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Arbor Plant Health Care
David Cooper grew up in rural Newfoundland in the small town of Point Leamington with a population of 800 people.
He, along with his dad and grandfather, had a small family-owned sawmill and worked in the woods.
“I was involved until I graduated from high school and realized there was not much of a future in the sawmill or forestry but I always loved the woods and working with trees,” he explained.
With a friend attending the AC, Dave looked closer into the programs. The landscape horticulture program appealed to him as it seemed to have a little bit of everything – including arboriculture.
“It would be an outside job and physical work and I enjoy both,” he added.
Dave began the two-year program and graduated in 2001, but was having so much fun he returned and completed the four-year program, graduating with a Bachelor of Technology in Landscape Horticulture in 2003.
After finishing his program, Dave worked throughout New England for a couple of different arboriculture firms to gain industry experience and insight, while making key industry connections. Following this, in 2006, Arbor Plant Health Care was born.
Strategically located in Grand Lake, within the Halifax Regional Municipality, Dave began Arbor with nothing but a 3/4 ton truck, some chainsaws and eventually an old chipper purchased from one of the companies he had worked for in New England.
“When I started, I had no clients, so I was willing to prune trees, put in a new walkway, clean gutters, or paint houses to pay the bills,” he said. “I did what I had to do to make it work!”
Over the past 16 years, the company has grown to include numerous trucks, chippers, and other specialized equipment to make the job safer and more efficient. It has also grown to include several additional AC alumni – seven out of eight field staff are AC grads! Apart from Dave, the staff includes Kirk Fletcher (Class of ’92), Chris Clements (Class of ’96), Fraser Hart (Class of ’10), Adam Banks (Class of ’04), Seth MacIntosh (Class of ’02 and ’09), and Blair Cameron (Class of ’05 and ’07). Dave’s wife, Carla (Shaw) Cooper (Class of ’03 and ’06), who he met at the AC and married in 2006, recently joined the Arbor team for admin and tech support
Pictured are Arbor Plant Health Care team members (wearing hard hats) with assistant professor Tracey MacKenzie and current Faculty of Agriculture students. At the rear is Dave Cooper, with Kirk Fletcher (L) and Chris Clements (R) in front.
“We currently focus on caring for trees and shrubs,” Dave explained. “We like to preserve trees as much as possible, but tree removal is still a big part of the business. Our services include tree and shrub pruning and removal, fertilizing, stump grinding and removal, tree and shrub planting, and consulting.”
Dave and his team were recently invited back to campus to chat with students about the industry, arboriculture, and specifically about the role of Arbor Plant Health Care within the industry.
Arbor also led the effort in tree pruning and removal on campus after Hurricane Fiona. Dave still has a strong connection to the AC, as he maintains a close friendship with professor and mentor, Tracey MacKenzie.
“There were several trees that were not structurally sound anymore and deemed hazardous that needed to be removed,” he explained. “There were other trees we pruned to mitigate risk by taking out dead, broken and hanging branches”.
Kirk Fletcher, Class of 1992, completed a two-year diploma in landscape horticulture and lived in Chapman House during his time on campus. He was part of the crew helping with the Fiona clean up on campus.
“Every time I come to campus I have a flood of memories, a lot of good memories,” he explained. “I was in Chapman House for two years – rooms 104 and 301,” he added.
“The environment is paramount – all aspects of it, water, air, soil, animals, habitats, plants – having that knowledge base provides tons of potential and fantastic opportunities on this campus.”
To learn more about Arbor Plant Health Care, visit arbornovascotia.com.
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