Heather Dover

Arborist, Davey Tree Expert Company of Canada, Ltd.

I was born/grew up in: Mount Pleasant, Ontario Canada.

I now live in: Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

I completed my training/education at: Growing up, my family taught me to maintain the property we lived on. This included trimming and removing trees, as well as general landscaping practices. I have always been a creative, adventurous and active individual. With a diploma in Marketing and a diploma in Snow Resort Operations, I had limited formal training prior to beginning my career in Arboriculture. Before applying to any tree care companies, I acquired a Chainsaw Certification with Arbor Canada.

Describe what you do at work.

Depending on the client, location and weather, the activities of an Arborist can vary. We often complete work for municipalities, utilities or residential property owners. On a daily basis we use a variety of tools. This can include: chainsaws, hydraulic tools, pole saws, pole pruners, and other various hand tools. We also use climbing harnesses and related equipment such as ropes, carabiners, pulleys and other systems. The use of an aerial lift truck, dump truck and wood chipper is typical, but we might also use cranes and stump grinders too.

Arborists create and review Job Plans in order to complete tasks safely and efficiently. With this tool, everyone understands their roles and responsibilities so they can be best prepared for any scenario. The identification of potential and existing hazards is a major requirement before, during and after a task. We must consider what tools are needed to complete the work or, if the task is unsafe, to not begin work at all. Whether removing an entire tree or just a few limbs we must identify when and where hazards exist in order to decide if and how they will be removed. For a safe job site, we must follow specific safety standards, wear approved personal protective equipment, and constantly maintain, inspect and practise safe use our equipment. Safety comes first and foremost when making decisions on the job. We also consider how our decisions affect the tree we are focused on.

A career in Arboriculture requires an understanding of Biology, Physics and Engineering. We use a wide range of STEM skills not limited to Problem Solving, Creativity, Intellectual Curiosity, Data-Driven Decision-Making and Flexibility. Arborists may work in a team environment, where communication is of the utmost importance. If you have a worker aloft, trimming or removing a tree, the ground workers need to be consistently aware of the activity at hand and act accordingly. Some Arborists may work alone, completing an inventory of trees in a woodlot for a client or potentially treating diseased trees with plant healthcare practices.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect peoples lives?

Trees play an important role in our ecosystems. They are everywhere we go and provide many benefits. In addition to being visually pleasing, trees offer shade, produce oxygen, provide food and prevent soil erosion. Without proper care they may grow into power lines or encroach on people’s property. If they grow into power lines, this can lead to power outages and harmful collapses when weather becomes severe. Arborists are experts in their field. We strive to provide a professional service while supporting an excellent client experience. The constant need for planning, planting, maintenance and removal of trees makes our career relevant. We do what is necessary to preserve our trees so they can thrive for generations. There is so much more to a career in Arboriculture than just cutting trees. It is a field with constant learning and development, a real art to become skilled in.

What motivates you in your career?

Personally, this career is rewarding because of its challenging nature both physically and mentally. This trade feeds my constant desire to seek knowledge and improvement. The difference between every tree is something I value because it provides a level of variety in my work. Motivation arises when I get to learn something new or practice a specific skill. Simply put, I get excited approaching any job, big or small. The visual "before and after" effect of tree work can also deliver immediate satisfaction. It provides a sense of pride and accomplishment for me, and a sense of relief and content for my clients. It is a mutualistic relationship. The fact that I spend my entire day outside is what I enjoy most about my job. Often times I pause to feel the sun on my face, or take a really deep breath of fresh air, and consider how fortunate I am to be able to do so. Truly, I love my trade.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

When I was deciding on post-secondary subjects to study, I wasn’t aware of careers in Arboriculture. Growing up in a rural area, I loved spending time outdoors and physical activity. These characteristics moved me to attend Georgian College in Ontario, Canada, for Snow Resort Operations. Shortly after receiving my diploma, my creative mind took me to obtain another a diploma in Business Marketing.

Before I became an employee of Davey Tree I was working in an office and found myself wanting a change. A career in Arboriculture was attractive because I knew I would be spending my days outside, stimulating my mind and remaining physically active. From there I did some research and found myself applying for positions. Although my experience was limited, I was confident my passion for the industry and willingness to learn would make me a valuable employee.

Since working for Davey Tree I have participated in many courses online, in the classroom and in the field. Currently, I am in the third year of my apprenticeship. After I have completed my required hours in the field, I will challenge the industry exams to become a certified Arborist. My parents, friends and colleagues have all influenced my decisions relating to my career. Without their support I wouldn’t be where I am today. They taught me to be confident and follow my dreams.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy watching movies, reading and spending time at the cottage. Whether I am kayaking, wakeboarding, swimming or boating, there is something that draws me to the water and I am happiest when I am near it. I practice yoga, love to hike, play guitar, repurpose items, wood-work and cook.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Don't ever let a lack of experience deter you from a career (or anything) you're interested in. If you have a great attitude and a passion to learn, your skills can be developed. Learn everything you can and get involved. There is nothing to lose in asking questions if there is something you’re curious about. Send in a resume and see where it takes you.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.

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