Arborists get help protecting birds

About thirty arborists recently spent a day at Sims Tree Learning Center in Jurupa Valley, CA to learn when and how to prune trees and manage landscapes to minimize harm to birds.  It is the law.  Heavy fines and even jail time can result if their actions are deemed reckless or demonstrate clear intent to harm birds.  Gillian Martin, Program Director of the Cavity Conservation Initiative, and Star Howard, Board member of Sea and Sage Audubon, joined the class to observe what the arborists are learning about protecting birds.  Their hope is that a future partnership can be formed between wildlife advocates and arborists to increase protection of birds.  West Coast Arborists Vice President, Andy Trotter, was also present at this program because of his company’s interest in supporting such a partnership.

This event is a certification program offered by Gary and Susan Sims, owners of Sims Tree Health Specialists.  The program is delivered by biologists from Kidd Biological, a consulting company.   Owner Nina Kidd and Sr. Biologist, Scott Thomas, explained the laws, reviewed the habits of birds, outlined ways to locate nests and to minimize harm while work is in progress.

This was much more than a classroom experience. The diverse and carefully constructed habitats on the large Sims Tree Learning Center property offered arborists an opportunity to practice spotting nests and to observe bird behavior.  But yet more resources at this Center supported the training of the arborists.

Sims Tree Learning Center is more than its name suggests.  It is also an intriguing natural history museum with legally held collections of insects, nests, fungi, sections of wood and more.  This is not the kind of museum where one walks in hushed voices.  It’s old barn-like structure includes, quaint, historic collectables, including old cars and memorabilia from the region.  Nostalgic, weathered, old farm items could easily recall a visit to grandma’s attic.  These treasures are the outcome of years of Susan and Gary’s study, conservation efforts and determination to preserve and protect our natural resources.  Its a secret too-well held.  I can’t imagine a better field trip for biology students, Boys and Girl Scouts, garden clubs, birdwatchers and landscape planners.

The Cavity Conservation Initiative joins the Urban Council of Arborists and other entities in commending Susan and Gary Sims for their tireless work to maintain the health of trees and the welfare of wildlife that use them.  For more information about Sims Tree Care Learning Center, please go to:


Susan Sims shows nest cavity


Nina  Kidd and Scott Thomas from Kidd Biological


Arborists look in trees for  nests

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