By Derek Lirange

This year as part of the Young Adult Forester’s program we are giving our team an opportunity to learn more about the green industry by teaching them about arboriculture and horticulture and letting them shadow professionals in a variety of jobs. This past Monday our team had the opportunity to shadow the City of Worcester Forestry Department 

Worcester’s Forestry Dept. manages the many trees located on public property but they are well equipped with capable staff and powerful equipment. When our team went to observe the staff at work a team of three was working on trimming trees. One of the team members was operating the bucket truck, a large truck with a hydraulic lift allowing the operator to get into position to prune the tree. The other two staff members were handling the woody debris that fell to the ground and loading it into the chipper.  

After the team had successfully removed the deadwood and cleaned the area they took some time to talk to our team about the work they were doing. They had received a call requesting that the tree be pruned by the resident through the city Customer Service department which can be reached by email at dpw@worcesterma.gov or by calling 508-929-1300. After an inspection by the head forester to check on the health of the tree and any risk factors the tree was put onto an ever growing list for the forestry team to take care of. 

We also got a chance to see how the forester’s job can change at a moment’s notice. This particular Monday morning had been preceded by storms on Saturday and shortly after the team finished the first tree they got a call to report to three different emergency calls. Sometimes things get called in that need immediate attention and get bumped to the top of the list. Things like downed trees and branches in the road have to be cleared before routine maintenance can continue. In especially severe storms this can take days or even longer to get the mess cleared up. 

This opportunity to see skilled arborists at work and to learn from them about how they manage all of the trees in the city, gave valuable insight to our team about the work of municipal arborists. As we continue to observe the work of other professionals we will look forward to being able to compare the responsibilities, resources, and skills needed for each of them to give our staff an idea of what they could do and how to get there. 

Derek Lirange is a community forester with Tower Hill’s Worcester Tree Initiative.