Ant’s childhood predilection for tree climbing went undeveloped until a chance meeting with an Irish arborist while he was working in France.
On returning to Australia, Ant took seminal steps in the field of arboriculture, completing his first TAFE course in 1996. Since then he has attained diplomas in arboriculture and horticulture as well as a graduate certificate in arboriculture.
Ant worked in England, Sydney and the Blue Mountains as an arborist for many years, both in his own business and as a contract climber.
The wide breadth of experiences in this period involved collaborating with numerous experts in the field and gave him a solid foundation to build on.
His interests grew to include the physiology of plants, a subject whose complexity 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, with a strong emphasis on management of the extensive tree population.
Amongst other things this involves dismantling dead or dangerous trees (or just sections of them) in situ by climbing them and lowering sections with ropes. There is also remedial pruning to perform, seed collection, and taking samples for scientific work.
The team monitors and controls populations of pest insects and other pathogens. They also provide expert advice to other agencies, or in relation to construction work planned in the vicinity of trees. These and other tasks require a specialised suite of training and skills.
Ant’s pastimes also include 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: