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Taking care of the urban jungle with Jonathan Cheney

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In the concrete jungles of urban landscapes, amidst towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, there exists a silent but vital guardian of city trees: the arborist. Meet Jonathan Cheney (pronouns: he/him), a certified arborist in the United States, whose journey into the world of urban forestry began with a passion for conservation instilled by his grandmother, an environmental activist in the 70s. From his roots in conservation to scaling the heights of urban trees, Jonathan’s story sheds light on the importance of arboriculture in preserving the green lungs of our cities.

Taking care of the urban jungle with Jonathan Cheney | #itsawildlife

Preserving Nature in Concrete Jungles:

Jonathan’s journey into arboriculture was inspired by a desire to continue his grandmother’s legacy of conservation. With a degree in natural resources and experience as a park ranger, he found himself drawn to the world of trees amidst the shutdown of parks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He says –

“I needed to pay the bills somehow and I saw a tree climbing job and thought, I’ll give that a shot. So, I tried it and I’ve now been in the industry for a few years and have loved every minute of it!”

His transition to arboriculture opened doors to a career dedicated to preserving and caring for urban trees, which play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of urbanization on the environment.

A Day in the Life of an Arborist:

For Jonathan, being an arborist entails a blend of art and science. From pruning trees for health and aesthetics to administering treatments for diseases and invasive insects, each day presents unique challenges and opportunities to safeguard the green canopy of urban areas. Whether scaling heights as a climber or tending to tree health care, Jonathan’s role underscores the multifaceted nature of arboriculture in urban environments.

While many people associate chopping down trees as an act against conservation, Jonathan’s work demonstrates the opposite – his work with trees is all about benefiting the health and longevity of trees!

The Science Behind Tree Care:

Arboriculture, Jonathan emphasizes, is more than just tree hugging; it’s a science that demands a deep understanding of tree biology and ecology. From fertilizing trees to pruning roots and branches, every aspect of tree care is meticulously designed to ensure the vitality and longevity of urban trees. Jonathan’s insights highlight the importance of professional arborists in maintaining the health and resilience of trees amidst the challenges of urban living. He explains –

“Once I got into arbour-culture, and learned more about tree biology, it really opened my eyes to how complicated and complex trees are – and how sensitive they are to change in urban environments… So, it’s vital to have arborists in urban areas to take care of trees!”

The Healing Power of Trees:

Beyond their ecological significance, trees offer a myriad of benefits to urban dwellers, from purifying air and water to providing shade and enhancing overall well-being. Jonathan’s experiences underscore the therapeutic value of trees, both in urban and wild environments, emphasizing the need to preserve and cherish these green sanctuaries amidst the concrete sprawl of cities.

Career Pathways in Arboriculture:

For aspiring arborists, Jonathan offers invaluable advice on navigating career pathways in the field. Whether pursuing a degree in natural resources or gaining hands-on experience in the industry, the journey to becoming a certified arborist is as diverse as the ecosystems they aim to protect. Jonathan’s own trajectory from park ranger to arborist exemplifies the diverse opportunities available for anyone who loves nature and working outdoors! Jonathan says –

“You don’t even have to be a climber, but if you love trees (and maybe you love heights too), arbour-culture is a really rewarding career!”

As our cities continue to expand, the role of arborists like Jonathan becomes increasingly vital in ensuring the health and sustainability of urban ecosystems. Through his passion for conservation and dedication to tree care, Jonathan exemplifies the profound impact that individuals can have in nurturing and preserving nature, even amidst the concrete jungles of urban landscapes. He says –

“I never thought I’d end up in a career like this – hanging off the top of a tall tree – but it’s been great so far and I’m addicted!”


Want to hear more from Jonathan? You can get in touch on Linked In. What do you think? why not let us know or follow along for the adventure!

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