For more information, contact the Associate at 954-357-5270 or fax 954-357-5271.
Tree Trimmer Program Wins Outstanding Public Education Program Award
The Extension Education Section of Broward County Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce that the Broward County Tree Trimmer Program is the recipient of an Outstanding Public Educational Program award from the Florida Urban Forestry Council. The award was acknowledged by a proclamation on August 10, 2010, by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, designating the day as Tree Trimmer Program Appreciation Day and recognizing the Extension Education staff for “its innovative and educational Tree Trimmer Program.”
The Florida Urban Forestry Council presents awards annually in a variety of categories. The Outstanding Public Educational Program award recognizes the Broward County Tree Trimmer Program as being a public outreach or communication tool that informs, teaches, and motivates the public on the importance of trees and the value of urban forestry activities within their communities and the state.
The Tree Trimmer Program dates back to October 2000, when the County Commission passed an ordinance regulating the county’s tree-trimming industry and requiring individuals and businesses that trim trees for hire to obtain a license and to provide proof of training in the form of certifications earned through participation in a continuing-education course. The move reflected concerns at the time about the quality of tree trimming as practiced in the county and was designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
With the assistance of an advisory committee made up of representatives from the industry, academia, and the regulatory community, Extension Education staff developed an introductory tree-trimming course, which was launched in May 2001. To date, nearly 5,100 tree trimmers have been trained in the proper pruning of trees for clearance, wind tolerance, and canopy restoration using best practices to maximize tree longevity and workplace safety. More than 80 percent of program participants who attended one or more of Extension’s classes have demonstrated a knowledge gain based upon tests administered before and after training, and 92 percent described the classes as providing a significant benefit to their business operations by helping them change their pruning practices.
Among those who described themselves as frequent tree abusers prior to taking the classes, a post-class survey indicated a 67 percent reduction in hat-racking, a 68 percent reduction in overlifting and overthinning of trees, and a 70 percent reduction in the frequency of overpruning palms. As many as 95 percent of class attendees now hold more frequent safety meetings, and a full 100 percent conduct more frequent safety inspection checks.
Overall, the Tree Trimmer Program has benefited Broward County homeowners and property managers by making them more knowledgeable consumers who are better equipped to determine a company’s training and licensing status before signing a contract.
For further information on the Tree Trimmer Program, call the Extension Education Section at 954-357-5270.
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