This week meet our brand ambassador series of blogs, we introduce to you - Kirsten Locke. Kirsten resides in Canada and has been working with us at Arbortec since 2021, specialising in Arboriculture. Kirsten's hidden talent is tree climbing and loves nothing more than being outdoors.
We saw on your recent Instagram post that you had previously been a nurse for 3 years before coming to the arborist world - what was your experience in entering such a different industry from the one you were used to?
Switching from working full time as a Registered Nurse to becoming an arborist was definitely a big change but I knew in my heart its what I needed to do. I had been working in nursing for 3 years when I unintentionally came across arboriculture. I was asked to help out on the ground one day and I just knew that nursing truly wasn't the right fit for me anymore. I am passionate about health and healing, but working in the hospital for 12 hours a day was hurting my soul. I wanted to be outside so badly. I’m a climber and nature lover. So I started spending my days off from the hospital, working for tree service company doing ground work. It was a lot. I was tired, drained and new I needed to quit nursing.
Quitting was hard. I had worked so hard to get myself into the emergency department to just quit two months in – it seemed crazy. They offered me a Leave of Absence but I knew I wasn't coming back. I quit nursing, and whole heartedly jumped into arboriculture full time, running a business called Koala Tree with my partner. Our business took off and we had an amazing summer of work that continued into the winter. I now share my love for health by helping other tree workers improve their mobility and recovery with my courses and coaching programs.
What are some of the most valuable skills you have learnt from being in the Arb world?
Some of the most valuable skills I have learned in the Arb world will apply to ANY type of work – believing in yourself, being patient with yourself, and following your heart. I’ve had an incredible, challenging and beautiful journey working in the arb industry. From randomly coming across the industry, helping on the ground, running my own business, learning to climb simple trees, to climbing complex and technical trees, to letting go of my business, to work as a contract climber and travel.
Throughout it all I’ve learned that you can truly do anything you put your mind to by believing in yourself. At first I felt like I wasn’t enough. I constantly compared myself to my partner. I judged myself and was hard on myself. But once I started to believe in myself, and see the growth that I had experienced in such a short time, I felt so empowered. Believing in yourself is a never ending journey. I still have moments where I don’t feel strong or empowered, but with kindness and patience towards myself, I know that I can do anything. With this attitude its allowed me to put myself out there and work for other companies in new places. I’m so excited to continue this journey of self growth and discovery in the arb world.
Why are your favourite trees the ancient redwoods in California? And do you have any others now?
My favourite trees are the ancient redwoods in California because they are massive beautiful trees. Old growth forests are such a special and magical place. I have such a love for all trees. My favourite type of work is doing work that promotes the longevity of trees.
What would you say is the most rewarding thing about the work that you do?
The most rewarding thing about the work I do is making a positive impact on trees and working for homeowners who also love trees. Removals can be fun and technical, but I’d much rather keep as many healthy trees living as long as possible. Trees are awesome and so important to our world.
What would be your number one piece of advice for anyone wanting to enter the industry too?
The number one piece of advice for anyone wanting to enter the industry is to put yourself out there. There are tons of opportunities and so many ways to get started in the industry. Follow your heart, believe in yourself, and you will get to anywhere you want to be.
Where do you see yourself in the future - Would you like to try another career path if you had the choice?
I just made the decision to leave my company to travel and work as a contract climber. I see myself climbing trees, working with different organizations to protect trees, teaching tree climbing workshops, and growing my Brave Roots business of health and personal development coaching. I want to help others create a life they love and are inspired by. I’ve made some big changes, taken some risks, but everything always works out when you do what's most important to you and follow your heart.