As scientists who spend a substantial amount of time in tree canopies, we have found that there is something magical about climbing trees. While the ascent can be viewed simply as part of the commute to our research sites, we have found that it is so much more. Climbing trees gives us an appreciation for how these sometimes ancient organisms live and grow and can also give us a greater appreciation for the natural world and our place in it. In forested habitats, climbing to the canopy can reveal an entirely different habitat, and in urban environments, it often improves our ability to see the landscape and allows us to temporarily disappear from the hustle and bustle on the ground.
One of the important outreach activities in our lab is to provide trainings to empower students by teaching them the skills and techniques to safely ascend and work in tree canopies. We use tree climbing as a context for students to also learn team building and environmental leadership. Together with local arborists and safety professionals, we provide important skill building for students in the lab as they prepare for field work, and also provide climbing and outreach opportunities for other members of our local communities both in the U.S. and in Costa Rica. Our regular trainings also provide opportunities for the more senior members of the team to learn and practice advanced skills and remain current on advancements in the fields of arboriculture and rope access. If you are interested in joining one of our trainings, please contact Dr. Gotsch. *Click on the photos to see them in full size and to scroll through the images.