This week’s 2013 ISA True Professional of Arboriculture is Jim McCready of Carleton Place, Ontario — ISA Certified Arborist, Registered Professional Forester, Owner of McCready Tree & Forestry Consulting and Program Forester for Tree Canada


Jim McCready
Credit: Jim McCready / ISA

Not long after a major ice storm hammered Eastern Ontario, Canada, in 1998, government funding became available to help communities repair extensive damage to trees. But Jim McCready recalls there was an obstacle for some of the smaller communities. They didn’t have the expertise to put together plans and apply for funding. So, McCready assisted these communities by doing the inventories and preparing the applications. The money to care for the urban canopies eventually came to the three small-town communities had taken under his wing.

“One of the communities was my hometown of Carleton Place,” McCready remembers. “It received more than $180,000 to trim, remove and plant trees to replace those that were lost. As a result of the trimming, far less was spent on future cleanup after major storms.”

Those who know him best say this is quintessential Jim McCready, an under-the-radar type of guy who gives an extraordinary amount to people and trees. He may be retired following 28 years with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, but McCready is still a registered professional forester and ISA Certified Arborist who shapes the landscape of Eastern Ontario through his many volunteer efforts. In Carleton Place, McCready is known as the “Town Arborist.”

“I call it ‘small-town Ontario,’ where these communities don’t have the trained staff in arboriculture or the funds to hire anyone,” McCready explains. “As a result, it falls on dedicated volunteers like me with the background to make sure the trees are properly cared for. I am qualified so I can contribute to the community when they ask for help.”

McCready’s interest in urban forestry began in the early 1970s as a student at the University of Toronto. He was enrolled in a “Faculty of Forestry” class, which offered more than just traditional logging and silviculture courses.

Jim McCready at work
Credit: Jim McCready / ISA

“At the time, Dr. Eric Jorgensen — a man who defined the term ‘urban forestry’ — was teaching classes at the university,” McCready recalls. “So over the four years, I took full advantage of what Eric Jorgensen offered. I was extremely interested in the management of individual trees and parks in the urban setting. Jorgensen’s classes were well-attended. He engaged us with the concept later called Urban Forestry.”

McCready is the president of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest and also chair of the Regional Forest Health Network, a committee of agencies and partners promoting a sustainable forest while trying to control invasive pest species. Predictably, emerald ash borer has been at the top of their agenda for the past five years.

“With EAB in Ottawa, we came up with an urban messaging strategy for other towns and cities in our area,” McCready explains. “With help from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, we’ve developed messaging for rural landowners on how to manage their woodlots.

Through continuing education and as a steadfast volunteer, McCready wants to ensure that anyone interested can learn more about trees. Even late in his career, McCready pursued his ISA Certification as an example to others that the achievement is well worth the effort.

“Small town Ontario is not aware of urban forestry or sound arboriculture practices. ISA’s message — the promotion of good arboriculture practices for urban trees and urban forestry across the landscape — is well known in the larger cities with forestry departments. No matter what the size of the community, we need to take time to guide small-town communities in the right direction.”—Jim McCready and ISA


Join us again next Monday as we wrap up our series on 2013’s True Professionals of Arboriculture with another arborist giving his time to mentor future tree care professionals.

Catch up with the True Professionals of 2013 featured throughout December: