Tree climbing, fishing, guitar, insect collecting
About Ryan Spafford:
I grew up in a small town in southern Ontario where there were more trees than people; a common answer to the question, “What do you want to do?” was “Climb trees!” I had a sprawling Manitoba maple in the back yard that was my own personal jungle gym. Having no idea that I could make a living climbing trees, I aspired from a young age to be a veterinarian. As fate would have it, I did not go to veterinary school but did complete a biology degree at Waterloo with a focus on ecology and environmental biology.
From there, I worked in environmental consulting and eventually completed a graduate biology degree at York University – My thesis involved insect diversity and population responses to plant invasions in the rolling grasslands of Montana. Among other things, I learned that being outrun by an angry badger is a terrifying and humbling experience.
Following grad school and a brief second tour in environmental consulting, I found the Urban Arboriculture program and Humber College and all the pieces fell in to place. I had found a career that is both an art and a science – bridging the gap between my carefree childhood days and my education. Working at Kelly’s has been a rewarding experience and I learn something new every day. When I am not thinking about arboriculture I am always on the look out for interesting insects to add to my pinned collection. My favourite groups to collect are the flies and beetles, many of which are important pests (and pollinators!) of trees.