Across the world, ISA Members dedicate their efforts to promoting the professional practice of arboriculture and fostering greater awareness of the benefits of trees. The ISA Member Spotlight allows ISA to share our members; stories and recognize their accomplishments and contributions to the arboriculture industry. This month, ISA is highlighting Jessica Sanders.
Executive Director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation (STF) and ISA Certified Arborist®, Jessica Sanders strives to “ensure that nature in cities is equitable, inclusive, and part of everyone's life.” Additionally, she is committed to growing the urban forests from seed to slab. Having worked on many ISA committees, Jessica has volunteered countless hours of her time working with other industry leaders to promote the benefits of trees. As a nod to her hard work, Jessica was recently elected to the ISA Board of Directors, and with this new position, hopes to continue promoting the importance of arboriculture and urban forestry.
After Jessica received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies, she realized she “wanted nature not to be a destination, but rather to make it more accessible and part of people's everyday lives.” With this in mind, she decided to continue her education and graduated with a PhD in Ecology and Urban Forestry from Rutgers University. In her first post-graduation role, Jessica began her career at Casey Trees in Washington, DC and worked her way up to the Director of Technical Services and Research as well as the Director of Science and Policy. She worked on GIS and mapping, science communication, policy, creation of tree-friendly construction standards as well as many other aspects of arboriculture. Looking back at her time there, “the interaction with volunteers, policy makers and building unique partnerships” is what she enjoyed the most.
About two and a half years ago, Jessica made the move from Washington DC to Sacramento, California to start her current role. At the foundation, the team works to engage and educate all ages about the life cycle of a tree. In classrooms, acorns are harvested and grown into trees in the hopes that they will later become part of their reforestation program. Recently, STF broke ground on a cherry tree park on the Sacramento River called Hanami Line at Robert T. Matsui Park. Exceeding their fundraising goals allowed them to not only construct an iconic park, but also create programming and activate the space. Jessica is extremely proud to be part of the organization and the success story it has brought to Sacramento.
In addition to her busy schedule at STF, Jessica also enjoys spending her time in volunteer roles at ISA. Over the years she has served on the Nominations and Elections Committee, Conference Program Committee (CPC), Science and Research Committee, and the Educational Programs and Services Committee. Jessica especially “loved leading CPC and having the ability to curate different inspirational groups and members to ensure a great conference and help the field grow!” She worked closely with the ISA Department of Educational Products and Services and enjoyed collaborating on many different projects with them over the years. Jessica’s involvement at ISA has now evolved into a volunteer leadership position on the ISA Board, where she is excited to serve in a governance capacity. As a new board member, she “hopes to be able to help foster an inclusive society that brings points of view from all members and in turn ensure that ISA is aligned with the goals of the membership.”
With all the time Jessica has given to ISA, she feels that ISA has given back just as much. She has formed so many wonderful professional connections and long-term friendships due to this society, and says that “the community is the best part of being a member of ISA.”