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More From AORE

Author: David Bodie
Date: November 08, 2007
Editorial note: David Bodie was at the AORE Conference and after the presentation he hit me with a number of questions. I asked him if he would do a short write-up on his impressions of recreational tree climbing as presented at the conference. This is it. (JM)

I was in attendance at the conference for the Association for Outdoor Recreation Education and I went to the core presentation on “Recreational / Technical Tree Climbing” that was presented. Mr. Maher asked me if I would write about my impression of tree climbing after the presentation.

Let me begin saying that the presentation was well done. The slide show at the beginning of the talk gave all of us an idea of what recreational tree climbing was about. It was good that several people, Beth, Daryl, and David each gave their own ideas about what tree climbing is for each of them.

I think that many of the people there did not have the correct idea of what this activity is all about before the meeting started. Most of them thought about climbing trees as something that only a few strange people do, or maybe small children. The idea that this could become a popular outdoor activity was new. Several of those there were already thinking about tree climbing as a possible program activity and they knew enough about it to be interested and wanting to find out more. Most of us did not know much about it before this presentation.

I have met some people who climb trees but most of them do it as a job. I suppose that I was expecting to hear about people climbing with spikes and sawing limbs. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was not the way that recreational climbing is being done. Mr. Maher pointed out that this was not like professional tree work at all and that he does not support the idea of recreational climbers carrying saws and removing limbs.

Most of us in the room had no idea that tree climbing could be enjoyed even by the handicapped. I was excited to hear that there is a group in Michigan who use tree climbing in their work with the handicapped. There were people at the meeting who seemed to be interested in learning more about how tree climbing can be used for people with disabilities.

As a student in outdoor and environmental education I think that this activity has great value and can be used as part of any outdoor program anywhere. It also sounds as though it would be a lot of fun just to climb for the adventure while you’re out in the woods. I think I would like to have climbing gear with me the next time I go on a hike or a backpacking trip. I am a rock climber but there are times when it is too far to go rock climbing. There are trees everywhere and climbing trees could be an option when I don’t have time to go to a good rock climbing area. This would be one more thing to do while I am out in the forest. I don’t believe I will give up on rock climbing. It is too much fun. But I will have to learn to climb trees too.

The bit about climbing trees in a rain forest was very interesting. I have heard about research in the trees but I had never considered that climbing there could be a lot of fun and a great adventure. I want to know more about climbing the big trees that we saw in the slide show.

Doing this presentation for a group of outdoor adventure people was a good idea. Most of us had no idea what this was all about but now we do. I think that tree climbers should do more to show the rest of the outdoor people what they are doing and how they are doing it. I know that I learned a lot from being in the room.

I have looked at the website and I am impressed by the activity and the quality of discussion that takes place. When I have learned a little more, perhaps I will register and ask a few questions of my own.

Thanks, Mr. Maher, for telling us about tree climbing.

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