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WVU Extension to offer trainings to reduce risk level of arboriculture profession

Photo taken from below of man hanging from tree limb using safety harness and tie out.

Arborists have one of the riskiest professions with extremely high rates of injuries and fatalities. Recognizing the need to reduce those risk levels, West Virginia University Extension Safety and Health Extension will provide occupation-specific trainings aimed to improve safety conditions among the arboriculture industry.

The Chainsaw Safety and Tree Felling training will be held on May 5 and 6 at the University forest located just outside of Morgantown. The Tree Climbing Techniques training will be held on WVU’s Morgantown campus, June 27 and 28. Both two-day trainings will be in-person.

“WVU Extension is offering these trainings to provide arborists and tree care professionals with the education and resources needed to safely do their jobs,” Pat Donnelly, WVU Extension Safety and Health Extension research assistant for the Timber Safe grant and training coordinator, said. “These trainings are designed to not only teach the basics in tree care but advanced techniques as well that are used throughout the tree care industry.”

Participants in the Chainsaw Safety and Tree Felling class will be trained on chainsaw safety and ergonomics, as well as chainsaw design and feature benefits. The topics of limbing and bucking will be covered, too. After completing the training, arborists will be able to safely and properly execute technical cutting and felling.

Arborists also may enroll in the Tree Climbing Techniques class. This hands-on training will cover the basics of safety, teamwork and communication. Participants will review the necessary climbing gear and tools, and they will take an in-depth look at lines, knots, hitches and splicing. During the class, the instructor will discuss tie-in location selection, work positioning and fall protection, as well as work-oriented climbing.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Rowan Tree Training, a leader in arborist training, as well as the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design to offer these hands-on training classes at the University forest,” Mark Fullen, WVU Extension Safety and Health Extension program director, said.

Both training classes count toward continuing education credits for the International Society of Arboriculture’s Certified Arborist program. The cost of each class is $625 per participant with lunch provided each day. All climbing gear, personal protective equipment, saws and gasoline are to be provided by the participant.

Registration is required for both courses. Interested individuals may email or contact Donnelly at 304-212-8167 with any questions.

If you want to learn about WVU Extension, visit or follow @WVUExtension on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. 

Update as of 5/25/22: In partnership with Continuing Education, Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center, tuition assistance is available for the Tree Climbing Techniques course scheduled for June 27 and 28. Assistance is available for any remaining spots and can cover up to the full course cost upon request. Individuals must be registered. 

This training was supported by CARERC through Grant 6T42OH010278. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIOSH/CDC.



CONTACT: Lindsay Wiles
Communications Specialist, Sr.
WVU Extension