Trainee arborists give trees a going-over

Wintec arboriculture students remove a gingko tree in Hastings
Wintec arboriculture students at work removing a dead gingko in Hastings' Cornwall Park.

The majestic trees in Hastings’ parks have been getting a thorough going-over by a keen bunch of visiting student arborists.

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

Last Wednesday, the students worked in groups across Cornwall Park, some of them about 15 metres up the English oaks near the cricket grounds removing dead branches (and a stranded kite), others at the southern end of the park worked on removing a dead gingko.

Levi Clothier (Level 4) took charge of the felling of the 15 metre 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.”

With about six metres 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.

Wintec tutor Jono Summers says off-campus trips are important as they give students experience in an industry-based environment. 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 the 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 Wintec 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.”

Hastings District Council has strong commitments to both the profiling of the region and to the development of youth.

“This is a wonderful initiative,” said the 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.”

Find out more about studying arboriculture at Wintec.