There is a certain stigma associated with tree workers: strong, bearded, rough and tumble, and in general, not dainty. A lot of our clients are surprised to find that when the crew arrives on site, that we usually have at least one woman on the crew. Folks usually associate tree work with men, and why wouldn’t they? Trees are heavy. Believe me, I’ve tenderized my back lifting many pieces of trees, and I’m no tiny person. Selner Tree & Shrub Care, LLC employs three full time female arborists. They are full time employees, and are some of our most valuable employees on staff.
Let’s spearhead the obvious reason most folks are shocked to find a female on the crew: strength. Forgive me for the generalization, but it’s no secret that women just aren’t built the same as men. Although there are a few anomalies, women aren’t usually as strong as men when it comes to lifting heavy things. These ‘things’ in the tree care industry include: their own body weight, heavy pieces of wood, tree branches, and even certain pieces of rigging gear.
The beauty of working for an advanced tree care company in the 21st century is the fact that many of the heavy things that need lifting daily, are often lifted using equipment that is built specifically to do so. It’s for this reason that there is no need to be built like an ox to be a valuable employee in the tree care industry. A careful and dainty touch is often required more so than brute force. When we are removing a tree over a glass sunroom surrounded by landscape beds full of tender perennials, I’ll opt for a softer hand over a bull in a china shop any day.
Many of our clients are often shocked to hear that most of our female employees also climb. You heard that right, girls! You can be a professional tree climber too! I still remember the first time I watched a woman climb a tree professionally. It was about five years ago at an international tree climbing championship. I’m not going to lie (honesty is the best policy), that I was skeptical about how the female competitors would stack up to their male counterparts. After the first female competitor ascended and started through the work climb, I was shocked. She was absolutely crushing it. She made many of the male climbers I knew look like silly fish flopping around aimlessly in a tree. This same feeling was reassured again just a couple weeks ago when I competed in my first tree climbing competition. I always thought I was an above average tree climber, but the few women that were at that same competition made me look like a toddler just learning to walk.
As a man in the tree care industry, I have no doubt that women can be just as, if not more, valuable than most men doing the same exact job.