Arborist Exchange Program

The Arborist Exchange Program offers municipal foresters, utility arborists, and tree non-profit managers around the world the opportunity to engage with colleagues, and experience urban forestry challenges and successes in varying political and cultural settings.

The program reimburses airfare, lodging, and basic travel expenses for professional exchanges up to $2,000. It is suggested that each participant will spend at least one week visiting and working with another city’s forestry department, but the length of time can be determined between each exchange participant. An exchange may be "two-way", meaning that paired participants take turns hosting the other, or "one-way", where a selected participant only visits a willing host city identified and approved by the Arborist Exchange Committee.

Why have an Arborist Exchange Program?

The purpose is to create a way for urban forest managers to exchange expertise, ideas, and technology through in-person contact and on-site experience. What better way to find out how other forestry practitioners operate than to spend time with each other? We have much to learn from other programs in our own countries and around the world, and we each have much to offer. Not only will the program facilitate the transfer of knowledge, but it will also help foster an international community of municipal arborists.

Who can apply?

Participants must be a member of SMA. One can apply to the program immediately upon joining. A candidate must be employed within the urban forestry profession for at least two years. Read about past participant exchanges here.

How will selections be made?

Two-way exchange pairings will be made by our selection committee on a “best match” basis. The number of participants will depend on available funding. Participants in local exchange programs may come from different-sized communities and/or different fields to foster exchange of information between local peers working under differing circumstances. Long-distance exchange participants will attempt to be matched with peers coming from similar-sized communities. Ideally, each forestry program will have or do something that the other can learn from - a unique or exemplary program, site condition, problem, etc. The selection committee will consider if an applicant wishes to have an exchange with someone from a preferred city, country, or region. One-way exchange selections will be based on the applicant’s programmatic needs and the potential for a viable learning experience. Cross-organizational exchanges are encouraged.

What is required from selected participants?

Participants will travel to the host city’s forestry department, with most participants spending at least one full work week at the exchange site. Participants must be able to show proof of insurance. Each participant will be required to write an article about what they learned and experienced for use in SMA's City Trees publications and possible other organizational publications. 

What is the deadline?

Applications to the Arborist Exchange Program are due May 30 and November 30 each year. The expectation is for the exchange to happen within one year of acceptance into the program.

How do I apply?

The SMA Arborist Exchange program is a member-only opportunity. To apply, login to the form. It is recommended that you review the questions and complete your responses in this Word document. You can then copy and paste your responses into the application after signing in. The application must be submitted in English. If you have questions, please reach out to the SMA Executive Director at [email protected] and the committee chair at [email protected].

Ready to apply? Complete the SMA Arborist Exchange application at the link below.

SMA Arborist Exchange Application