Stephen F. Austin State University student Lana Welford recently won the Women’s Collegiate Work Climb title at the 2017 Tree-Care Industry Association Expo held in Columbus, Ohio.
Welford, a senior urban forestry major at SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, said she entered the competition following encouragement from Dr. Hans Williams, dean of the college, as well as supervisors from her summer internship with SavATree, a professional tree and lawn-care company.
“I really wasn’t expecting to win anything,” Welford said. “I just thought this would be a great experience and something new under my belt.”
Welford said the work climb competition is the most applicable to real-life arboriculture practices. Competitors climb to the top of a designated tree with tree-care equipment and then maneuver along branches to tap bells located throughout the tree with a saw to indicate where a cut would be made.
“You received points for speed, safety, efficiency or flow, and style,” Welford said. “I was intimidated because I had not competed in any of these events, and many of the schools present have students who competed for years.”
Aside from being new to the competition, Welford said the biggest challenge was the cold temperatures that limited the dexterity of her hands.
Although this was Welford’s first official competition, she spent the summer honing her climbing and tree-care proficiencies as an intern with SavATree in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The Tree-Care Industry Association Expo is the world’s largest tree-care show and conference, aiming to bring tree-care companies, equipment and product providers, and industry professionals together to share the latest developments and trends in the tree-care industry.