Students grab hold of tree-climbing competition

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HARTFORD--They took things to another level in Bushnell Park on Friday, all part of the Tree Care Industry Association Expo which is in Hartford for the first time since 2011.

While the actual convention is taking place at the Connecticut Convention Center, the student tree-climbing events happened amid the red oaks in Bushnell Park. More than 400 arboriculture and urban forestry students--both in high school and college--participated in events like the "Throw Line" and the "Belayed Speed Climb."

Anita Gambill, from Stihl, a chainsaw manufacturer that sponsors the event, said, "It's very important that we educate the next generation of tree care workers because there is a shortage of workers."

Offering expert tips and insights from the ground level was Mark Chisholm, a New Jersey-based arborist and three-time world champion tree climber. Chisholm said, "These kids are getting a lot more than learning techniques and safety, they are getting credits to take home with them."

Kyle Krowlicki, a 23-year-old student who is studying to become a master arborist at the Milwaukee Area Technical College, said of the competition, "It's like an adult jungle gym, you're up in a tree, swinging around and doing what you love to do."

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