Crunch time is nearing - 10th May 2013

Final call for the 4th consultation phase.

Feedback/input/support on proposed horticulture qualifications review is due in by 15th May.

Currently the review is still at the big picture stage and there is no content (subject and/or course detail) provided for each of the qualifications. There is however a strategic purpose and graduate profile. Click here to see the proposed New Zealand qualifications specifically in relation to Arboriculture.

Although the framework has been set down it seems to allow for a certain amount of interpretation. Looking at what we currently have and what is proposed, and assuming interpretation is permissible the new qualifications could look like this;
• The proposed Level 3 qualification is designed to be generic across most of horticulture but depending on how you interpret it, 66% of it can be focused on Arboriculture (this is slightly more than the current Level 3 National qualification).
• The proposed Level 4 qualification has a 70 / 30 split (70% specialised, 30% generic), but again depending on how you interpret it 10 to 15% of the generic content could be focused on arboriculture as well.
• The proposed Level 5 qualification is where the main differences will become most visible. Currently we have a Level 4 'advanced' qualification which will go. This will be replaced with the Level 5 Horticulture Technician qualification. The Horticulture Technician qualification is a bit more weighty in content and will require slightly more aptitude than the current Level 4 'advanced' but shouldn't take much longer for those want/need to gain it.

For the full content and submission details of the proposed Horticulture Targeted Review of Qualifications – visit:

Mark Roberts
Academic Director

Telford mirrors industry - 9th May 2013

By Helen de Reus. The Otago Daily Times

Random drug and alcohol testing is being carried out at Telford, director Charley Lamb says. It was introduced to protect students and to bring Telford in line with industry requirements, Prof Lamb said.
Students at Telford, a division of Lincoln University, have been subject to the tests since January. Prof Lamb said the drug testing was prompted by a desire to improve safety for students and to be in line with the requirements of several industries.

''We do have forestry training, and it [drug and alcohol testing] is mandatory in the forestry industry. Our students are also operating tractors, chainsaws ... it's a lesson in safety practices.''

He said several tests had already been done, and all students randomly selected had tested negative.

Staff had been trained to test urine samples. Each time a random sample is taken from the student data base. The minimum of three students are tested, although the number varied, he said.

Prof Lamb declined to say how often the tests were carried out.

Telford's parent organisation Lincoln University did not do drug and alcohol testing, but Prof Lamb said Telford offered vocational training.

''It's becoming common in so many of our industries - forestry, aviation, construction - and it's only a matter of time before the dairy industry starts testing too.''

It took Telford a year to establish the policy and protocols around testing, and to train its staff.

Students who test positive to drugs or alcohol will be subject to Telford's disciplinary process, as with the breaking of any other rules, such as when committing vandalism. The rules around drugs and alcohol were very clear, Prof Lamb said.

On January 1, 2011, Telford Rural Polytechnic - which was founded in 1964 as a farm training institute - became Telford, a division of Lincoln University, New Zealand's third-oldest university.

General Membership Election - ISA - 25th Apr 2013

General Membership Election – Board of Director Seats

ISA is seeking to fill three seats on the ISA Board of Directors. Voting has opened for the general membership, and will remain open until Friday, May 17 (CST - USA).

The Nominating and Elections Committee has received and evaluated a qualified roster of nominees who represent the diverse mix of ISA’s membership. ISA recognizes the importance of reflecting the diversity of its members and markets through its staff, volunteer force, and governance.

The ISA is a membership organisation and voting in the General Membership Elections is easiest way you can have your say - vote on line at:

Cultural capital of Australia - 5th Apr 2013

Arboriculture Australia Annual Conference

The 2013 Annual Arboricultural Australia Conference will be held form Sunday April 28 through to Tuesday April 30. This years conference will be held at the Hilton on the Park, in Melbourne. Melbourne is commonly referred to as Australia's Cultural Capital and Garden City.

The annual Australia Tree Climbing Championships will be held before hand starting on the Saturday (April 27) and finishing with the Masters events on the Sunday (April 28). The venue of the climbing is Yarra Park (between MCG Gate 2 and Jolimont Train Station).

Thoughtplanters is proud to be a bronze sponsor of Arboricultural Australia and to have our very own Bryan Gould presenting at this years Melbourne conference.

More information about the conference, including registration and speaker details can be found at:

Codominant Stem Failure - Research - 2nd Apr 2013

Your chance to help

Dr Tom Smiley of Bartlett Tree Research Lab is conducting a survey of arborists to help identify tree species that are susceptible to codominant stems.

The term ‘codominant stems’ is used to describe two or more main stems (or leaders) that are about the same diameter and emerge from the same location on the main trunk. Codominant stems tend to fail more often than other stems, especially during storm conditions.

This survey is designed to help formulate a global picture of tree species that have codominant stems and therefore may have a higher potential failure risk.

If you are familiar with tree species that are prone to developing codominant stems then click the link and fill in the survey, it’s only five questions so it will not take long.

Arborist trainers in Australia - 25th Feb 2013

Expressions of interest

Thoughtplanters is looking for good, keen and competent arboricultural trainers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. We need people capable of delivering Certificate 4 (Arboriculture) and/ or Certificate 2 (ESI Vegetation Control).

Like all our industry trainers, we are looking for practical people with heaps of passion and skill. You should be innovative, with a can-do attitude and want to be part of a progressive organisation with lofty goals. You’ll need to hold a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment and have at least 5 years of recent and relevant industry experience.

Work will most likely start off part-time and may require traveling. If you are interested and think that you might have what it takes to join our team then send you CV to Trevor Gardiner <>

Thoughtplanters, beyond conventional training – we grow better thinkers

No more blankets for trees - 21st Dec 2012

The Resource Management Reform Bill has been introduced to Parliament and passed its first reading on December 11, 2012. The Bill will see changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA), allowing protection only of specific trees mentioned in district plans. So-called ‘blanket’ tree protection, where any tree over a certain height or trunk diameter was protected, will be a thing of the past.

The aim of the Resource Management Reform Bill is to amend the RMA and various Local Government Acts to deliver 'some fast and discrete improvements' to the consenting regime and provide further powers to make regulations, and make ‘technical and operational change’.

While in principle removing some of the bureaucratic delays and complexity may seem desirable, it leaves those that can’t speak for themselves i.e. trees, vulnerable.

Technical changes to the RMA include clarifying that a tree protection rule can only apply to a tree or group of trees that is specifically identified in a schedule to a plan by street address or legal description of the land, and that a group of trees means a cluster, grove, or line of trees that are located on the same or adjacent allotments identified by precise location.

What can you do to help?

Help your local council by identifying and informing them of trees and/or groups of trees that are worthy of protection.

From the first reading it progresses to ‘Select Committee’ before going back to the ‘House’ for a Second reading – this process is expected to be completed early in 2013.

Thoughtplanters’ director takes up global post - 9th Nov 2012

Mark Roberts

Thoughtplanters’ director Mark Roberts takes up global post

Thoughtplanters is proud to announce academic director Mark Roberts has become the first-ever Australasian president of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

Mr Roberts is the second non-American elected to lead the 88-year-old society, which represents more than 20,000 arborists from 18 countries.

“I’m excited about the role and the opportunity to put my training, experience and strategic planning skills into practice,” he says.

Mr Roberts plans to encourage more arborists to take an active role in their local arboriculture organisations and to take advantage of the membership benefits offered by the ISA.

“After all, New Zealand arborists are some of the best in the world,” he says.

“We’ve got a lot to contribute to the ISA. We’re not afraid to innovate, try new techniques and we’re big users of the latest technology. Yet we’re also known for maintaining high standards of health and safety,” he says.

“It’s important, as arborists, we keep improving our knowledge and skills by taking advantage of what organisations like the ISA and its local affiliate, the NZAA, have to offer.

“It’s about making sure we’re all the best arborists we can be and taking our skills to the world – that’s what Thoughtplanters is all about and that’s what the ISA is about too.”

Mark will spend next year as president-elect and 2014 in the presidency role.

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