Third day of Climbers Forum 2018 in Augsburg

The third day of Climbers Forum kicked off with a half day on habitat and retrenchment. Paul Muir of Treeworks Environmental Practice kicked off the morning, with an insightful and balanced presentation on retrenching techniques – very clearly differentiating them from topping practices. Phil Kelley was up next running through some of the work we did together in Green-Wood cemetery, as well as the planning and thought process behind it. Andreas Detter and Georg-Friedrich Wittmann discussed about protecting species we might expect to encounter during tree care operations.

The final half day a mix of topics, Thomas Böhl of fsb Örrel discussed the management of severe trauma and life-threatening blood loss. Max Olesko and Remy Gschwandtner ran a practical demo on throwline techniques which was fun. Don Blair rounded off proceedings with some reflections on Oak and Euc persons in arboriculture. Very entertaining.

Having said that, during the course of the day I was feeling more and more nervous about the looming tear-down, bearing in mind that it took us four days to get everything set up. In past years, tear-down consisted off everybody taking off, leaving us with a extensive pile of wet gear, in the rain and cold. I have unfond memories of fumbling bolts in elbow-deep water with a scum of ice on the top during the tower dismantling. Urgh.

Not so this year. We had a large group of people who hung around after the end of the last talk at four o’clock, allowing for a really fast tidy-up. Without mentioning names because I am sure to forget someone, you know who you are, let me say that I was profoundly thankful. We got everything pretty much stripped down by six thirty, meaning on Friday all that was left to do was to take down the tree and the tower, and dismantle the foundations, which we had done by midday.

Once again, I take away many impressions from this year’s edition of Climbers Forum. Moving the whole proceedings indoors into hall 3 proved to be invaluable, not just from the space it created, but also from a procedural point of view. It meant that there was a clear set-up, followed by the event, and then tear-down. Before, you were constantly forced to improvise and contingency plan, depending on the weather, herding people in and out, shuffle gear around – which made the event exhausting. So that merits a big thumbs-up from me.

I heard from one or two people that they felt that topics are discussed to death. View it as you will, but to me one of the aims of this event is to strive to gain a balanced, thorough understanding of topics. We are lucky to have many returning attendees, the majority of opinions offered during the event are reasonable. But the opportunity here is to use these people as replicators, identifying arguments and tools to take out there into the wild and wooly world of tree care, back to their work environments – by doing so creating a kind of domino effect. On top of that, there is enough superficial discussion in this world, all you need for that is a computer and an internet connection, so no, Climbers Forum is where topics are discussed with time and depth.

On a lighter note, during the event feedback forms are handed out. The return rate of these is notoriously low, which is a pity. But this year we got one back which made me smile…

FYI, Micha was DJing at the DMM party on Wednesday evening.

This begs the question why we go to all the effort of organising speakers and demos, when actually all you need is a deck, a PA system and a couple of hectolitres of beer 😂

So, lots of positives to take away from this year: New format worked well, the space in hall 3 felt welcoming and warm, lots of new faces, as well as old acquaintances, all speakers showed up and the content delivered was engaging and interesting. Now the only thing to worry about is how to go one better next year!

The dates for the German Tree Care Days and Climbers Forum are 7 to 9 May 2019. Consider yourself warmly invited.