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 Alison Herrell.
Alison Herrell, an ISA member and TRAQ qualified Board-Certified Master Arborist®, promotes and educates people on the benefits of trees and the vital role that arborists play in the preservation and future of our urban canopies every chance she gets. Always a lover of the outdoors, she grew up camping and knew that she wanted to study science. She began her journey with a bachelor's degree in biology and discovered her passion lay in finding a career where she could work outside. After graduation, Alison worked for The Nature Conservancy through AmeriCorps before deciding to pursue a master's degree in environmental science from Indiana University. While getting her degree, she worked as a teaching assistant for Urban Forester Dr. Burney Fischer where she studied the ecological and environmental benefits of tree canopies.
With her second degree in hand, Alison accepted a job with a large tree care company where she worked her way up from grounds person and plant healthcare technician to climber and then sales arborist. After six years in this role, she switched gears and became an Arborologist for Rainbow Ecoscience. At Rainbow, Alison provides hands-on training and education for landscape and arborist professionals. She also helps with research and works on development projects regarding plant growth and combatting evasive pests and pathogens.
In addition to contributing to the industry through her job, Alison serves on multiple ISA committees, is a board member of the ISA Pacific Northwest Chapter, and volunteers her time to promote arboriculture as a career pathway. She is passionate about the future of arboriculture and speaks at industry events and colleges about her work in hopes to diversify the workforce and promote changes to make arboriculture a safe and inclusive space for everyone. Alison is currently planning to co-host an event with a panel of female arborists where they will educate female arborists about how to diversify their skill set in the industry. She is excited about the young open minds coming into the industry and the hope they bring for long-term change in the world of arboriculture.
With all the projects and work Alison is doing, being connected to the ISA network of arborists is extremely beneficial to her achieving her goals. She supports ISA’s push to better the industry and make arborists more professional, educated, and up to date with the most current information and standards. When asked about the future of arboriculture Alison says that in a world “with threats of climate change and urban expansion, the preservation of the urban tree canopy makes our jobs as arborists more important than ever and essential to our future livelihood, health, and emotional wellbeing.”