September is here, and hopefully you’re celebrating a busy and successful summer season and planning for a productive winter. This year, I encourage you to make the most of your downtime by taking advantage of some of the great educational opportunities available in the industry. Even the most seasoned arborist can benefit from a refresher course on tree care basics, or gain knowledge on new and innovative tools and techniques.

One of the more unique experiences available is offered by the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA). The Municipal Arborist Exchange Program gives participants the opportunity to spend at least a week working with another city’s forestry department, sharing ideas and picking up new techniques. The program is worldwide, and arborists from the U.S. have traveled as far away as New Zealand and South Africa. Two-way exchanges are available in which pairs of arborists take turns hosting each other in their respective city. The exchange program is sponsored, so participants receive this international experience at a minimal cost. You must be an SMA member to apply, and applications for the 2010 program must be received by September 23. To apply, visit, and look for more information on this special program in an upcoming issue of Tree Services.

I’m sure many of you will be attending the TCI Expo in Baltimore in November. In addition to networking opportunities and product demonstrations at the trade show, the Expo also offers a wide range of educational courses. Some of this year’s offerings include Business Boot Camp, Rootzone Management, Modern Climbing Advancements and Consultative Selling Skills. Be sure to register for some courses to earn CEUs and gain valuable knowledge from industry pros. And, don’t miss next month’s issue of Tree Services, which will feature an in-depth preview of the TCI Expo.

Though you may think you’ve seen it all in your career, the industry is constantly evolving, and the only way to keep up with (or surpass) the competition is to stay on top of the latest tools, techniques and regulations. Stay safe, and never stop learning.

Katie Meyers