President's Perspective - Spring 2019

By Carol Kwan on Friday, March 22, 2019

President’s perspective: Spring 2019
We’re in this boat together

Carol Kwan

Aloha Kakou !

I was a child when man first walked on the moon and I remember seeing the image of the Earthrise from the moon. Earth looked so fragile and small. Those early space images of the Earth were the inspiration of Earth Day, along with the philosophy of “Earth is all we’ve got, we’d better take care of her!”

As arborists and tree workers, we do our part in helping to make the world a better place, but I’m sure that many of us look around and wonder “Is it enough?” I think we can each do more without having to expend a great deal of effort and yet have great results. WCISA is approximately 3,500 members strong. Within our Chapter, we have approximately 8,000 credential holders including CA, CTW, TRAQ, US and MS. If we take the time to learn what pests and diseases our Departments of Agriculture (DOA) and universities are concerned about and report anything suspicious that we see in the field to the appropriate agencies, we increase the chances that pests and diseases can be eradicated before they become established.

In 2009, Darcy Oishi – an entomologist from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) – attended an Aloha Arborist Association (AAA) meeting, where he shocked our local arborists by announcing that HDOA’s survey entomologist, the person whose job it was to go around looking for new infestations, had been laid off due to recessionary budget cuts. The HDOA asked for help in keeping an eye open for pests and diseases that could be originating from areas with high commercial traffic to Honolulu, such as California and Guam. Out of that meeting, a public/private (HDOA/AAA) partnership began. Also around that time, AAA began its “Pest of the Month” series, featuring local pests, diseases, or pest alerts at each meeting. The HDOA/AAA partnership continued to grow. HDOA valued AAA’s arborists as educated landscape professionals who were more likely to recognize and identify new pest problems correctly than the public. There were also far more arborists in the field than HDOA employees. As a result of this partnership, two new pests were found and brought to the HDOA’s notice in 2012: 1) Ficus microcarpa’s Stem Gall Wasp, which was previously unknown to science, and 2) Lobate Lac Scale (Paratachardina pseudolobata), which is believed to have been introduced to Hawaii from Florida. While eradication of the pests was not possible, research on how to deal with them started much earlier than it would have if not for the arborists’ actions.

Public/private partner­ships work, but they need to start somewhere – from a position of trust and mutual respect. It also requires someone from both sides to reach across and bridge the Public/Private gap. It’s by working together to fight the challenges we face that we can make the world a better place.

The theme of the 2019 WCISA Annual Conference is “We’re in this Boat Together” with the boat being Mother Earth. There are pests, diseases, and other invasive species that each State in our Chapter is dealing with. By educating arborists in the rest of our States about what to look for, those of us in the arboriculture industry can serve as an early-detection network to protect our local environments. If we see something different or new, and it’s attacking something in our local urban forest, we can say something to the proper authorities by submitting photos, samples and/or the locations so the authorities can investigate and act if appropriate. Can one person solve all the problems of the world? Of course not. However, each of us can make the world a better place by working with others who have the same goal. Whether they are “just like us” or not, we’re in this boat together – and when we work together, we can make a difference.

Our Program Committee has put together an exciting program for this Annual Conference, with world class speakers, including Cecil Konijnendijk van den Bosch, professor of Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia and an ISA Board member, as our keynote speaker, talking about A Sinking Ship or Cruising Towards Bright Horizons: The Bigger Picture of Pests and Diseases in Urban Forestry. We also have speakers who are pest and disease experts from each of our Chapter States, including John Richardson and Ursula Schuch from Arizona, Igor Lacan and John Kabashima from California, Darcy Oishi and Zhiqiang Cheng from Hawaii, and Molly Sinnott and Dennis Swartzell from Nevada.

Our Utility Foresters will have the opportunity to learn about controlling invasive vegetation in utility corridors with Vince Mikulanis, Don Akau and Michael Daleo, Utility TRA Best Management Practices with Kevin Eckert, updated ANSI A300 standards for Integrated Vegetation Management with Geoff Kempter, and Managing Tree Die-Off with Amber Krebbers.

Last but not least, our Urban Foresters will be learning about climate change challenges with Igor Lacan, what it takes to preserve a $10M tree from a common urban pest by Steve Nimz, a historical perspective on responding to pest invasions from Walt Warriner, and an ecological approach to urban landscapes with Richard Quinn.

Want to learn more? Our Annual Conference is a great place to do that. Check out for more information and to register. Hope to see you in Honolulu!


Carol Kwan