2017 Conference Speakers

Paul Johnson- Keynote Speaker

Paul Johnson-290-967-411 Paul believes that “Trees Are Key” to healthier and happier communities.
Currently the urban and community forestry coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service. Paul is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Board Certified Master Arborist®, an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist®, and is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. He is past chair of the Southern Group of State Foresters’ Urban and Community Forestry Committee and is a member of the ISA Board of Directors.
Paul is a Municipal Forestry Institute alumni, graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in forestry, and has been a radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, extension horticulturist, university adjunct instructor, and plant health care specialist.

Duncan Slater- Plenary Speaker

Duncan Slater Duncan is the course tutor for the MSc in arboriculture and urban forestry, both on-campus and on-line at Myerscough College. As an academic, his PhD study was in the anatomy and biomechanical performance of branch junctions in trees, concentrating on the hazel (Corylus avellana) as a test specimen. Duncan has recently found the primary cause of bark-included junctions in trees, which is the result of 'natural bracing' - touching and rubbing branches that prevent a junction from experiencing normal loading. This finding informs important changes to tree surgery and tree assessment practices.

Brian French

Brian French-934 Brian French founded Portland, Oregon-based tree care company, Arboriculture International LLC in 2013.  He is a climbing ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. Serving as coordinator for the Oregon Champion Tree Registry and Chair of the Portland Heritage Tree Program, he focuses on the preservation of significant, old trees and their associated flora and fauna. Brian facilitated various ongoing wildlife habitat projects including salmon habitat restoration, snag development, red tree vole surveys and developing urban wildlife guidelines. In Oregon, he is a rescue volunteer for organizations that rehabilitate injured birds of prey.

David Glenn - Plenary Speaker

David Glenn-380 David Glenn is the manager of Tree services for the utility lines company DELTA based in Dunedin. David has worked in the Arboriculture industry for 40 years during which time he has worked in the private sector, council sector and utility sector and arboriculture education areas.
David has been heavily involved with industry organisations including a previous president of the New Zealand Arboriculture Association (NZArbor) Chair of the NZ Notable trees Trust and Chair of Certification for the ISA certification programs.
David is the current NZArbor AS/NZ standards committee representative and has been with the 1891 standards since 2003.

Geoffrey Donovan

Geoffrey Donovan-877 Dr. Donovan has quantified a wide range of urban-tree benefits. These have ranged from intuitive benefits—reduced summertime cooling costs and increased home values, for example—to less intuitive such as crime reduction. More recently, he has focused on the relationship between trees and public health. He found that mothers with trees around their homes are less likely to have underweight babies, and when trees are killed by an invasive pest, more people die from cardiovascular and lower-respiratory diseases. He is spending 2017 at the Center for Public Health Research at Massey University investigating the impact of exposure to the natural environment on child development.

Karin van der Walt

Karin van der Walt3-894 Karin has an MSc (Ecology) complimented by 16 years’ experience in working with threatened plants. She participated in South Africa’s response to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2011-2020, and also served as an expert on the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Non Detriment Findings for cycads from South Africa.  Lessons learned from global congresses, international partnerships and qualifications enabled Karin to author and co-author 10 publications on threatened plant conservation.  In April 2016, Karin took up the position as Conservation and Science Advisor for Wellington Gardens where she is tasked with the ex situ conservation of New Zealand’s threatened plant species.

Clinton Yeats

clint yeats-115 Clinton is a business consultant who has worked with over one hundred companies, organisations and Government agencies in Australasia in the development and implementation of operational and business improvement programmes. Clinton is a "Lean Thinking" specialist with a strategic focus on the design and implementation of business improvement programmes including the training and development of staff at all levels.
Prior to moving to New Zealand in 2004, Clinton's career spanned 18 years in the motor industry with Toyota South Africa and then Nissan Motor Company in the UK and Japan. He managed multiple concurrent projects in vehicle and process development and in plant preparation. The continuous improvement ("Kaizen") of the manufacturing process through "Lean Thinking" was a central function within his roles in engineering and production management. Clinton developed his training and mentoring skills through numerous supplier development programmes within the Nissan European supply chain.

Rieke Behrens

Rieke Behrens-651 Dr Rieke Behrens currently works as an ecologist for Tonkin & Taylor in Auckland. She began her career in horticulture about 20 years ago and later moved on to study Landscape Ecology. She moved to Christchurch after her graduation and completed her dissertation work ‘Selecting public street and park trees for urban environments: the role of ecological and biogeographical criteria’ at Lincoln University in 2011. 
In 2016 she helped developing tree planting guidelines with Auckland Council with emphasis on creating urban forest providing year-round food source for native birds. 
Rieke’s focus and passion is in understanding and promoting how smart tree planting choices can create an ecosystem that is both ecologically sustainable and enjoyable.

Marie Brown

Marie Brown-767 Marie holds degrees in science and law including a PhD from the University of Waikato, which focused on compliance with ecological compensation requirements under the RMA. She has a long-standing interest in regulatory outcomes and a particular affinity for trees. Marie has a background in local government, both in RMA compliance and strategic policy with  tree protection being a speciality. Following a stint in local government, Marie completed her doctorate and joined the Environmental Defence Society of New Zealand. From 2013 to 2017, Marie led several significant research programmes in addition to preparing submissions, acting as an expert witness in Board of Inquiry processes and conducting media interviews and presentations. Marie lives in Upper Hutt with her partner Aaron, German Shepherd Sasha and new baby Lucy and now works as an environmental consultant
 Cate Macinnis-Ng
Cate MacInnis Photo-561 Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng is Senior Lecturer in Ecology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland. Her research specialty is plant ecophysiology and she is particularly interested in the influence of climatic conditions on water and carbon cycling of native forests. Since moving to Auckland in 2010 with her family, Cate has been working on the ecophysiology of kauri. Her current focus is the kauri drought experiment, a drought simulation at the Huapai scientific reserve in west Auckland. Cate is also working with students using remote sensing and shade house experiments to improve our understanding of impacts of extreme climatic events on endemic species.  
Encouraging, fostering, improving and educating in all aspects of arboriculture throughout New Zealand.