Ant's childhood predilection for tree climbing went undeveloped until a chance meeting with an Irish arborist while working in France.
On returning to Australia, Ant took seminal steps in arboriculture, completing his first TAFE course in 1996. He then gained diplomas in arboriculture and horticulture and a graduate certificate in arboriculture. After that, Ant worked as a self-employed arborist and contract climber in England and Sydney for many years.
Ant's breadth of experience in this period involved collaborating with experts in the field and gave him a solid foundation to build on. His interests grew to include the physiology of plants, a subject that is constantly evolving.
"I love how challenging it is, how diverse and endless, and also how downright incredible. The interactions of atoms, chemicals, DNA, proteins, cells, tissues, pathogens and other organisms are truly stranger than fiction! It's exciting to have a passion you think could be sustaining for the rest of your life."
As a Senior Horticulturist specialising in arboriculture, Ant is responsible for a team of horticulturists. His role has a strong emphasis on the management of the Garden's extensive tree population.
One aspect of the job is dismantling dead or dangerous trees (or just sections of them) in situ by climbing them and lowering sections with ropes. Also integral to the work is remedial pruning, seed collection and taking samples for scientific work.
Ant's team monitors and controls populations of pest insects and other pathogens. They also provide expert advice to other agencies in relation to construction in the vicinity of trees. These and other tasks require a specialised suite of training and skills.
Ant's enjoys rock climbing; he has travelled in Europe, North America and Asia to climb and visit other botanic gardens and ecosystems with interesting tree populations.
You can see Ant at work in the video below: