Village forester for Riverside’s public works department Michael Collins joins the Board of the Illinois Arborist Association as a municipal director and will be inducted in the IAA’s 41st Annual Conference and trade show this week.
Collins has been a forester for the department for 19 years. The department is responsible for providing a variety of services to maintain a healthy, diverse stock of trees.
“Being a part of the IAA board can bring back good standard operating procedures for the village of Riverside,” Collins said. “There is professional development with the forestry industry and being part of that and fostering this is a great opportunity to learn from other arborists and will further develop my skill set for the village.”
IAA is a non-profit organization that supports research, education, networking, and training for its members. The IAA is instrumental in Collin’s career development as a municipal arborist, he said.
Collin will moderate the afternoon sessions of the conference on one of the days, and he will engage in an IAA’s orientation and will officially start his role in January of 2024.
“It is a tremendous honor to represent the municipal sector of forestry. I am excited to give back to an organization that has given a lot to me as an arborist over the years in my career and development. I am excited to give back to the community,” Collins said.
The mission of IAA is to foster interest, establish standards, exchange professional ideas and pursue scientific research in arboriculture.
“As a municipal arborist, I have been benefiting from this mission statement for many years,” Collins said. “Science is the foundation of all learning and how we manage trees and how they react to our management strategies. That scientific base is an important one and also the educational opportunities in the interest and connecting with other professionals is all what it is all about.”
“You learn from your peers more than a textbook and this org has done than amazing job. It has been a vital part of development all along the way and everything they have done in a mission statement whether talking about scientific research and the standards,” Collins said.
Riverside’s tree population is 10,000 trees and is one of the most distinct features of Riverside, according to the department of public works.
“As a forester for the village, it can get challenging to keep up with maintenance. There are a lot of trees for one person to manage and that is the challenge in keeping up with the workload. I think it is where I am providing and maintaining a high level,” Collins said.
Throughout Collins’ 19 years as a forester in Riverside, he has initiated many different projects for the community.
“I think from my perspective, it is hard to toot my own horn, but in that vein some projects have been important to me. I value the landscape volunteer workdays,” Collins said.
The Frederick Law Olmsted Society partnered with the village of Riverside in 2023 for landscape workdays. Landscape workdays allowed landscapers the chance to fix up parks along Riverside Road and around Indian Gardens, Harrington Park and Patriots Park and among other locations in the Riverside Community.
Another thing Collins is proud of in his career is when he partnered with several people to create three boardroom tables out of an oak tree.
“I am thrilled to join the board and provide my knowledge and enthusiasm for the board to push the arbor culture industry forward,” Collins said.