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Career Profile

Heather Dover

Arborist
Davey Tree Expert Company of Canada, Ltd.
Heather Dover | Arboricultrice
Heather Dover | Arboricultrice
Location Born
Location Now

Heather Dover is an arborist for Davey Tree Expert Company of Canada Ltd.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Mount Pleasant, Ontario Canada.

I now live in: Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

I completed my training/education at: Growing up, my family taught me to maintain the property we lived on. This included trimming and removing trees, as well as general landscaping practices. I have always been a creative, adventurous and active individual. With a diploma in Marketing and a diploma in Snow Resort Operations, I had limited formal training prior to beginning my career in Arboriculture. Before applying to any tree care companies, I acquired a Chainsaw Certification with Arbor Canada.

What I do at work

Depending on the client, location and weather, the activities of an Arborist can vary. We often complete work for municipalities, utilities or residential property owners. On a daily basis we use a variety of tools. This can include: chainsaws, hydraulic tools, pole saws, pole pruners, and other various hand tools. We also use climbing harnesses and related equipment. This includes ropes, carabiners, pulleys and other systems. The use of an aerial lift truck, dump truck and wood chipper is typical. For certain jobs we also use cranes and stump grinders.

Arborists create and review Job Plans in order to complete tasks safely and efficiently. With this tool, everyone understands their roles and responsibilities so they can be best prepared for any scenario. The identification of potential and existing hazards is a major requirement before, during and after a task. We must consider what tools are needed to complete the work or, if the task is unsafe, to not begin work at all. Whether removing an entire tree or just a few limbs we must identify when and where hazards exist in order to decide if and how they will be removed. For a safe job site, we must follow specific safety standards. We wear approved personal protective equipment, and constantly maintain, inspect and practise safe use our equipment. Safety comes first and foremost when making decisions on the job. We also consider how our decisions affect the tree we are focused on.

A career in Arboriculture requires an understanding of Biology, Physics and Engineering. We use a wide range of STEM skills. This includes Problem Solving, Creativity, Intellectual Curiosity, Data-Driven Decision-Making and Flexibility. Arborists may work in a team environment, where communication is of the utmost importance. If you have a worker aloft, trimming or removing a tree, the ground workers need to be aware of the activity at hand and act accordingly. Some Arborists may work alone, completing an inventory of trees in a woodlot for a client. They might also treat diseased trees with plant healthcare practices.

My career path is

When I was deciding on post-secondary subjects to study, I wasn’t aware of careers in Arboriculture. Growing up in a rural area, I loved spending time outdoors and physical activity. These characteristics moved me to study Snow Resort Operations. Shortly after receiving my diploma, my creative mind took me to obtain another a diploma in Business Marketing.

Before I became an employee of Davey Tree I was working in an office. I found myself wanting a change. A career in Arboriculture was attractive because I knew I would be spending my days outside. I would also be stimulating my mind and remaining physically active. I did some research and applied for positions. Although my experience was limited, I was confident my passion for the industry and willingness to learn would make me a valuable employee.

Since working for Davey Tree I have participated in many courses online, in the classroom and in the field. Currently, I am in the third year of my apprenticeship. After I have completed my required hours in the field, I will challenge the industry exams to become a certified Arborist. My parents, friends and colleagues have all influenced my decisions relating to my career. Without their support I wouldn’t be where I am today. They taught me to be confident and follow my dreams.

I am motivated by

Personally, this career is rewarding because of its challenging nature both physically and mentally. This trade feeds my constant desire to seek knowledge and improvement. The difference between every tree is something I value because it provides a level of variety in my work. I am motivated when I get to learn something new or practice a specific skill. Simply put, I get excited approaching any job, big or small.

The visual "before and after" effect of tree work can also deliver immediate satisfaction. It provides a sense of pride and accomplishment for me. It gives a sense of relief and contentment for my clients. It is a mutualistic relationship. The fact that I spend my entire day outside is what I enjoy most about my job. Often times I pause to feel the sun on my face, or take a really deep breath of fresh air, and consider how fortunate I am to be able to do so. Truly, I love my trade.

How I affect peoples’ lives

Trees play an important role in our ecosystems. They are everywhere we go and provide many benefits. In addition to being visually pleasing, trees offer shade, produce oxygen, provide food and prevent soil erosion. Without proper care they may grow into power lines or encroach on people’s property. If they grow into power lines, this can lead to power outages and harmful collapses when weather becomes severe. Arborists are experts in their field. We strive to provide a professional service while supporting an excellent client experience. The constant need for planning, planting, maintenance and removal of trees makes our career relevant. We do what is necessary to preserve our trees so they can thrive for generations. There is so much more to a career in Arboriculture than just cutting trees. It is a field with constant learning and development, a real art to become skilled in.

Outside of work I

Outside of work, I enjoy watching movies, reading and spending time at the cottage. Whether I am kayaking, wakeboarding, swimming or boating, there is something that draws me to the water and I am happiest when I am near it. I practice yoga, love to hike, play guitar, repurpose items, wood-work and cook.

My advice to others

Don't ever let a lack of experience deter you from a career (or anything) you're interested in. If you have a great attitude and a passion to learn, your skills can be developed. Learn everything you can and get involved. There is nothing to lose in asking questions if there is something you’re curious about. Send in a resume and see where it takes you.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Foreign Languages
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Technology
  • Music
  • Geography
  • Literature & Language Arts
  • Math
  • Physical Education
  • Business & Economics
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Played video games
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Learned best by doing

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