A Thank you from our Conference Chair

Greetings to all attendees of the WCISA 84th Annual Conference and Trade Show!  For those that could spend some time in beautiful Santa Rosa, I think it can be safely said that the conference was not only rewarding educationally and from a networking and relationship-building standpoint, but allowed for a very relaxed environment in which to take in all the sights and sounds.

The diverse array of presenters, talks and exhibitors were hopefully as varied as the backgrounds and interests of our attendees.  Elements of tree care, forest management, utility and post-fire assessments, consulting, marketing, cutting-edge research and benefits of trees were but a handful of areas covered to keep the speaking and networking sessions interesting.  Combined with the pre and post-conference events (the field day at Bennett Valley Golf Club and the tour at Santa Rosa Junior College), I think that an interesting variety of settings and focus areas were provided throughout our week together to ensure that all our members’ interests were accounted for.

A big shout out to all that were able to raise money for tree research and to those that gave back to our host city while we were there.  As usual, the Britton Fund bike ride, silent auction, golf outing and 50/50 sales, combined, were very prodigious in the attention drawn and funds generated to improve the knowledge and understanding of what trees can provide our communities.  A special thanks to the Britton Fund for the generous donation to the Santa Rosa Parks Foundation and the Mayor of Santa Rosa for restoring areas of the community devastated by wildfire.  This gratitude extends to those willing volunteers and arborists that came out to Fountaingrove before the conference to lend a hand and their skills to plant hundreds of needed trees with the California Urban Forests Council, the Arbor Day Foundation and Comcast in areas ravaged by October’s flames.  It truly is inspiring to see our industry make a difference and remember their roots.

A thanks to the leadership that played instrumental roles in making this year’s event a success.  The tireless efforts of Epicenter Management cannot be overstated.  They are truly the engine that could when it comes to planning for and pulling off an undertaking of this magnitude; the details of which are numerous and cannot be fully acknowledged here.  The board of directors and committees that assist in organizing and collaborating for this yearly charge cannot be forgotten either.  The leadership that ushered in the conference, and all the steps leading up to it are integral in its success.

A tip of the hat, as well, to the wonderful, communicative and assistive staff at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country hotel that made our stay as smooth and efficient as possible.  The consolidated and complete nature of the floorplan, meals, vendors, entertainment and networking programs made for a very digestible format on both foot and stomach.  How about those beer options??!!

As mentioned in my opening remarks at the conference, I acted as but a figurehead, a ring-leader so to speak, for the volumes of work being done by those involved in the many conference committees throughout the last year.  The amount of not only work conducted, but the passion, pride and professionalism exuded by all the volunteers involved is humbling to say the least.  To see such a complex plan come to life over those many months with nary a hitch is truly a testament to the many talents of our membership; a caring group of individuals that were able to put some of their regular duties on hold in order to collaborate across their unique disciplines to see the job done and, importantly, to ensure that you, the membership, left feeling satisfied.  The outpouring of thanks I personally received during the event was overwhelming and hard to take in given the actual efforts put in by the assemblage of committee supporters.  Please do think about sending them a sign of your appreciation as well if you did not have a chance to do it in Santa Rosa.  They are the backbone of the 2018 conference.

Furthermore, if you really want to show your support, consider serving on an annual conference committee in the future or, if not, look into lending your talents to any of the many productive Administrative, Obligatory, Standing or Optional Committees that realize the goals of our Chapter throughout each year.  Our organization is only as strong as the contributions of its members to it, and by extension, each other.  Please consider making a small gesture of your time and energy to advance this organization and the professional practices we all endorse.

The thanks are many for those that supported me in serving as the 2018 Annual Conference Chair.  Chief amongst these thanks would be to outgoing President Rick Gessner and Executive Director Rose Epperson for inviting me to serve in this role in the first place.  It was indeed an opportunity for personal growth and an experience I won’t soon forget in as much as the execution of the conference itself.  I hope that those of you that spent time in Sonoma County this past April came away with lasting impressions of value as you reentered your duties closer to home.  For those that were not able to make it, you most definitely missed out!  Hopefully though, we will see you all in Hawaii next year!


Jimi Scheid


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Great News! Future Professionals in Arboriculture: Student Scholarships Available

Conference groupAttention Students! The Western Chapter invites students to apply for a scholarship to attend the the WCISA 84th Annual Conference & Trade Show is Santa Rosa on April 23 – April 26, 2018. The Student Scholarship will cover conference registrations and/or lodging. Students must be enrolled at a 2 or 4 year College or University pursuing a degree in Arboriculture or related fields. 

For More Information and to apply Click Here!

If you would like to help and donate toward the Student Scholarship fund please contact Rita Franco at rita@wcisa.net (559) 784-8733 ext. 104. Sponsors will be recognized on a poster display at the conference.


Application deadline April 2nd

Keynote Speaker, Lynda V. Mapes

I am a newspaper reporter and author, an explorer and reveler in the natural world, native plants and species of eveCapturery sort. I’m driven to go deep, look long, stay awhile.

My photos and journalism and books are the result of a lifelong fascination with the natural world and our connection to it.  I work from all five senses — and especially, the critical sixth: a sense of wonder.

Come along with me at the Witness Tree page of this site, and enjoy the blog about my year in 2014-5 as a Bullard Fellow in Forest Research, living at the Harvard Forest to explore the human and natural history of a single 100-year old oak tree. Read About the Book on my website, for reviews, events, and how to order the book I wrote about my year with the oak, Witness Tree, published by Bloomsbury Publishing in April, 2017.

Ms. Mapes will be holding a booking signing during our break on Tuesday morning. You can find out more about the Witness Tree book below.

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 Scheid, 2018 Annual Conference Chair

Call for Presentations for the 2018 Annual Conference!

The theme for our 2018 Annual Conference is “Old Growth, New Growth – Bridging the Gap,” is a play on words from the more traditional forestry meaning. Old growth forests are those that have attained significant age without having sustaining major disturbances, such as wildfire, deforestation, pest outbreaks, climate change, etc., and thereby exhibit unique ecological features and provide important environmental benefits. The forest or stand that regenerates naturally or is planted is referred to as new or secondary growth. We plan to expand this concept to include both urban and developing forest lands that are in decline due to drought, climate change, secondary and destructive exotic pests, adverse growing conditions, senescence, and sub-standard practices. We will be looking at strategies for replacing the many threatened, ill-adapted, and aging trees throughout the southwest.

– long-term implications of climate change in the West
– widespread forest mortality throughout the West
– changes in natural tree distribution, species conversion, loss of critical habitat, disturbances to wildlife, loss of watershed, and other resource values connected to climate change
– oaks and the changing landscape
– facilitating oak regeneration
– factors associated with urban tree mortality around the southwest
– tree health concerns in California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada
– new and destructive introduced pests: prognosis and managing strategies
– loss of critical canopy cover and collective carbon-storage in urban areas, with respect to human health, demographics, and economics
– strategies for extending the useful lifespan of urban trees
– challenges associated in replacing aging, declining, threatened, and ill-adapted trees in urban forests around the chapter and elsewhere
– promising new or underutilized tree species for a hotter, dryer climate
– proper tree planting and early tree care practices
– improving root zone conditions for trees
– mitigating adverse soil conditions
– ways to provide more soil volume for tree roots
– new irrigation technology
– improved maintenance practices
– designing infrastructure with trees in mind
– application of new technologies to improve tree management
– plant restoration projects following disturbances
– soil microbiology/maintaining soil health