“Once there was a tree…” It’s the first sentence from the beloved children’s book, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. As the story goes, the Giving Tree provides a little boy she loves with everything he needs as he grows up – her leaves to play with, apples to eat, branches to make a home and, eventually, her trunk to build a boat and sail away. The story reminds us how vital trees are for all of us, providing food, lumber, beauty and life.
But caring for the health of trees is about more than just appreciating all they give us. It takes years of education and training to develop a knowledge of soil science, plant biology, pest management, and disease prevention. That’s why the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) developed an entire apprenticeship pathway into this industry through its Wisconsin Apprenticeship System. The Arborist Registered Apprenticeship started in 2016, the first program of its kind in the country.