The Western Chapter ISA has been celebrating the gifts of trees at the CA State Fair for 5 years now with the Green Dream Climbing Experience Exhibit. It consists of a hilarious, educational and interactive TreeCircus performance every hour, free kid’s tree climbing lessons, an Ask-the-Arborist booth, face painting & coloring area, and an hourly visit from the Treeture®, Professor Arbor E. Tum.
The Green Dream inspires and educates, continuing the tradition of teaching young tree lovers how to climb like the professionals do. This year the exhibit was given a smaller footprint to work within, so the climbing and stage areas were combined, making great use out of the space. The “Urban Forest” display theme incorporates both living trees and a reconstructed majestic Modesto ash, as well as multiple educational banners and wall hangings.
- TreeCircus Performance – What Do Trees Give Us?
During their performances, TreeCircus helped fairgoers understand how their local trees can lower the temperature and raise their spirits. Throughout the half hour program, participants learned many things about trees, including their value, why we should care for them, and even how to climb them like the pros. The show is based on audience participation and pulls six audience members up on stage, each representing a different benefit of trees. The show was capped off with a climbing demonstration by world-class tree climbing competitor, Chad Brey, who climbed the 35’ rope at lightning speeds.
2. Ask the Arborist booth
Our partnership with the Western Chapter ISA membership lent us access to hundreds of Certified Arborists who were happy to share their tree knowledge with the public. In total we had 71 volunteers who, equipped with reference materials were eager to answer questions regarding tree identification, pruning, diseases, and more. Our volunteers in total put in 500 hours at our exhibit.
3. Climbing like a Pro
For 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after each TreeCircus performance, Womick, Brey, and other volunteers share the joy of tree climbing with kids ages 6 to 106. Climbing gear was set up for 5 climbers at a time in the rafters of the building. Each climber is fitted with a harness and clean helmet, then instructed how to climb swiftly to the top! A bell at the top of each climbing station is rung by the climber before they descend back to earth. This year we introduced a new reward for climbers… each was given a green ribbon stating “I reached new heights at the Green Dream Tree Climbing Exhibit at the California State Fair”. 10 climbers can climb during each 30 minute session, and sign ups are taken all day long. Our partnership with the US Forest Service has helped lock in weekly volunteers from the USFS Northern California Consortium, in addition to our WCISA professional volunteers.
4. “Leafing Out” face painting & coloring area
Not all kids are old enough and brave enough to “Climb like a Pro”, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate trees too. Our US Forest Service student volunteers had a blast painting leaves and trees on fair visitors’ faces. Some used stencils and others were more free-formed. In addition to the face painting, we had coloring and activity sheets for youngsters to enjoy. This area was a test-run this year and was definitely a hit! It brought many folks over to our exhibit, who ended up staying to climb, chat with an arborist, or simply enjoy the canopy of our trees.
5. Professor Arbor E. Tum, Treesearch Scientist
No Green Dream Exhibit is complete until Professor Arbor E. Tum has made an appearance! This human-sized squirrel, outfitted in a lab coat, bow tie, and spectacles, loves to make the rounds and say hi to fair visitors at our booth. He even carries around a wooden microscope made from recycled urban lumber…he really knows the importance of tree research and education! Professor Arbor E. Tum is a part of the Treetures cast of characters created by Judith Blau. Learn more at www.treetures.com.
The 2014 Green Dream Climbing Experience:
- raised the public awareness to the benefits of trees,
- educated and excited the public on the role urban forests plays in their communities
- provided attendees with a greater understanding of the importance of professional arboriculture
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Observations from volunteers:
- “The work Timmy and Chad do with challenged kids is fantastic; I was moved because there were parents who came back specifically to the event because they knew their child would be included like everyone else. Kudos!!”
- “My 8 year old Grandson…after ringing the bell, right after he took the saddle off, he kind of stuck his chest out like some kind of tough guy! Loved it.”
- “A mom of one of the child climbers was so happy her son faced a height fear.”
The Green Dream Climbing Experience is incorporated into the Western Chapter ISA’s strategic initiative of public education. All inquiries may be directed towards Rose Epperson, Executive Director, at 559-784-8733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.