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“I had two fantastic female mentors that really encouraged me to consider becoming an ISA Certified Arborist ”

In honor of International Women’s Day, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is sharing stories about women in the arboriculture profession throughout the month of March to honor their contributions to the industry.

Before going to college, Carrie Tauscher said she didn’t know about arboriculture. After graduating from college in 2009 with a degree in horticulture and another in landscape architecture, Tauscher, like many other recent graduates, found herself without a job due to the economic recession. Fortunately, with the help of a mentor, an opportunity presented itself.

Carrie Tauscher“I’d taken an urban forestry class as part of my landscape architecture curriculum and the professor from that class sent me a summer seasonal position with the Morton Arboretum as an inventory technician because she remembered I was good at tree identification,” Tauscher said. “I got the job and I ended up kind of rolling into the community trees program at the Morton Arboretum where I had two fantastic female mentors that really encouraged me to consider becoming an ISA Certified Arborist.

In addition to being an ISA Certified Arborist®, Tauscher is also holds the ISA Municipal Specialist credential and the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.

“Working at and for the Morton Arboretum was an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I had access and understanding to what was cutting edge research at the time. A beautiful place with amazing collections to spend my free time. It was an opportunity to be sponge and glean as much information as I possibly could.”

Although Tauscher enjoyed her time at the Morton Arboretum, the position was unfortunately temporary. Afterwards, she applied to be the outreach coordinator in Indiana which focuses on volunteer coordination and the training of general citizens.

After working in the position for a few month, Tauscher seized another opportunity when her supervisor left the company, allowing her to take over the role.

“That was a big notable moment,” she said. “I had to decide if I was going to take on the extra responsibility and, for all intents and purposes, I just dug in, just like at the arboretum.”

Looking back over her career, Tauscher said other notable moments have been the times she’s gotten to work in the community. She is particularly fond of the Arbor Day celebrations she’s attended.

“Every individual Arbor Day or tree planting invitation has been really cool,” she said. “My first Arbor Day was a big celebration. They had the whole fourth grade choir that performed original songs, and there was a family that catered the event. It was the coolest community feeling for something that usually involves planting a tree and going home.”

What she is most proud of, however, are the connections she’s built in the Indiana tree worker community. Tauscher said that in her experience in the arboriculture industry in her state, tree workers often times work in silos, and she is proud that she has had a small hand at chipping away at those silos.

“We just need to figure out common goals and communicate challenges with each other rather than just being against communicating at all because they don’t understand us or they don’t do what we do,” she said.

Working towards bridging the different communities allowed Tauscher to venture into the tree climbing realm, which was something she hadn’t previously considered.

“One of my favorite things was learning to climb,” she said. “That was never on my radar or bucket list until I started running our state tree climbing competition. I met this amazing community of people who cared about each other no matter what, and they could come from every state and country and treat each other like family and look out for one another. It was just the coolest connection and felt so familiar because it was about the same for the tree planting community, but when you think about it it’s pretty rare when planters and tree climbers would overlap in any meaningful way.”

Check out the other Women in Arboriculture profiles.