The American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) is the main tree body representing US professional practice, overseeing a rigorous process for vetting and approving tree consultants (www.asca-consultants.org). Its Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) designation is widely recognised as the most coveted measure of professional achievement in the US, with formidable entry standards.
Horticulture Week columnist Barrell was awarded his certificate at the 2010 ASCA Annual Conference in Florida from ASCA President, James Allen, who said:
"Our first RCA from the UK is extremely encouraging because it demonstrates that ASCA has the potential to develop internationally, which will benefit the whole consulting community. We are confident that our ASCA values and professional standards have an international appeal, and look forward to developing a constructive and progressive relationship with other consultants and organisations from the UK."
"The RCA process is as tough as it gets in tree consulting, which is what makes it such an important achievement. Although consulting principles are similar around the world, to meet another country’s standards is a daunting prospect and I feel honoured to have been accepted into such an elite group of professionals."
In the UK, Barrell’s consulting business (www.barrelltreecare.co.uk) has five other consultants specialising in the legal and planning aspects of tree management. He found the RCA testing procedure so useful that he will be putting them all through the ASCA course over the next few years.