Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ISA HK/China --- First RCA in Asia (亞洲首位 "顧問樹藝師")

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*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at http://isahkchina.blogspot.com , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members, Media & Politician Friends, & Public,

ISA HK/China is pleased to inform you that our Station Manager (SM) Mr. Sammy Au, has just become the first Registered Consulting Arborist in Asia . His certification no. is RCA # 497. He is also the first coloured person & the only Chinese to obtain this prestigious title in the 40 years of history of RCA, & scored a 98.5% in his Final Exam to rank among the highest in the record. This is good news to the Arborists in our territory, as we have proven that we can now stand among the best in the world.

RCA is known to be the highest qualification in practicing arboriculture in the American Continent, & the bigger countries in America have more trees than any single country in Europe. RCA is an international qualification, not national or that of a city. Ever since the RCA system began in the 1960's, no more than 500 RCA's were produced, with only around 300 of them still living. Famous RCA would include Jim Clark & Nelda Matheny who have made tremendous contribution in Tree Risk Assessment in ISA. Others like Prof. Kim Coder regularly provides research on Tree Biology & Biomechanics in ISA. RCA can be considered as the Creme de la Creme in the Arborist Profession.

The RCA requires testing for much more than multiple-choice questions. One also cannot join an "instant" program to become an RCA. The whole idea of RCA is to float up the elite. Even the Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA) of ISA can satisfy only part of the entry requirements to become an RCA. At the 2010 ASCA Academy (www.asca-consultants.org), several BCMA's studying with the SM decided to drop out of the RCA program later, because they simply found it too hard.

Most RCA's today are over 45 years of age, & have practiced in the industry for decades. It is an international honour given to the experienced. For those of us who consistently favour overseas credentials (外來的和尚才會唸經?) to our well constructed QA (http://isahkchina.blogspot.com/2010/09/isa-hkchina-qualified-arborist-qa.html) & IPA (http://isahkchina.blogspot.com/2010/04/isa-hkchina-hk-tree-news-14410-report.html), they should try the RCA. ISA HK/China has actually modeled our QA credential after the RCA.

Regular work of RCA includes advanced Tree Risk Assessment, Expert Witness in Court, arboricultural consultation to junior Arborists, & independent advice to Govt Agencies. Page 206 of the Arborists' Certification Study Guide (Lilly, Sharon 2010) describes to bring in the "Consulting Arborist", if there is any doubt when assessing Tree Risk. The RCA is the "Consulting Arborist" there, because the RCA has gone through sophisticated training & is a senior professional. The relationship between the Certified Arborist (CA) & RCA should be compared to the Solicitor & Barrister. CA frequently calls in RCA to assist his work for advanced consultation & independent opinion, as well as avoidance of liabilities. RCA is also favoured in Tree Dispute to act as an independent party to give expert opinion.

To become an RCA, the candidate must attend the ASCA Academy in North America. No exception. Technical Writing, Professional Ethics, Forensic Science & US laws will be taught, all in US language & speed. The candidate will go through contentious conditions simulated in US Court to learn survival techniques. Passing the Academy is the only way to become an RCA. Failing that, the candidate will fail all. For overseas candidate who has to invest time, money & jetlag to come to the Academy, failing will be a very poor choice. Those of us who are used to "fast-food style" of getting certificates in our territory, may find the ASCA Academy a curse. One must go very determined & well prepared.

Out of all the difficulties to become an RCA, the SM found mastering Technical Writing the hardest. It is something revolutionary to his Administrative English practiced over the years from Britain to HK. Technical Writing is modern communication which demands simplicity, accuracy & effectiveness. It is variant to the conventional Business English we use in HK. But it produces efficient & convincing messages, not those boring drags. In his strife to learn this latest skill, the SM frequently slept with mountains of books & videos, & not his wife. Even now he is surrounded by the latest publications. He also pays her double in household allowance plus many flowers & gifts, just to shut her up.

ASCA Academy is held in the deep winter of North America when everybody is free, but then the Jet Stream in the northern globe is most active for air travel. When the SM flew his 14 hour across the Pacific this February, 80% of the time the plane was jolting up & down like a rodeo. It was not an enjoyable experience at all. Insider later told him that taking a ride on a 250 kmh Jet Stream would save tremendous fuel for the plane. To fly a 7,000 mile leg across the Pacific, this would mean excellent economy. Therefore, never mind the wing tips flipping like birds outside. Just pray & sit tight to get there safe. Planes are made for that.

Ever since the sudden explosion of Arborist work in HK from 2008, most of our CA are really working as a Consultant of some kind, whether in Tree Risk Assessment, Tree Work or training. Very few CA climb & rig trees in our territory like an IPA. The RCA may become a final destination to our CA, if they want to reach the highest peak. We shall issue a separate Station Mail on ASCA later, to elaborate further on this elite group of Consulting Arborists.

With the SM now becoming an RCA, ISA HK/China is led by the top best in the profession to develop ISA in our territory. We shall also take full advantage of it to penetrate China. China may have many Professors & PhD's, but they do not have an RCA. Academic qualifications alone do not make an expert Arborist, but years of experience, profound knowledge & specialist skills. Pragmatic people like the Chinese will soon appreciate the value of RCA, & demand for it. The RCA may become another golden pursuit to them after the CA.

RCA has now landed in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. ISA HK/China will continue to upgrade our profession, to join the international community, & to contribute to our society. We'll follow the ISA Mission, & do all these one tree & one Arborist at a time.

best regards,

Sammy Au

Station Manager


"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."


本會會長 歐永森先生 已剛考獲 美洲顧問樹藝師學會的 "顧問樹藝師" 名銜,成為全亞洲首位的 "顧問樹藝師" (Registered Consulting Arborist, RCA),他的牌照號是 RCA#497

除此以外,他亦以 98.5% 的高分通過最後一組考試 (100分為滿分),成為40年來合格率最高分的考生之一;他也是 RCA 系統成立40多年以來,唯一的有色人種和華人,來考獲這特殊名銜。


"顧問樹藝師" 的工作包括資深樹木風險評估,庭上技術證人,對初級樹藝師提供技術支援,和向部門機構提供獨立專業意見,性質有如大律師向律師提供服務一樣。"顧問樹藝師" 的工作往往由 "注冊樹藝師"(Certified Arborist) 轉介,雙方關係緊密合切。

現今 本會已由世界頂尖級的專業人員領導,相信未來本會的發展將會更上一層樓,精益求精。

本會再次感謝 會員們及社會各屆給我們的不斷支持。


國際樹木學會 中國地區分會 會長


顧問樹藝師號 RCA#497