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Tree Expo In The Midst Of "Arbor-geddon"


The foremost experts in the tree care industry have gathered in Hartford this week, just as the state’s power system is devastated by snow damage to trees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Just as chain saws are being fired up and tree crews are working round the clock across Connecticut, delegates from all over the country flocked to Hartford Thursday for the annual Tree Care Industry Association conference. Mark Garvin is President of the Association. He says attendance is down this year.

"A lot of our New England members, they're busy. They're working pulling trees off people's houses."

The floor of the Connecticut Convention Center is filled with bucket trucks, chippers and chain saws and even a demonstration tree. Garvin says the state may well benefit from the coincidental timing of the convention.

"This is a small group of people who get to know each other fairly well over the years, and so we're seeing that some of our members from Georgia and Virginia are talking to their New England members, and they're sending crews up. So we've got trucks rolling right now. Home owners will probably see, right alongside their local tree company, folks from Vermont or Virginia or Georgia."

Doug Malawsky works for HCI, a North Carolina company that coordinates tree work for insurance companies. He has four crews coming in from out of state to work the storm damage. But he says actually being here in Connecticut for this convention has brought home what an exceptional event this was.

"We landed at the Hartford airport. Coming in, the amount of tree damage... We have not seen anything like that. We worked Irene, and this event, every tree had some level of impact. It was, I think, maybe unprecedented."

The conference organizers have decided to throw open the doors to local professionals for free on Saturday. Mark Garvin:

"If you've been doing tree work or storm work or utility work, and you want to take a few hours to stop by TCI Expo, come on in on Saturday."

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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