turned them into a career. Boyer's kindled his forestry flame during his childhood days on his family's farm near Fair Grove. Tree climbing and tree houses were simply part of being a kid on the heavily timbered acreage. Beasley's grandfather, Ernest, manned the first fire tower in Texas County and began operating a tree farm in the 1930s. Danny's father, Verlin, has continued the family tree farm operation and was named the Missouri Department of Conservation's state tree farmer in 1982.
"The whole family's just rich in conservation history," said Conservation Department district forester Gary Smith, who has helped the Beasleys on many projects. "Verlin has worked with every forester that has been assigned to Texas County."
"I've known Danny since he was a little kid," he added, "and I remember him being around whenever we did things. He had an interest in all their farming enterprises, and trees were a big part of their farm."
At 6-foot-6, Beasley isn't so little any more, but he hasn't outgrown his interest in tree work.
"It's physically strenuous work and mentally strenuous, too, but it's very interesting," he said. "Things are never dull."
"The part I like about this job most is its variety," he explained. "I don't sit behind a desk. There's something different every day. It's still exciting to get up in a tree and be hanging on that rope. That little bit of nervousness you're feeling is half the fun." However, he knows this type of fun can't last forever.
"Tree climbing is hard on your body," he added. "It's not something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. In the future, I would like to get more into the consulting side of tree work."
Consultation may not be an event in the ISA competition, but it's an important part of an arborist's job. It's becoming increasingly important in urban areas where homeowners are more interested in caring for the trees in their front yards than the timber on their "back 40." That, in a nutshell, is the difference between arboriculture and forestry.
"Arboriculture deals more with individual tree care, whereas the term 'forestry' usually refers to the management of a collection of trees," said Lisa Allen, the forestry field programs supervisor for the Conservation Department. "In the past, most forestry efforts were geared more toward rural forest issues, and arborists worked in urban areas. Now, however, more and more emphasis is being placed on urban forestry.
"Events like the ISA Arboriculture Competition helps spread appreciation of trees," Allen said. "The more publicity these events get, the more the general public realizes that trees are resources that need to be managed."
"At this time, the Conservation Department has five foresters on staff that are ISA-certified arborists," she continued. "The Department's link with ISA has been professional, and it's been a good relationship."
Arborists and foresters both have the same mission-to promote good tree care. Regardless of whether they're involved in day-to-day work or once-a-year competition, that purpose doesn't change.
Like the ISA competition, this mission can be a tough climb.