Halfway through the year already – enjoying a couple of days off, using the opportunity to take stock of the year so far and give some thought of what is still to come.

One way or another it has been a busy year (once again) so far, with a number of exciting events having come and gone and projects moving forwards – with more in the pipeline. One of the events I am looking forwards to, is returning to Finnland end of November, doing a couple of days there for SPY, the Finnish arborist association – it has been years!

So often in tree care, you find yourself confronted with a room full of guys. Which, depending on the group, can be fine, don’t get me wrong. But there is the other half of the world population out there, where did they get to? And why are they not here?! I am not sure what the answer is, there still seems to be this preconceived (false) idea that women are somehow less suited to tree work. That, and entrenched, antiquated attitudes within the industry. But this does seem to be changing, slowly, but none the less.

Finnland is refreshingly different in this respect. It is the only place I have been so far where you have an equal number of men and women. Also, the past time I have found the folk there to be switched on, interested and competent.

I don’t want to overemphasise this whole gender issue, but it certainly creates a different dynamic when you have a more balanced mix. The arborist industry can only profit from so broadening of its horizon, by bringing more people into the fold, you also introduce new competencies, abilities and attitudes, therefore I am convinced we need to be doing all we can to make it as attractive and inclusive for all – putting gender, sexual preferences and creeds to one side.

After all, the trees could not care less…

A bit like the business with waving flags. Ah, yes, maybe pre-ITCC is a good moment to raise this one again: Please, don’t bother waving your flag im my face… the trees don’t care where you come from – and nor do I.