Certified arborist teaches students proper way to climb trees
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE -- A unique school is helping Space Coast residents to reach new heights -- literally.
Avalon Standstall, a semi-retired resident, has opened a 40-hour Tree Climbing School in Melbourne, so students can become professionally certified for pruning or recreational purposes.
Mr. Standstall began working in the tree business in 1996. Recently, he decided he wanted to teach his skills to those who are willing to learn.
"You will get a chance to learn skills you can't (in other places)," he said. "If you want to be in the tree profession, once you learn these skills, you are improving these skills and have a better chance of getting work others can't. People around here respect people, who can climb a tree without bringing heavy equipment."
The 40-hour course takes place on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mr. Standstall said each day will focus on mastering a different skill.
On the first day, students learn about different kinds of gear and equipment used in climbing and safety procedures.
The second day, Mr. Standstall said, students put on harnesses and practice going up the tree to get used to climbing, while using ropes and harnesses.
The third day teaches students how to climb trees with different types of equipment and get them used to swinging around from one limb to another.
The fourth day, the group will work on going higher up a tree, and, on the last day, Mr. Standstall said students will go as far up the tree as they can.
If students are comfortable enough, Mr. Standstall said they will go as far as 75 feet up a tree.
Students will also be given a climbing test and written test. If they pass this portion of the course, they will receive a certification saying they have completed a professional course.
Mr. Standstall, who is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, said he is working with the city of Melbourne to allow him to use city parks for his school.
The course is $10 an hour, which translates into a $400 course.
For more information, call (321) 223-0016.