Published On: October 24th, 2019Categories: News

EDC to offer free Tree Worker Basics Course on Orcas Island


In partnership with Rain Shadow Consulting, the San Juan County Economic Development Council (EDC) will offer a free 6-week training in tree work and arboriculture, beginning December 5th.  This course is sponsored by Walt Corbin and the Kiwanis Club of Orcas Island.

The course will be taught at the Rain Shadow Consulting office by Carson Sprenger, who has over 20 years of experience working in the forests of the San Juan Islands.  This program is intended to benefit participating students as well as local companies in need of skilled employees.

The hands-on curriculum has been designed for students and career changers interested in working in the tree care/tree service and landscaping trades.  The class will cover:

  • Tree worker safety and how to avoid common injuries
  • WA Labor & Industries laws and employer responsibilities for tree workers
  • Tools of the trade (PPE, ropes, rigging systems, climbing systems, aerial lifts, hand saws, chain saws, chippers, tree service trucks)
  • Proper pruning techniques (how to do it right!)
  • Tree felling techniques and specialized rigging systems
  • Care and feeding of your chainsaw and other common tool maintenance
  • Working with rope: knots to know and basic splicing
  • Tree and plant health (keep trees happy and thriving!)
  • Common tree species and basic tree identification
  • Tree physiology and how trees respond to injury
  • Physical demands of working in the tree care trades
  • Industry organizations and certification (from tree worker to certified arborist)


The class will have at least two guest speakers from local tree care companies and will end with a Saturday field day for some hands-on learning and equipment demonstrations.  No tree felling or chainsaw use will be part of this class.  The course will prepare students for an entry level arborist position, and is not intended for D.I.Y. home repairs.


This six-week course will run from 5:30-7:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from December 5th 2019 through January 23rd 2020, with one on-site day on Saturday, February 1st. There is no cost for the training; pre-registration and a $10 filing fee is required.  The deadline to apply is Thursday, November 21st.


To apply, please visit the EDC’s website at  For more information call the EDC office at 360-378-2906 or email EDC Trades Coordinator at


This program is sponsored by Walt Corbin and the Kiwanis Club of Orcas Island.  The EDC’s Trades Education Initiative is additionally supported by San Juan County, the Town of Friday Harbor, the Port of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island School District, Heritage Bank, and Islanders Bank.

The San Juan County Economic Development Council (EDC) strives to strengthen and diversify the economy of San Juan County.  We believe a strong economy builds a strong community.