The Buzz

MBG Arborist Chris O'Bryan talks trees

During the summer at MBG, our camps get kids hooked on trees, wildlife, soil, gardening, and nature in general. In preparing for the Backyard Explorers Camp (July 20-24) for ages 10-12, I really wanted these tween-agers to receive input from local professionals in the natural sciences that their interests can turn into careers. For our day focused on trees and forests, who else would be my special guest other than our very own Garden Arborist?

Chris O’Bryan has been part of our team for over 5 years and became the Arborist 2 years ago. You might spot him in the Garden, just look up! A few weeks before the camp, I asked him to bring his tree climbing gear, talk about his job as the MBG Arborist, and give some fun tree facts that might instill an appreciation of trees. Getting up in front of kids can be daunting; all those skeptical, youthful stares while you’re wondering if they have any interest at all in what you are saying. I assured him that the pre-teens would definitely like to know how he safely ascends our mighty giants.

The day came, and we had 45 minutes scheduled for his talk. We met in the shade of the lovely Pine Grove on a hot summer afternoon. Despite having walked across the Garden, then taking turns going into the building for water breaks, when Chris arrived with his gear and information the campers became contented little sponges. He proudly shared with them for almost an hour and a half, only stopping to get back to our class for parent pick-up.

He showed the kids tree trimming techniques and how different tools work, throw bags for preparing a climb, and he let them try on the waist belt. He talked about tree basics, like the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees, leaves and needles, and parts of a tree. The students prodded with many questions about things such as galls, life and nutrient cycle, and historic trees. They were excited to hear that, on October 3, they could come to the Garden to watch the tree-climbing championship during the Urban Forestry Conference! They were rapt. All the students were very interested in our special guest and the possibility of a future career in (the) trees.

Want to have Chris speak at your educational gathering? Contact

Posted by Charity Siebert at 6:00 AM


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