President’s Message: From Stephen Carlson January 2023

Hi Tree People!
I’m full of gratitude for the honor of serving the Iowa Arborist Association in the role of President. The experience has exceeded my expectations in the best ways. If you’ve ever considered getting more involved in IAA you should definitely do that this year.

Remember that voting is open now for the 2023 board of directors and the deadline to vote is 1/16/23. Results will be officially announced at the Shade Tree Short Course 2/22-2/23.

Here’s a (way too brief) recap of what our chapter has accomplished in 2022 and a look ahead to what’s in store for the new year:

  • Tour Des Trees, the annual bike adventure put on by TREE Fund was held in Iowa this year and we were able to get involved in a bigger way than ever before. We even became a Gold Level Sponsor for the first time!
  • We had a great turnout at Spring and Fall Traq courses and continue to find that to be a helpful resource for arborists.
  • Once again the Iowa Tree Climbing Competition was a memorable event. Our organization was proud to send our winner Josh Hodson to the International Tree Climbing Competition in Copenhagen Denmark!
  • We now have a board member (Mike Cimprich) serving as TREE Fund Liaison, which has allowed for an increased exchange of information between our organizations. Mike also attended the Annual Tree Fund Trustee/Liaisons Meeting.
  • Todd Reese completed an awesome looking new wrap design for the IAA gear trailer, you won’t be able to miss it at the next climbing competition!
  • We are creating an Iowa Arborist Database that will give people the chance to search for arborists based on qualifications, certifications, service area, & more. We will be sending out surveys soon for anyone in our membership that wants to be included. It’s going to be a great resource for Iowa.
  • We’re in the final stages of publishing the updated Tree Species Rating Guide both digitally and printed versions will be available.
  • Guy Gibson and I attended the ISA Leadership Workshop in Atlanta this year and learned a lot about how other chapters are doing things and have some fun ideas for the future.
  • Mike Cimprich and I presented at the Trees Forever Treekeepers training and had a really fun time converting some normal boring people into tree people! Mike did a tree planting demonstration and I presented on early tree establishment and maintenance.
  • We are in the final stages of creating an online apparel store at so our members can get geared up to further represent our organization out in the world.

Looking into 2023 we plan on putting on more events than usual, and using the influence we’ve built to even more effectively promote the love and care of trees throughout our state.

I want to make sure to acknowledge our board members that consistently, quietly, get things done that aren’t always visible or obvious but are important to our organization’s success. This is a great group of thoughtful arborists that I’m proud to be volunteering with.

Leading by example and being great at our jobs is pretty cool, but using our talents to foster an appreciation for the Iowa tree community, increasing interest in planting and caring for trees, promoting the science & practice of professional arboriculture, and encouraging education in our industry is next level.

Happy New Year!
Stephen Carlson
Iowa Arborist Association President