For more than a half of a century the Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA) has served as ambassadors for the urban trees throughout the state of Wisconsin. In 1964, a dedicated group of 38 arborists joined forces to create the association that has grown to over 700 members today. The association was formed to bring together both municipal and commercial arborists in the fight against Dutch Elm Disease and help promote proper tree care. Professional development of the WAA members through fantastic educational programs remains a core objective of the WAA today.
As a chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the WAA has hosted the International Tradeshow and Conference four different times and is regarded as one of the strongest single state chapters in all of the ISA. Since 1966, the WAA has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars of free tree work to non-profit organizations through an annual Day of Service where members volunteer their time, talents and equipment. The generosity of the members has not been limited to donating of time and equipment. Over the years, the WAA has been recognized as an international leader in generating donations for the TREE Fund. Recently, a historic fundraising goal of $250,000 was surpassed by WAA members to spearhead the Bob Skiera Memorial Building Bridges Fund.
The WAA is also leading the way in finding creative ways to get more young professionals into the industry by working with State officials and school districts (both high school and secondary education) to highlight and promote urban forestry and arboriculture. With the association’s continued effort at promoting the professionalism of the industry, the future looks bright for all of the urban trees in Wisconsin.
Significant Events in the WAA and Green Industry:
August 1948 – International Society of Arboriculture held annual conference in Milwaukee.
July 1956 – First confirmed case of Dutch Elm Disease in Wisconsin. Found in Beloit.
1956 to 1963 – Dutch Elm Disease Conference was held in Madison. At the 1963 conference, the idea of creating the Wisconsin Arborist Association blossomed.
December 8th & 9th, 1964 – First Annual Wisconsin Shade Tree Conference.
December 9th, 1964 – Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA) was formed. Rudy Lange was elected as the first President of the association.
August 1966 – The first Day of Service took place at the Mt. Vernon Forest of Fame in Mt. Vernon, WI.
January 1972 – The WAA and UW-Extension co-sponsored the First Annual Arborists Short Course in Madison.
April 1973 – After much debate and discussions, the WAA membership voted against joining the
Wisconsin Landscape Federation and remained an independent organization.
December 1976 – Dr. Alex Shigo spoke at the Arborists Short Course.
October 1980 – After many unsuccessful tries at creating a licensing law for arborists, the WAA retired this objective.
1980 – The WAA becomes an official Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
1985 – The Annual ISA conference was held in Milwaukee, WI.
1987 – The ISA created the Certified Arborist credential.
1992 – The WAA and the Wisconsin DNR’s Urban Forestry Program began a partnership for Annual Conference.
1995 – The first ANSI standards were released for urban forestry.
2001 – The Annual ISA conference was held in Milwaukee, WI.
2006 – WAA Past President, Bob Skiera was elected into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame as the first Urban Forester.
2006 – The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) began Accreditation program to heighten the professionalism of private tree care companies.
2008 – Emerald Ash Borer was found in Wisconsin for first time at Fireman’s Park in Newburg, WI.
2010 – TCIA created the Certified Tree Safety Professional (CTSP) designation.
2011 – The WAA Safety Committee was formed, marking the first formal committee by an ISA chapter to solely focus on safety topics for the membership.
2013 – After years of discussion, the WAA hired its first Administrative Consultant, WWJ Enterprises, LLC.
2013 – The ISA created the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) credential.
August 2014 – The Annual ISA Conference and Tour des Trees was held in Milwaukee, WI.
August 2014 – WAA members surpassed a goal of $250,000 in donations to the TREE Fund to spearhead the Bob Skiera Building Bridges Memorial Fund.