Level T Levels Tatarian maple TDAG Technical technical guide Technical Guides technical officer Technical Officers Technical Team Technician Members Technology Ted Green Telecommunications tender TG3 Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees The Plantsman’s Choice The Queen’s Green Canopy The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tony Kirkham Tools top-handled chainsaws,Elcoat, TPBE4 TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Care Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Fayre tree felling Tree Health Tree Health Week Tree Inspection Tree Life tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers tree pathogen tree planning Tree Planting Tree Production Innovation Fund Tree Protection tree register Tree Risk Tree Shears tree species Tree Supply Tree Surgeon Tree Surgeons Tree Week Tree Work at Height Tree Workers Zone TreeAlert Treeconomics tree-felling TreeRadar trees trees' Trees & Society Trees & Sociey Trees and Society Trees and the Law Trees for Cities Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark Two Rope two-rope typographus UAG Uitlity UK favourite UK&ITCC ukas Ukraine UKWAS urban urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Challenge Urban Tree Challenge Fund Urban Tree Cover Urban Tree Diversity Urban Tree World Cup urban trees UTD4 Utility Approved Contractors Utility Arboriculture Group UTWC vacancy Vanuatu VETcert veteran trees video Videos Virtual ARB Show volunteer voting VTA WAC Wales Wales Branch Warning Watering watering solutions Webinar webinars website Wednesday Webinars Wellbeing Western Westonbirt Wharton White Paper WIA Witley Women Women in Arb women in arboriculture Womens Arb Camp woodland Woodland Carbon Code Woodland Carbon Guarantee woodland trust woods Work Work at Height Workshops World Environment Day World Fungi Day Xylella young Young Arboricultural Professional Young Arboricultural Professional Award young arborists Young People’s Breakfast Event Young Tree Aftercare Youth Programme zoo

Women in Arb Networking Day at Kew Gardens

Author:  Stella Bolam
Last Updated:  19/05/2023

Stella Bolam, Association Trustee and Women in Arb Committee Member

It was a long-awaited day for many of us because it was three years in the making (thanks to Covid interrupting the original plans), but hopefully the first Women in Arboriculture Networking Day has set the precedent for more in-person events which promote diversity in arboricuture in the future.

On 29th March, the event brought together around 100 tree care professionals (the vast majority of whom were women) to provide an opportunity for learning, knowledge-sharing and networking/connecting all within the wonderful setting of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

The event was organised by the Women in Arb (WIA) Committee members, and had the financial backing of the Association itself and three external sponsors – Pfanner, EGO Power+ and Lantra Awards – which meant it could be free of charge for delegates, with lunch and refreshments provided.

Delegates enjoy morning talks in the Jodrell lecture theatre.

Delegates enjoy morning talks in the Jodrell lecture theatre.

Stefania Gasperini and Giovanni Morelli lead the attendees on their specially created morphophysiology tree walk.

Stefania Gasperini and Giovanni Morelli lead the attendees on their specially created morphophysiology tree walk.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square: the Ukrainian flags in the grass mark the deaths of civilians in the conflict.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square: the Ukrainian flags in the grass mark the deaths of civilians in the conflict.

Delegates gather for the morning networking session.

Delegates gather for the morning networking session.

The morning

After registration and refreshments, the morning’s talks got going with a welcome message from the WIA’s Chair, Mandy Maynard.

Mandy explained how the WIA’s work had evolved since its inception in 2018 to provide a voice for women, and promote diversity in all respects, in our profession. She explained how certain challenges, such as sourcing PPE which is fit for purpose, have been consistently raised to the Committee by women working in our sector. In response, the Committee, determined to tackle this particular issue, has persistently raised it with manufacturers.

Mandy announced that, arising from this work, significant progress had been made with one manufacturer, Pfanner. A range of prototype chainsaw trousers, workwear gloves, and boots, as well as a Protos integrated arborist helmet, have been developed with a view to creating PPE that is be better suited to women. These prototype samples were on display in the lecture theatre, which meant that women attending could examine and try on the samples. Mandy encouraged everyone to provide feedback to the manufacturer to help Pfanner hone these products for the market.

After Mandy’s words, I then took to the speaker stage to talk about the support and resources which the Association can provide for women in the sector and appealed to delegates to share their ideas and feedback with the Association. I also briefly shared my experience of joining the arb sector as a career-changer, and how the positive interactions I’ve experienced from both the WIA and the Association as a whole have helped spurred me on to my new professional path.

Next up was our special guest speaker Dr Stefania Gasperini, agronomist and arborist, owner of AR.ES. (an Italian company which works in arboriculture and urban forestry) to deliver the keynote talk of the day. Stefania presented new thinking on morphophysiology (the biological relationship between shape and function) and the ethical approach to veteran trees.

In her work Stefania specialises in tree risk, stability assessment and the management of veteran trees. She has spoken at many conferences and workshops, is the current President of the European Arboriculture Council, an ISA Certified Arborist, and is TRAQ Qualified (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification). Working with Dr Giovanni Morelli, Stefania has numerous years’ experience in applying a morphophysiological approach to trees in their daily work and this expertise was clearly and engagingly shared in her presentation.

Judging by the many lively conversations overheard in the coffee break which followed, Stefania’s analysis and the other topics that had been covered so far certainly sparked off our thoughts, and the break gave everyone a chance to catch up with people they already knew or make new connections.

In the sponsor talks which followed, EGO Power+ provided information about its eco-friendly range of battery-operated power tools; Outwear, the UK distributor of Pfanner products, further explained (remotely through a specially produced video) the approach the company is taking to developing a PPE range better designed for women to use; and Lantra Awards emphasised its commitment to creating a culture in arboriculture training in which gender diversity can grow.

The morning’s events continued with a panel Q&A session with Women in Arboriculture Committee members and Stefania. A variety of topics were raised, including the question of succession – ‘How can we encourage younger people and women from all walks of life into the sector?’ We were also asked how many Association members are women; the answer is 11%, which affirms that we have a huge amount work to do to help close this gender gap (although the proportion has grown from 8% of individual members in December 2020, so it is moving in the right direction).

Simon Richmond, Senior Technical Officer at the Associaton, then presented a summary of the Registered Consultant (RC) Scheme, and encouraged delegates to consider registration, especially because there are currently no women RCs.

The afternoon

Two guided tree walks were offered after lunch. Delegates could choose to join Stefania and Giovanni to take a tour of some notable trees in Kew, examining them from a morphophysiological perspective. The second tree walk option, which I joined, gave delegates a fascinating tour of certain special Kew ‘lions’ (the oldest specimens) led by one of Kew’s climbing arborists, Cecily Withall.

We finished off the day with more time for informal networking.

The future

Looking ahead, the WIA Committee will be gathering all the feedback we receive about this event and intends to galvanise the enthusiasm we felt on the day and since.

If you have any ideas or would like to help the Committee in any way to help us promote wider diversity in the sector, you can get in touch by visiting www.trees.org.uk/WIA and completing the contact form, joining our ‘Women in Arboriculture UK’ Facebook group or connect with our ‘Women in Arboriculture (WIA)’ group on LinkedIn.

Dr Stefania Gasperini said …

“Our experience at Kew Gardens was exciting, above and beyond our wildest expectations. We were greeted with warmth and interest by Association staff, Women in Arboriculture (WIA) members, Kew staff and, ultimately, conference participants. The unique trees at Kew provided an exceptional context to illustrate the topics we discussed – ethics in arboriculture and morphophysiology. We thank the Association and WIA members, the sponsors and all the participants for contributing to a day that will remain unforgettable for us. Special thanks to the afternoon’s co-presenter, Cecily Withall, for the unique moments we spent together observing the trees of Kew in a very rewarding technical discussion.

I hope that the WIA group will continue to grow, both in the UK and in the rest of the world, so that arboriculture can become a truly complete and rich working environment.

Stefania Gasperini and Giovanni Morelli will be leading a one-day Association course on morphophysiology on 8th June – see page 13.

“EGO were really happy to support WIA this year, not only because the event highlights where there needs to be change in the industry but also because it gave us the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the arborist community.

Emma Gayler, Marketing Manager at EGO Power+

Come and join our group trees.org.uk/wia
With thanks to our sponsors

This article was taken from Issue 201 Summer 2023 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.