- Associated Press - Sunday, September 17, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An assistant professor is working on creating a new regional and community forestry degree program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Eric North tells The Lincoln Journal Star that he’s trying to coin the term ‘Treehuskers’ for the students who participate because UNL students are known as Cornhuskers. North is working in a position funded through the U.S. Forest Service and the School of Natural Resources.

North said faculty are busy designing courses and curriculum to create the degree program. It’ll train everyone from urban arborists to conservationists to scale trees safely and efficiently.

The program will give students hands-on experiences, such as learn planting, pruning and diagnosing tree problems on an East Campus grove that will double as a learning lab and recruiting tool.

“If we could just name the major, it would be ‘People in trees,’” North said. “That’s really what urban forestry and horticulture is about, the human-tree interaction and teaching people how to work with both.”

Students, most of them fishery and wildlife majors, were recently introduced to the possibilities of the new program, as well as to the careers available for those who master the ropes. Student Ally Beard tried her hand at scaling a tree.

“You have to coordinate your arms and feet to pull your body up,” Beard said. “It’s not a natural way of climbing.”

North said Nebraska will need trained arborists as the emerald ash borer continues to spread across the state. Lincoln and Omaha also seek experienced arborists or consultants to help manage the hundreds of thousands of trees the cities maintained.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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