Saturday, June 12, 2010

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (How we would work with the media)

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Dear Station Members,

The newspaper report below by the largest press in HK on the Tree Management Office (TMO) would be heart-breaking to us if similar comments are written on ISA HK/China. We also would have a lot to answer to ISA HQ & Station Members if such thing happens. Incidentally, ISA HK/China remains supportive to TMO & understands their hardship, although we are one of the very few organizations in the green industry openly to say this nowadays.

TMO & ISA HK/China appear to be like two race horses streaming ahead with similar goal, although our path hardly ever crosses so far. TMO would involve with upgrading Tree Management in a city, whereas ISA HK/China would need to develop ISA Arboriculture in any city in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. The dimensions are totally different.

Since ISA HK/China has no financial support, no paid staff, hardly any logistics or with any authority to tell anybody, but with only the enthusiasm of our Station Members, we rely heavily on the media for promotion. The mobile phone of the Station Manager (SM) is open to the media from 8 am to 10 everyday. The press enjoy calling him after 7 pm usually, because they have to submit their report for printing before 3 am in the morning. Getting a call after 10 pm is frequent for the SM, & answering sensitive topics with a clear mind is always a challenge at that time.

ISA HK/China has made good friend with the media in our territory always. We have in average one interview from among the radios, TVs, newspapers or magazines every month, with more if any Tree Incident would occur. The media like taking to us because we speak frank & we are in the profession. Our SM & Deputy Station Mangers (DSM) all come with an Arborist background, & half of them are working for trees for a living. We are all careful to follow ISA Mission when we speak, & we answer any question that we are familiar with without pretence. If the media is not happy with just talking to us in an office setting, we would throw up a rope on the tree to dangle in mid-air to let them take breath-taking pictures. The media love the show. They would truly believe that we are the genuine professionals, & give us good marks in their writing.

The media also apprehend our IPA ( class of membership, which is the only ISA credential in any Chapter that tests more than just multiple choice questions. The IPA credential demands legal knowledge ('O' Level Laws), communication ('A' Level English), international networking (ISA Conference) & practicing skills (10 m high Rigging). It also requires staying for a minimum of 3 years as Certified Arborist & Certified Tree Worker for professional experience. The media regard the IPA as a professional level for a Tree Practitioner. Therefore they sell it for us.

ISA HK/China has been winning the 'heart & mind' of the media in the past 5 years. We are seen as a Greenery Miracle in our territory with no resources given, but only the keen participation of a group of good men & women. The media want us to succeed for the good of our society.

In a democratic society, the media would influence the politicians, & the politicians would demand from the Govt. When we are comfortable with the media, we've got a friend on our side. This helps.

May we continue our course to develop ISA Arboriculture in our territory for the good of our society, 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."