Passion for trees sees Wintec staff member win arboriculture award
Wintec staff member Rob Graham has been awarded the Ronald Flook Award, recognising his extraordinary services to the arboriculture industry.
Rob has taught arboriculture at Wintec for an impressive 22 years, during this time he has taught more than 500 students. As programme coordinator for Wintec’s arboriculture programme Rob teaches students the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining trees.
“Teaching is a huge part of my life and to be recognised for my work is a great honour and a humbling experience,” says Rob.
“I am astonished to see the achievements that our graduates have made on the international stage – from multiple world tree climbing champions to technical leaders in research and development, and managers of the urban forest. As a teacher I have merely opened the door for them to stride through and make their claim on the world,” he adds.
Some of Rob’s former students attended the awards evening and one of them, Howell Davies from Auckland City Council, had the following to say about Rob: “Rob is a very important part of our collective history and his patience, passion and commitment ensured we got the training we needed to make a difference. If it wasn’t for Rob, there would be quite a few less passionate arborists in our industry.”
The Ronald Flook Award was established in 1993 to recognise high standards of practice and excellence across the field of arboriculture.
The award is named after well-known Nelson-based landscape architect Ron Flook and acknowledges his tireless contribution to arboriculture in New Zealand through the Notable Trees Scheme and the development of the Standard Tree Evaluation Method (STEM). Ron was also responsible for many urban open space and tree planting projects throughout the country.
This is the third time a Wintec staff member has been a recipient of this award with fellow staff member Andrew Harrison winning the award in 2016 and former staff member Martin Herbert winning in 1997.
Wintec is New Zealand’s leading provider in arboriculture. Located at Wintec’s Hamilton Gardens campus, arboriculture is a practical and hands-on degree where students work on real projects, go on field trips, carry out pruning and felling operations, use small machinery, plant out vegetation, and learn rigging and tree climbing skills.