Do you want to climb trees?

Tree climbing has been a sport for a long time, and each year arborist-style climbing competitions are held around the world. The champions are gifted athletes with incredible skills accessing and moving through tree crowns. Engineers who love tree climbing have designed efficient devices to facilitate movement on ropes within and among trees. Recreational tree climbing is becoming increasingly popular as these tools are now readily available. Thus tree climbing is easier and safer than ever before, and training opportunities abound.

Climbing with Me

I am often approached by people who want to climb with me in the tall trees. Though I have taught quite a few folks how to climb over the years, I no longer take new people into the trees. My research and teaching obligations simply do not allow for it. In fact, there is only one way to get me to teach you how to climb trees: become my graduate student at Humboldt State University. If you are interested in becoming one of my graduate students, here is some advice—enthusiasm for tree climbing is not enough. Becoming a scientist requires intellectual discipline and good writing skills. When I review graduate student applications, I look at grade point averages, difficulty of course work completed, standardized test scores, letters from respected scientists, and clear statements of purpose motivated by compelling questions about nature. If you are interested in working with me as a graduate student, please submit your application materials in accordance with the policies of Humboldt State University.

Please Don't Climb Trees in Old-Growth Forests

My goal is to understand trees and promote greater awareness of them. Given the precious few truly tall trees remaining, I believe climbing them for recreational purposes is unwarranted and unwise. In my opinion, this is especially true in old-growth forests. This is not to say I discourage you from climbing trees. Far from it! Allow me to clarify: I discourage you from climbing tall trees in old-growth forests unless you are asking important scientific questions the answering of which justifies the physical impact you have on the trees and the organisms inhabiting their crowns.