Speaker Abstracts

Check out our conference agenda and speaker biographies below! Also available as PDFs: conference agenda and speaker biographies.

Interactive agenda

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Wednesday, Feb. 20

7:30–8:30 am: Registration
8:00 am–12:00 pm: ISA Certified Arborist Municipal and/or Utility Specialist Exam
9:00–9:30 am: Opening Ceremonies
Conference welcome by John Stewart, ISAO President. Education committee welcome by Mandy Vandenberg, ISAO Ed. Committee Chair.
9:30–10:30: Woundwood, Callus, Decay & Plant Health Care by Chris Luley
Assessment of callus and woundwood are critical to evaluating tree health and resistance to pests and decay fungi. Wound response is also directly tied to the ability of trees to contain decay fungi both before and after infection. Learn how to identify the various wound responses of trees, what they mean for pest and decay resistance, and when specific wood decay fungi are present in a tree.
10:30–11:00 am: Tradeshow and Refreshment Break
11:00 am–12:00 pm: General Tree Physiology by Christine Balk
12:00–1:00 pm: Tradeshow and Lunch Break
1:00–2:00 pm: Common Decay Fungi and TreeRot.com by Chris Luley
This presentation will guide arborists on identification of decay fungi, and their appropriate treatments within an Integrated Pest Management program (IPM), and is based on a free, recently developed website, treerot.com. Wood decay is the most common disease of urban and landscape trees, and management of decay diseases within an IPM program is essential knowledge for arborists. Treatments for decay will be discussed and can range from the use of pesticides to tree removal depending on the pathogen present and severity of the disease. The reasons that plant health care treatments to improve tree vigor and enhance host resistance are the most effective means to manage decay infected trees will be presented. However, any treatment prescription for decay is based on identification of the pathogen present.
2:00–2:15 pm: Arborist Ground Worker Training Program and Strategic Plan Update by Ken Gillies and Julie Tucker
2:15–3:15 pm: Dissection of Compartmentalization Pathways, Boundaries, and Barriers in Living Trees by Kevin Smith and Guy Meilleur
3:15–3:45 pm: Tradeshow and Refreshment Break
3:45–4:45 pm: Root Rot, Really? By Chris Luley
Root rot is a bogus diagnosis! Root rot represents at least four different possible diagnoses each with different etiologies and possible treatments. This presentation will explore these different causes of root rot in trees, their indicators, along with some of the primary causal agents and methods of remediation.
5:00–6:00 pm: Affiliation Group Meetings
MAUF Municipal Arborists and Urban Foresters | WAO Women in Arboriculture Ontario | OCAA Ontario Commercial Arborists’ Association Dinner | UAA Utility Arborists Association | OTCC Competitor’s Discussion Forum | CTF Canadian Tree Fund Annual General Meeting
8:00 pm–12:00 am: Hospitality Night and CTF Games

Thursday, Feb. 21

7:30–8:00 am: Registration and All-Day Bookstore
7:00–8:00 am: Breakfast
8:00–8:15 am: ISAO Morning Greetings and Canadian TREE Fund Update by John Stewart
8:15–9:15 am: Dendrochronology of Environmental Disturbance and Change by Kevin Smith
Take the next opportunity to look at tree rings in a pruned branch, stump, or stem section. Each ring is a cross-section of a continuous layer of wood formed to the outside of previously formed layers. Tree rings are a record of growth and environmental disturbance for most trees in the US and in the temperate zone worldwide. Centuries of past observation have linked tree-ring characteristics to environmental factors such as rainfall, although dendrochronology (the art and science of precisely dated tree rings) is only a little more than 100 years old. Rather than botany or forestry, the roots of dendrochronology are in astronomy and archeology. The presence and composition of tree rings tells a lot about tree survival strategies. The most easily measured characteristic of tree rings is the width of the ring in cross-section. Ring width is affected by many things including light, moisture, and temperature. Spatial orientation with respect to the force of gravity and prevailing winds also affects ring width. Defoliating insects and diseases can reduce ring width and affect ring anatomy by reducing the energy available to form new wood. Narrow rings can also result from the loss of crown due to storm breakage. Nonlethal injuries to the vascular cambium can cause a marked stimulation in localized ring width, resulting in ribs of woundwood. Currently, dendrochronology is providing important information on global climate change. Recognizing these patterns can improve our understanding of trees and tree responses to the environment.
9:15–9:45 am: Tradeshow and Refreshment Break

Split programming from 9:45–11:15 am

Tree Worker Stream
9:45–10:30 am: Evolution of Modern Tree Climbing by Phil Kelley
Looking a systems and techniques that have had the greatest impact in our industry over the last twenty years. Discuss how the changes have occurred and what has driven the change. Also look at how products come to the market and how climbers help evolve and influence change.
10:30–11:15 am: Small and Young Tree Pruning by Chris Luley
Training young trees is arguably the most important tree care management treatment we have to prolong the lifespan of a tree—yet it is often ignored until it is too late to correct developing defects. This presentation will introduce a repeatable easy to learn pruning method for landscape professionals. It uses an acronym system, the ABC’s, to lead you through the pruning process in a way that eliminates defects, creates good branch structure, and is easy to recall.
Wildlife Stream
9:45–11:15 am: Guidelines to Managing Wildlife in Urban Areas by Brian French
As arborists, it is our job to evaluate trees and offer solutions to mitigate risks. Often, wildlife habitat exists in “tree risk” in the form of cavities, dead snags, or broken tops. We could say that our job as an arborist is to identify wildlife habitat, than prune or remove it. Risks can be reduced and mitigated while retaining existing wildlife habitat or creating new wildlife habitat. Not all trees need to be used as habitat trees, but in the right place it can make a large difference to the surrounding community. Furthermore, in some instances, removing habitat may be breaking the law. Often climbing arborists are making first ascents into the crowns of trees and may come into contact with wildlife. Knowing regulatory laws and protected species is the arborist’s responsibility.

This class will showcase protected species throughout North America, discuss laws that protect them, and describe protocols when working among protected species. We will discuss and demonstrate how instead of removing trees to the ground, portions can be retained and used to enhance wildlife habitat safety.

Business and Management Stream
9:45–10:30 am: Mental Health in the Workplace by Dean Anderson
10:30–11:15 am: The 5 Levels of Leadership: Where do You Stand? By Neal Glatt
Leadership can be a frustrating practice because even when we seek to improve, just figuring out where we rank can be very difficult. In this session, Neal will teach attendees about the five levels of leadership created by John Maxwell, internationally recognized leadership guru and author of over 100 books, so that they can determine their current leadership ability. Attendees will also learn simple, easy-to-implement ideas to improve their leadership skills which can be applied immediately in their business to improve key performance metrics. Everything rises and falls on leadership, and there is always a shortage of great leaders, so there is no better place to begin improving a business than at the top!

End of split programming

11:15 am–12:30 pm: ISA Ontario Annual Meeting of Members, led by John Stewart
12:40–1:40 pm: Tradeshow and Lunch Break | Women in Arboriculture Lunch
1:40–1:55 pm: OTCC Update by Devin Terris
1:55–2:55 pm: Sap Flow Measurements: A Monitoring Tool of Tree Vitality by Oskar Krisans

Considering the decisive role of water in living processes of plants, appropriate water supply is a key factor for successful urban tree management. In trees, insufficient tissue hydration leads to decreased vitality and increased susceptibility to pathogens and pests. Monitoring of tree water relations provides an insight into both instant and long term tree response to environmental conditions.

Sap flow measurements can reveal differences in water conductivity and functionality of xylem tissues in distinct parts of a tree. For example, we can distinguish roots by their importance in water supply facilitating decision making for appropriate root pruning. Also, the effect of mechanical damage of roots causes changes in radial sap flow pattern. Thus, tree hydraulic redistribution can be traced, showing the course of compensation of sudden water deficiency by well hydrated roots. By applying such techniques, we can follow the course of tree preparation for transplantation, subsequent recovery, etc.

Effect of urban microclimate on tree vitality can be controlled by defining both most appropriate and critical conditions for sufficient hydration of individual trees. For example, high nocturnal sap flow following rainy day indicates night-time recovery after water deficit emerging during previous days. A decrease in sap flow during hot days can indicate water deficit. Monitoring of tree reaction to environmental changes provides important information that can be successfully applied in practice.

Split programming from 3:00–4:30 pm

Tree Planting Stream
3:00–3:45 pm: Long Term Impacts of Container Size on Tree Establishment by Michael Arnold
Ever wonder if small trees catch up to larger trees after transplant? We did too, but most of the existing work had potentially confounding issues with unknown genetics, residual effects of multiple nurseries, or very limited size differentials. So we grew three species of trees, Vitex agnus-castus L. (white flowering clone), Acer rubrum L. var. drummondii (Hook. & Arn. ex Nutt.) Sarg. ‘Maroon’, and Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich. (clone TX8DD38). They were propagated clonally in a sequential manner over two growing seasons and transplanted to consecutively larger containers to obtain five different container sizes of each species conforming to ANSI Z60.1 specifications. Trees from the five container sizes, 3.5, 11.7, 23.3, 97.8, or 175.0 L (#1, #3, #7, #25, or #45, respectively), were transplanted to a sandy clay loam soil in adjacent plots for each species. Each species and container size combination were placed on independent irrigation systems to avoid systematically over or under-irrigating the different species and size trees. Trees from smaller containers tended to recover more quickly from initial transplant stress in terms water stress and photosynthesis and according to these measures all trees were established by the second year after transplant. After just two growing seasons in the field, trees from the four larger containers of V. agnus-castus did not differ statistically in height. By the third year no differences in height were found among trees from all five container sizes of V. agnus-castus. Acer rubrum trees did not differ in height among the various container sizes by the end of the fourth growing season. For slower growing T. distichum trees no differences existed among the heights of the three largest container sizes by the end of the fifth growing season and the T. distichum trees from the two smaller size containers lagged only slightly behind.
3:45–4:30 pm: Planting Trees in Wire Baskets – The Past 30 Years by Glen Lumis
More than 30 years ago, horticultural science researchers at the University of Guelph began studies to determine the implications of planting urban trees in wire baskets. Thinking at the time varied from ‘wire baskets kill trees’ to ‘wire baskets rust away’. The studies, their results, and their publications, unique in North America then and to this day, provide information about tree growth and root establishment. What did we learn then and where are we today? What has the past 30 years shown us?
Municipal Stream
3:00–3:45 pm: Creating a Modern Workforce: A 21st-Century Approach to Management by Neal Glatt
Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."  Companies must face this fact and learn to truly lead in order to survive. We’ll take an in-depth look at the factors that have formed the modern employee and learn why a real commitment to people is a necessity for business survival. Take away practical, data-driven techniques to dramatically increase employee engagement that will result in increased sales, profitability, and retention. 
• Consider what makes this generation of employees different from the past
• Find out why recruitment is too expensive and virtually ineffective
• Discover why management styles that have worked for 200 years suddenly don’t
• Learn how to develop your people and get the best from every employee
Solving the "people problem" is the underlying factor to every business hurdle and frustration today. While pressing issues in the past have focused on sales, profitability, or recruitment, we are operating in a new economy and management ability is the essential key to success.
3:45–4:30 pm: Spatial Reasoning: Why and How GIS Can Improve Your Arboricultural Work by James Dennis

Trees in urban areas are assets to those communities. Effectively maintaining and preserving those trees is difficult, though, because the interactions between all living things and their environment are dynamic relationships, and the responses of living things to changes in their environment are unpredictable as a result. Increasingly, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are being used to support urban forest management because they can store location information and be updated and shared easily, which are basic necessities for any tool used in managing the ever-changing urban forest.

Six years ago, we never used a GIS for our arboricultural work. As time went on, and the projects became more complex, it was clear that there had to be a more efficient way to do the basics if we wanted to stay competitive and give our clients a decent product. The process of collecting arboricultural data on a non-weatherproof PDA while eyeballing the tree locations using printed, large-scale surveys was slow and error prone. Through trial and error, asking questions and determination, we completely changed our workflow so that the hub was the GIS. This change has likely saved hundreds of person-hours in the field and in the office and improved the quality of our work.

Using our firm’s experience as an example, I will demonstrate how easy and valuable integrating a GIS into your workflow can be. I will discuss some GIS basics, some options available to get started and expand with, and some processes to help get consistent, good quality results. Ultimately, a GIS can make many peripheral tasks simpler, helping you focus more attention on the trees.

Mechanics Stream
3:00–3:45 pm: Tree Biomechanics: Where are we now? By Philip van Wassenaer

Recent work in the field of tree biomechanics has helped inform and modernize the new ANSI Tree Risk Assessment standard and ISA Best Management Practices. This presentation will provide an overview of recent advancements from North America and beyond in the field of tree biomechanics including a participant’s perspective on Tree Biomechanics Week 2010 and 2013 and new studies utilizing NASA developed camera technologies to assess stresses in trees.

This presentation will be given from the perspective of a practitioner and participant. Starting with the Tree Structure and Mechanics Conference in 2001, a series of conferences, research projects and scientific/educational gatherings have occurred to address different aspects of tree biomechanics. This includes Tree Biomechanics Weeks in 2010, 2013 and 2016. The presenter has been actively involved in many of those events and will share that experience with the audience through images, research results and videos. The audience will gain greater understanding of the research that has been underway and continues today and how that information may be transferable to the practice areas of risk assessment and conservation arboriculture – the management of aging trees. This talk has been previously presented at The Arboricultural Association’s 49th Annual Amenity Arboriculture Conference, 8-11 September 2013, University of Exeter, UK, the ISA European Congress, May 26-28, 2014, Turin , Italy, the Canadian Urban Forest Conference, Victoria, BC, September 30 – October 3, 2014, the SIAQ Congress, Montreal, Quebec, October 31, 2014, International Society of Arboriculture West Coast Chapter Annual Conference, Yosemite, California, April 30, 2015, and the Arboriculture Australia National Conference, June 1, 2015, Adelaide, Australia.

3:45–4:30 pm: Effect of Stem Mechanical Injuries on Tree Stability Oskar Krisans

In line with morphological parameters of trees, such as crown symmetry and projection, branching angle and attachment, forks etc., stability of trees is largely affected by its health status. Mechanical injuries, such as bark stripping, interferes conductive systems of trees and facilitate spreading of fungal infections into stems, reducing vigour and competitiveness already within a few years, thus leading to decline. Similarly to forest stands, in the urban areas, bark stripping is a common tree mechanical injury caused by human activities.

Weakened trees are considered to have reduced stability leading to increased risk of wind damage, still this issue has not been comprehensively assessed. In this study, we used static pulling tests to analyse the effect of bark stripping on stability of 40-years-old Norway spruce trees growing in an even-aged stand. Anchorage, bending moment at both primary failure and at the collapse were assessed and related to morphometrics of trees.

Negative effect of bark stripping on stability of individual Norway spruce trees was evident; all of the calculated stability parameters were significantly (p<0.05) reduced by the wildlife damages. However, no significant differences in morphometric parameters of the above-ground parts of trees were observed, suggesting that tree stability was influenced by root condition, likely due to fungal infections (root rot).

End of split programming

5:30–11:00 pm: Canadian Tree Fund Silent Auction and Social (Cash Bar)
6:45–11:00 pm: Conference Dinner and Banquet Reception (Dress: smart casual)

Friday, Feb. 22

7:00–8:00 am: Delegate Breakfast
8:00–9:00 am: Translocation by Christine Balk
9:00–10:00 am: Emerging Pest Threats to Ontario’s Urban Forests by Richard Wilson
10:00–10:45 am: Refreshment Break and Check-Out
10:45–11:45 am: Five Minutes is All It Takes by Ronnie Lucas, Sean Hooper and Ian George
11:45 am–12:45 pm: Delegate Lunch Break
12:45–1:15 pm: How to Improve Your Insect ID Skills and Boost Your Career: Join Field Entomology 2019 by David Cheung and Marvin Gunderman

Have you ever found an insect and had no idea what it was? Was it a predator, a beneficial species, or perhaps a new invasive pest? Take part in a 2-day workshop filled with interactive activities designed to sharpen your scouting, identification and management skills for pests and beneficial insects of trees and shrubs. The workshop will take place in the tranquil, natural learning environment of the Queens University Biological Research Station (just north of Kingston). Motivated by their contagious passion for learning, Marvin Gunderman, Dave Cheung and Jen Llewellyn will lead the workshop in an inspiring, engaging, team building style filled with humour and fun.

The workshop is made up of a series of engaging lectures that covers the diversity of insect orders with emphasis on the major orders (Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera and Hemiptera). You will learn about the grotesque nature of parasitic wasps, discover the amazing diversity of flies, be fascinated by the lifecycle of host switching parthenogenic gall-making aphids and much more. After the lectures test your new gained knowledge with one of the many interactive team-based games.

Whether it’s the fast-paced identification game Speed-ID or strategy-filled Insect Guess Who, you and your team are guaranteed to have a great time while learning lots in the process. At the end of the workshop, lies one final group challenge that puts everything you learned to the test, including your identification, scouting and collecting skills!

1:15–2:15 pm: Historic Tree Preservation Techniques by Phil Kelley
Working with Historic Greenwood Cemetery on a 2 year ongoing study on pruning techniques for historic trees. We will look at climber safety and risk mitigation through tree response to techniques such as retrenchment and re-fracture pruning as well as creative options for cabling and bracing.
2:15–3:15 pm: Reconnecting Trees to Soil in Our Landscapes by Chris Fields-Johnson
Forest trees connect to soils through complex relationships with pore space, organic matter, minerals and microbial life. Urban trees often struggle when these relationships break down as a consequence of compaction and organic matter losses. We can reconnect trees with soils and reestablish these relationships through practices which loosen the soil and add organic materials. Topdressing, tillage and incorporation with air tools, vertical mulching, liquid injection, and backfilling are five methods of loosening soil while adding organic materials. Composts, mulches, biosolids, and biochars are four organic materials for use to increase organic matter. These materials feed the microbial food web, give the soil resilience to future compaction, provide nutrients to the trees, and protect the surface of the soil from erosion and crusting. Biochar has the unique property of also providing a means for long-term carbon sequestration. Proper practices will increase rainfall infiltration, soil water storage, and the penetration of air into the soil profile. Increased air penetration allows roots and microbes to grow deeper in the soil profile, effectively increasing the volume of soil available for growth. These practices will be described and illustrated in detail with an inside look at various techniques, experiments, and case studies. The advantages and disadvantages of each technique will be discussed. Urban trees can be made to function and thrive like forest trees with the right skills and tool kit.
3:15–3:30 pm: Conference Close, led by ISAO President Julie Tucker and Mandy Vandenberg

Speakers (in order of appearance)

Chris Luley
Dr. Luley has been providing urban forestry consulting services throughout his 35+ year career in urban forestry and arboriculture. His degrees are from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry (BS-Botany) (MS-Forest Pathology) and Iowa State University (PhD-Plant Pathology working on tree diseases). He managed the Plant Diagnostic Clinic for Iowa State and was State Forest Pathologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation before returning to New York. He has over 50 technical research and popular press articles in publication, and three books in press. He recently created treerot.com to help arborists identify the common wood decay fungi on living trees. Dr. Luley received the R. W. Harris Author’s Award from the International Society of Arboriculture in 2015.

Christine Balk
Christine Balk is a Technical Advisor, specializing in Plant Pathology, with the Davey Institute, The Davey Tree Expert Company in Kent, Ohio. She has a B.S. in Biology from St. Lawrence University and a M.S. in Plant Pathology from The Ohio State University. Throughout her years of schooling, Christine has been involved in various types of research. From analyzing plant DNA, to plant identification, fungicide trials, native plant seed collection, and identifying plant pathogens, Christine has had an array of training. Christine’s employment with Davey includes outreach, teaching, professional presentations and research responsibilities. Christine is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and American Phytopathological Society (APS).
Kevin Smith
Guy Meilleur

Guy Meilleur (“May-er”) is an ISA BoardCertified Master Arborist, and author of 34 Detective Dendro episodes. He is a former curator and lecturer at NC State University, Instructor at Duke University, Staff Arborist at the University of North Carolina. Guy chaired the ANSI A300 standard for tree inspection and root management, and trains with the Veteran Tree Network and the Ancient Tree Forum.

Historic Tree Care values and manages veteran trees. In addition to community education, we manage trees with flare care, soil building, lightning and support systems, and pruning to improve tree health, stability, and longevity.

Phil Kelley
Team Development and Trainer- Wright Tree Service
North American Training Solutions- Lead Instructor since 2009
Contract climber and owner of Samara Tree Preservation Since 2014
25 + years in the Industry
Speaker at TCIA Expo as well as multiple chapter conferences
Speaker at Kletterforum in Augsburg, Germany
Head Judge North American Tree Climbing Championship 2014 – present
Head Technician International Tree Climbing Championship 2013 – present
Head Judge/Technician multiple iSA Chapter Tree Climbing Championship 2009-present
Past President of the Georgia Arborist Association
TCIA ASTI trainer multiple programs
Certified Arborist since 2000
Brian French
Dean Anderson

Strategic Advisor Agriculture Initiatives, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)

Dean received his B.Sc. (Agriculture) from the University of Guelph, Ontario. He has years of experience conducting research and project management in crop protection. Dean has worked with the major crops in the agricultural regions of eastern and western Canada and the United States. Dean has been working in agriculture occupational health and safety for over 18 years and is currently the Strategic Advisor Agriculture Initiatives at WSPS.

Dean currently serves as Chair for the FarmSafe Foundation and is currently Treasurer of CASA’s Board of Directors. Further, he serves on numerous committees nationally and provincially, including the CSA Ag Equipment Technical Committee and Ministry of Labour Farming Technical Advisory Committee, and Arborists Safe Work Practices Committee, to name a few. Dean is currently Treasurer (Past Chair) of the Rural Ontario Institute and Past Chair of the Ontario Institute of Agriculture.

Neal Glatt

Neal Glatt, CSP, ASM joined Case Snow Management, Inc. as an Account Executive in 2010. The company owned a single pick-up truck and had annual revenues of less than $1 million. Leading the sales effort and serving as part of the leadership team, Neal helped the company exceed $40 million in annual sales before beginning his own coaching practice in 2017. During that time, Neal discovered the power of focusing on strengths and the ability of strong leadership to influence amazing results. His passion is to help other people also find fulfilment and success in life. He is a certified Strengths Coach through Gallup, and a John Maxwell certified coach, speaker, and trainer.

Neal earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Marketing and Spanish from Northern Michigan University. He is a regular columnist for Snow Business magazine and lives in Hopkinton, MA. Neal ran the Boston Marathon in 2018 and is currently training for a Rim2Rim hike of the Grand Canyon, both for well-deserving charities. You can learn more about Neal at www.NealGlatt.com.

Oskar Krisans
Oskars Krišāns (MSc. geogr.) is a researcher in Latvian State Forest Research Institute SILAVA and elaborates a PhD thesis in the field of tree ecophysiology. Concurrently scientific work Oskars is involved in volunteer educational work organizing seminars in the field of arboriculture.
Michael Arnold
Dr. Michael Arnold is a Professor of Landscape Horticulture & Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs at Texas A&M University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences. He has studied tree establishment for 35 years in Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Dr. Arnold has authored over 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts, three textbooks, and over 150 presentations. Dr. Arnold served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Society for Horticultural Sciences and is presently a Fellow in the Texas A&M University’s Institute for Sustainable Communities.
Glen Lumis
Dr. Glen Lumis, professor emeritus at the University of Guelph, has a nearly 50 year teaching and research career in nursery production and urban tree care. He has published over 150 professional and technical papers and received awards for his contributions to both teaching and research.
James Dennis
James is an Arboriculture Lead at Aboud & Associates, Inc. in Guelph, Ontario, with a background in forest entomology, integrated pest management and ecology. Unfortunately, he does not get to climb trees, and is only insured to use a D-tape and other tools that cannot dismember him. Out of the office, James enjoys family time, woodworking, Ultimate and playing music.
Philip van Wassenaer
Philip van Wassenaer, B.Sc. Environmental Sciences, Master of Forest Conservation, is the principal consultant for Urban Forest Innovations, Inc., which specializes in the preservation, enhancement, and management of the urban forest using a research- and science-based approach. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, member of ASCA , a Past President and Director of the Ontario Urban Forest Council and a 2009 recipient of the ISA True Professionals of Arboriculture Award.
Richard Wilson
Ronnie Lucas
Sean Hooper
Ian George
David Cheung

As a boy Dave spent most of his time chasing insects with an aquarium net, taking apart electronics, and tinkering on the computer. Today, he still chases insects and fiddles with technology, although these days with a bigger net and a much faster mobile computer.

Dave’s passion is to help people create a stronger connection to the natural world by combining photography, visual design, technology, and science education. Whether it’s through a website, a mobile app, or in the classroom, Dave thrives when he sees people connecting with nature.

Dave is an entomologist, photographer, graphic designer, app designer and educator. He has worked as a collection manager at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and has experience teaching numerous entomology courses including, the University of Guelph, University of Copenhagen, Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology and Niagara College. Dave is now focused on building DKB Digital Designs, which is a studio dedicated to developing educational software such as Bugdex and BugFinder.

Marvin Gunderman

I worked at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario for 28 years (I retired in January 2018). I had a very interesting job that combined my love for teaching e n t o m o l o g y with my role as Manager of Technical Services in the Department of Biology. That meant I managed a group of a m a z i n g staff members who set up and did the troubleshooting in all of the undergraduate labs in Biology. I also helped researchers with equipment breakdowns and building issues. I was never bored and loved going to work!

On the pedagogical side I taught Insect Taxonomy/Ecology for the Ontario Universities Program in field Biology (OUPFB) at the Queen’s University Biological Station near Elgin, Ontario. I taught this course for 24 years. I also taught insect modules at home and abroad (Honduras in 2009 and Costa Rica in 2010). I also lectured and ran tutorials about insects in several undergraduate courses at McMaster University.

I am a very happy man. I had a great job. I am happily married to a woman who defines pulchritude in everything that she does. I have a great family and true friends that support me, stimulate me, make me laugh and make fun of me. I love listening to music (mostly vinyl) and macro-photography.

Because I have been on this planet for well over 50 years I also know how precious life is and how important it is to enjoy your family and friends now. I’ve been to too many funerals already. My uncle told me often while he was alive that “you won’t believe how fast your life goes by”. He’s right. I feel and act like I’m 26 years old. But a look into the mirror confuses me. The mirror man doesn’t look like me!

Maybe I’m not qualified to offer advice. But here it goes anyway: follow your passion, eat well, drink well and visit those you love often. Try to live your life through balance and compromise. Fight the natural urge to be selfish. Laugh as much as you can!

Chris Fields-Johnson

Coming soon


●   General Tree Physiology by Christine Balk
●   Dissection of Compartmentalization Pathways, Boundaries, and Barriers in Living Trees by Kevin Smith and Guy Meilleur
●   Mental Health in the Workplace by Dean Anderson
●   Translocation by Christine Balk
●   Emerging Pest Threats to Ontario’s Urban Forests by Richard Wilson

Author bios

● Kevin Smith
● Brian French
● Richard Wilson
● Ronnie Lucas
● Sean Hooper
● Ian George  
● Chris Fields-Johnson