City Trees

January/February 2013

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Page 10 of 39

New Board Member Profile: Tom Hoerth The SMA Board welcomes new member Tom Hoerth from Bath, Maine. Tom says, "I am a self-professed lifelong learner. I claim to be a jack of all trades and now master of one: stewardship. It sums up so much of what I have done and now do." Can you tell us about your educational and career trajectory? Tom Hoerth: I grew up on an apple orchard in Long Island, New York, so I was raised in trees as cheap child labor, but it was wicked fun! I spent a long period of time in northeast Maine working in woodlots, at a wilderness canoe camp, and building wood and canvas canoes. I graduated from the University of Maine at Orono (UMO) in 1987 with a BS in Plant & Soil Science. I got partway through a master's program at UMO but left to take part in an internship program at Brigg's Nursery in Olympia, Washington, which at the time had the largest commercial tissue culture lab in the world. Brigg's was one of the largest producers of rhododendrons at that time—it was an incredible experience. After moving back east to be closer to family and working at several local nurseries as a grower, I felt my new family needed greater security. I got my teaching certificate and an MS in Education at the University of Southern Maine's Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP) and then taught 7th grade science and math for ten years. Teaching was the funniest and HARDEST job I have ever had, next to being a Dad of two lovely daughters. During that time I joined Bath's Community Forestry Committee, in 1994, and I have served on it ever since. After leaving teaching in 1998, I started a private tree service, Winter Greens, and took over the position of city arborist & tree warden for the City of Bath, Maine, which I still hold today. In 2007, I was approached by Southern Maine Community College to be an adjunct instructor of Intro to Arboriculture. I leapt at the chance, as I missed being in the classroom. This spring will be my 7th year there and it only gets better. Please tell us about your position now. TH: I am the Bath City Arborist & Tree Warden. I view my position as a natural resource manager and public safety official, making sure that Bath's arboreal es benefit and serve the community in a safe manner. I am appointed as tree warden once a year by the City council and am a full-time employee of the Department of Parks & Recreation's Forestry Division. I am a division of one. I do all the work in-house with help from various departments—from applying for grants, plantings, maintenance, logging, milling, climbing, Christmas lights and holiday decorations, landscape plan reviews, inventorying, appraisals, education, etc. I am often heard saying, "I am lucky to have the BEST job in the world!" Please tell us about your village. TH: Bath, Maine is home to the largest private employer in the state, Bath Iron Works, a defense contractor owned by General Dynamics. The city is located on the Kennebec River, which drains two-thirds of Maine's fresh water. Bath's waterway has the longest history of boat building in the U.S. The first ship built by European settlers, the Virginia, was built here in 1609. Bath has a population of 9,200 and occupies about 6 square miles (15 sq km). There has been a city arborist continued on page 13 … 11

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