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Trainee arborists give trees a going-over

Wintec treeThe majestic trees in Hastings’ parks have been getting a thorough going-over this week, by a keen bunch of visiting student arborists.

The work by the Wintec students from Hamilton included the removal of high-hanging storm-damaged branches, pruning, the removal of a dead gingko tree in Cornwall Park; and cleaning up after themselves by chipping and raking.

On Wednesday [April 11], they were in groups ranged across Cornwall Park; some of them about 15m up the English oaks near the cricket grounds removing dead branches (and a stranded kite); others at the southern end of the park working on removing a dead gingko.

Levi Clothier (level 4) took charge of the felling of the 15m tree. “The first step was to assess the tree to make sure it’s safe to climb.”

Having confirmed that it was safe, he limbed it from the bottom, climbing with his chainsaw and spikes. “Then I bombed the top out, and coming back down dropped sections of the tree as I came down.”

With about 6m of the tree left it was felled from the bottom, the trunk ringed and the site cleared.

The two-dozen students, accompanied by six tutors, were a mix of males and females across levels three, four and five of their studies. Off-campus trips gave students experience in an industry-based environment, said tutor Jono Summers. Many would be passing project-based assessments required for their course work while they were on site.

Hastings District Council head arborist Steve Leggett, a graduate of the Wintec arboriculture course, invited the students and tutors. “From Council’s point of view, it’s about showing the students Hastings and doing our bit by providing on-site training for the next generation of arborists. As well as that, having them so visible in our parks raises the profile of arboriculture to our residents.”

It was also an opportunity to get students at different levels of their qualification working together, said tutor Andrew Harrison. We have level fours and fives up in the trees, with the level threes doing ground work. “It’s about team work.”

Council has strong commitments to both the profiling of the region and to the development of youth. “This is a wonderful initiative,” said Council’s social and cultural development chairman Malcolm Dixon. “As well as giving these students a taste of Hastings, we are able to give them the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to good use. These kind of relationships also mean our students in different fields are able to make the most of opportunities in other regions.

“Of course, the added bonus this time, is that our trees have had a good clean up to ensure they stay safe and healthy. That is very important, given they are in such public high-use areas in our parks.”

The students were travelling back to Hamilton today [April 13]. 

13 April 2018

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