Although the trend is slowly changing, arboriculture and forestry are historically male-dominated professions. Not surprisingly, there is also a high wage gap between men and women in these fields. We recently caught up with Preservation Tree arborist, Katie Kranich, to get her perspective of what it’s like to work in the field of arboriculture and the pathway that led her to pursue a career as an arborist.
Katie, a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, graduated from Drexel University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences. She completed several internships during her college career, some in the field and some in an office setting, and knew from those experiences that she was destined for work in the great outdoors. One of her internships, in particular, spurred her interest in forestry and arboriculture. While working with the USDA Forest Service in Alaska, Kate performed forest inventory analyses which involved collecting biometric data of trees to aid climate change research and get an overall picture of the health of the forest. Between field seasons in Alaska, she also aided forest health monitoring programs in Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Looking for a more “permanent” residence, Katie returned to the Chester County area and became an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist in 2014. An ISA candidate must have 3 or more years of full-time, eligible, work experience in the field and/or a degree in the field in order to be eligible to take the exam. Katie was hired by Preservation Tree (a division of Bartlett Tree Care in West Chester, PA) in 2015 and is responsible for Plant Health Care operations and GIS Tree Inventory management, but is also learning the ropes (pun intended!) as a climbing arborist out in the field.
Not surprisingly, the type of work Katie does is very seasonally driven – from plant health care in the spring to tree work through the fall and winter – with days beginning at 5 AM and often ending at dusk. Her passion for the job is quite evident and she eagerly acknowledges that despite the long hours, she loves the work because “every day is different and there is always something to learn”. Katie manages to carve out some time for herself when she’s not on the job and enjoys crocheting, riding motorcycles, and traveling.
If you’d like to learn more about careers as an arborist and get more information about career pathways in the field you can visit the ISA website. For more information about Preservation Tree or to schedule an estimate, clink the link below.