2018 Conference Committee Chair Welcomes you to Santa Rosa!

On behalf of all the many volunteers and staff members working diligently to put this event together, I’d like to welcome everyone to the 84th Annual Conference & Trade Show of the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture!  It’s an honor to bring an event of this magnitude close to home, bringing members, guests and speakers from afar to take in the bounty of Sonoma County both in terms of local fare and conference flair.  The conference team has put in many productive hours to craft together a world-class experience representative of our wonderful location and the needs of our professional industry today.

Hosting a diverse mix of both renowned speakers and engaging presentation topics, the educational sessions will surely provide something for all attendees.  Talented and knowledgeable vendors and educational exhibitors will again adorn the conference grounds for those looking to improve their practice and breadth of knowledge.  Booths are filling up fast for those that are interested!  Combined with a jam-packed pre-conference field day (w/vendors and ceremonial tree planting), Britton Fund Bike Ride and Golf Tournament, there is plenty to arrive early for.  Along with a cool approach to the post-conference tour, in the form of hands-on demonstrations on the grounds of the tree-filled Santa Rosa Junior College, we hope you will consider sticking around and making this a week to remember.

Just added: a restorative tree planting event, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and the California Urban Forests Council, on Saturday, April 21, to help vegetate Fountaingrove in northeast Santa Rosa, an area hard-hit by the recent wildfires last fall.  We could use arborists and experienced tree planters to assist with leading volunteer groups planting up to 15-gallon-sized trees.  If anyone would like to loan hand tools (shovels, rakes, post-pounders, pruners, hammers, etc.) or offer a vehicle to shuttle materials around the project site, that would be of great use too!  While more details are expected to be disseminated shortly, anyone who wants to lend a helping hand in this restorative project, can contact me by phone at (415) 265-9059 or email at james.scheid@fire.ca.gov.  I truly hope you can leave a mark while you’re in town and assist in whatever way possible to give back to our host city and those that were impacted by the overwhelming natural disaster that shuttered thousands of homes, facilities and area businesses.  Please consider helping to plant a seed for the future if you can extend your visit.

Our conference venue, the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in downtown Santa Rosa will provide for a wonderful, intimate setting for tree enthusiasts of all types.  Whether you’re there for all or part of the conference, visiting as a spouse or guest, or on site to host an exhibitor or educational booth, I think you’ll find the floor-plan well-conceived and the amenities finely-appropriated.  Those seeking accommodations at the hotel itself should not hesitate to make their reservations as the quite-affordable conference room rate block will likely go fast.  With an outdoor pool, on-site restaurant and soon-to-be-finished additional tower of hotel rooms, we are excited at the opportunity to have the conference hosted here and take in all that there is to do!

What is there to do, you ask?  With the hotel’s direct access to the Prince Memorial Greenway along Santa Rosa Creek, you’ll have the ability to go for a long jog or stroll west to catch a sweet spring sunset overlooking vineyards.  A short walk to the east leads one to the vibrant downtown portion of the city, beautiful Julliard Park, as well as the noted horticulturist Luther Burbank’s Home and Garden; a must-see for those visiting from out of town.  A short hop across the street north puts you at your leisure to explore the many shops and dining establishments of burgeoning Railroad Square.  And that’s just on foot!  Those with more time should consider a jaunt through the towering redwoods, its many hiking trails and inviting locales in the Russian River Valley to the west as this “Vacation Wonderland” brings you to pristine beaches at the Pacific Ocean.  Signature oak woodlands interspersed with picturesque rolling vineyards can be found in bucolic country settings as you leave the city and venture further north and east.  While Sonoma County is renowned for its many medal-winning wineries, do not overlook its exploding craft beer scene while you’re here!  Home to over 20 breweries, the county has fast become a hotbed destination for those that enjoy tipping back a good pint…or four.  And don’t forget to sample some of the great local dining options that abound featuring the aforementioned array of local wine and beer, as well as cider, produce, meats, cheeses all in a very practiced farm-to-table feel.  If you’re inclined to get an early taste of all of this, check out the spouse’s program agenda and sign-up…and relax!

Whether you’re a seasoned consultant, a brand new arborist or tree climber, tenured municipal forester, eager environmental community organization, scientist, academic, trade person, industry sponsor or tree-lover of any shade, we welcome everyone to come and experience what will surely be an outstanding conference celebrating “Old Growth, New Growth” with a diverse community of arboricultural professionals!

I look forward to blooming with you this Spring!
Jimi
Jimi Scheid, 2018 Annual Conference Chair

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