Sunday, February 3, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Our Station is 3 years old

*** 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 , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

By the time this message is issued, the ISA HK/China Station is already 3 years old.

We have seen tremendous changes in our Station in the last 3 years, from the membership of 1 no. to the current + 580 no. Station Mail covers a geographic region from Japan to New Zealand in the Pacific Rim & Station Blog is even more far reaching to many countries in the world ( Our last Certified Arborist (CA) exam was housing 80 no. of candidates, & the number of our CA has reached 84 no. by Dec 2007. Half of our CA work in various Govt Depts spreading influence, & TCHK was set up as an extension of our Station to attract Chinese speaking population to learn tree climbing & Arborist work. The translation of the ISA Glossary is near completion for final review in open Station Mail & ISA has become a household name in our landscape industry. Our team of Proctors & CTW Evaluators are under expansion to prepare for future advancement into China & ETF is firmly established with quality trees grown to international requirement to show our brothers & sisters . ISA HK/China has indeed grown from insignificance to something giving impact in our community within rather a relatively short time.

Success of our Station, whether in our communication or other activities, may lie in the fact that we have interpreted complicated knowledge of Arboriculture & translated them into laymen term for the understanding of our public, with an attitude of fact-finding & truth-telling in reality with our local situation. It has been touching & relevant to our supporters, many of whom are genuine tree lovers. We also have a simple & efficient structure which is able to make quick & responsive decision without much complication. Our core team of CA Family is united & understanding, something of an envy to other organizations which are having meeting after meeting to eternity. It is this kind of efficient administration which makes ISA HK/China grow with speed & stability.

The quality of our Station Membership is also encouraging. The last count has given a + 60% being a Degree Holder, with approx. 50% having a Master Degree of some kind. We have landscape architects, engineers, lawyers, doctors, professors, architects..... all the way down to housewives & students in our categories, making us one of the most diversified greenery group in HK. Approx. 40% of our Station Members are Civil Servants of various ranks & we have Station Members from 12 Govt Depts joining.

One word worthy to mention here is that anyone joining ISA HK/China is out of a personal capacity & does not represent any organization or Dept. All views collected are out of a personal nature & not representative of any organization or body.

Our Govt are currently seen as the biggest supporter for proper tree care in HK & our Station. The Station Manager has been invited to provide arbor seminars to several Govt Depts & is lecturing Tree Supervision at CITA. Govt Depts have also introduced professional capacity like Independent Tree Specialist & Competent Person for tree work. Some Depts are beginning to require an Arborist Report for regular tree maintenance & pruning. For work near Old & Valuable Trees, it is more or less mandatory to have Arborist supervision to ensure governance. Different arbor training programs are also being designed & envisaged by the Govt to help upbring the tree care standard in our community.

On the other hand, this Station feels that we still have to devote much work on the public sector to entice their attention for proper tree care, after our continuous effort to approach them. Not even one invitation has been received by this Station from any group after our many mail to them for seminars. It appears ironical that the public are shouting for better tree care constantly but would not approach the Arborists for it. Then may we ask where they think they can get better ??

So far so good for our knowledge propagation in our society, on the other hand & maybe sadly, not much positive action on the execution side can be detected by this Station with regard to tree work & maintenance in overall terms besides reduction in tree topping. Tree selection & specifications have hardly changed, & pruning with Crown Raising still seems to be the preferred method after topping. Trees are still transplanted with undersized rootballs & nursery trees in many development appeared to have no change in quality as compared to the past. What this Station worries is that our tree care practice would become like Opium Smoking in old time China. Everyone knew it was bad but everyone went on doing it, until the gunboats appeared. We have regular typhoons in HK every year. Our gunboats are the typhoons.

Comparing to massive China, HK should be able to sail like a speedboat to develop proper tree care with an efficient Govt & clean administrative system. Some may say we are already moving too fast but our trees are maturing equally quickly. Do we need another event of thousands of trees failing before we blame on 'Act of God' again & never on ourselves? Are our taxpayers money well spent by carrying on the old way & do we meet up with public expectation whenever we can? There are indeed questions that we can ask ourselves.

HK can & will influence China in tree care. If HK can move ahead with better trees, China would peek & follow. China is a green site as far as international arboriculture is concerned. There is still not even one indigenous Certified Arborist or Certified Tree Climber in China up to date among the 1.3 billion population. China may be waiting for HK to lead them.

3 years have passed & this Station has tasted initial success. However, there is no time for complacency & the road ahead is long & winding. After HK if accomplished, we have Macau, Taiwan & China waiting for us. We need joint & group efforts to carry on improve our trees locally & to lead our brothers & sisters up north. It may become a lifetime mission for some of us.

May we work together to improve the quality of our trees, & thus the standard of living in our community, one tree at a time & one place at a time.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (