The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is separating its annual international conference and the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC) as part of a new strategic plan.

The ISA Board approved the new format to create more opportunities for ISA chapters, associate organizations, and members and to increase the opportunity for public outreach. It provides flexibility in selection of locations, facilities, and dates that are best suited for the growth and success of both events, which may result in them occurring at different times of year and in different locations altogether. This flexibility moves ISA toward being able to deliver better benefits to a wider audience, reaching more people within the industry and among the general public.

“With the events separated, ISA will be able to better allocate human and financial resources to organize events that meet our strategic goals and provide even more educational opportunities and interaction with our members,” says Jim Skiera, the executive director of ISA. “Separation also allows capacity to build out a greater public engagement experience with our tree climbing championship.”

ISA plans to offer more educational workshops during the ITCC geared toward reaching niche groups of the industry. In conjunction, an outdoor trade show will provide additional opportunities for demonstrations and networking among members, vendors, and industry partners. Interactive educational activities will be a key component to attract the public and generate exposure for the industry. To encourage participation from the climbing community at the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show, there will be more educational programming focused on safety, industry innovation, and climbing techniques geared toward the everyday arborist.

“The board believes that holding two separate events will provide more volunteer opportunities with fewer administrative constraints for staff and host organizations,” adds ISA Board President de Gourét Litchfield. “This will permit more focus on creating experiences that are valuable for our members, vendors, sponsors, components, and the public.”

Currently, the events are scheduled to be held separately in 2016, but will be together for 2017 in Washington, DC, to honor previously established commitments. For 2018 and beyond, the events will be developed separately.