Sarah Buckleitner ’14 has accepted a job as a tree inspector for the City of Apple Valley in Apple Valley, Minn. Having already done extensive work studying trees during her time at the Colleges, Buckleitner said she graduated from HWS both excited and prepared to tackle her new career.
As a tree inspector, Buckleitner is responsible for mapping trees using geographic information system (GIS) technology to locate diseased trees. She also is doing hands-on field work, carrying out an array of duties including tree inspections on both public and private property for dangerous diseases such as Dutch elm disease and oak wilt; providing preventative treatment recommendations and follow up inspections to assure compliance with diseased tree ordinance; and working on tree inventory and tree identification.
Buckleitner, an environmental studies and writing and rhetoric double major, attributes the skills she learned and experiences she had at HWS to much of what prepared her for the new job. It’s also her writing and rhetoric courses gave her a considerable advantage.
“Being a writing and rhetoric major really helped me because they really force you to look at how you ended up where you are and why you chose what you want to do,” Buckleitner says. “This helped me with the application process and the interview because I knew exactly what I wanted to say and how to say it.”
The environmental aspect of her studies also gave her the first-hand experience and skills necessary to take on a forestry job. She was an urban forestry intern with the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI), which she said was similar to her current position.
“The internship helped a lot,” she says. “It gave me hands-on experience going out and looking at trees.”
Through the internship, Buckleitner says she learned how to identify trees and how to gauge how healthy they were, and got practice mapping the distribution of trees.
“This job sets me on the path of getting more hands-on experience and studying trees first-hand,” she says.
At HWS, Buckleitner was a member of the Sustainable Foods Club, Phi Beta Kappa and helped spearhead the Colleges’ Tree Campus USA initiative through her work with the FLI.