Arboriculture program takes U-W Stevens Point senior to new heights
By Kana Coonce
STEVENS POINT – After years of planting seeds in several fields, a senior at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s College of Natural Resources has finally found his calling in urban and community forestry.
Though he initially graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Julian Hahn struggled to find fulfilling employment afterward, working a couple of different jobs in one-year spurts each, one as a manager, another in software.
Unfortunately, try as he might, each job he worked offered Hahn less and less fulfillment with time.
Of course, every failure ultimately leads one to where they’re meant to be.
For Hahn, this meant reconnecting with his nature-loving roots.
“I kinda grew up doing a lot of camping and outdoors stuff,” said Hahn.
Prior to the pandemic, Hahn had spent much of his free time surrounded by nature, escaping the stresses of everyday life.
“I would just go camping every weekend,” Hahn said.
Then, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, on lockdown in his parents’ cabin and surrounded by nature, Hahn had the opportunity to connect with himself and the world around him.
Discovering a budding interest in trees, Hahn picked up a tree identification guide to study in his downtime.
It was not until he found a job listing for a forestry position while browsing for jobs that Hahn realized the possibility of making a living off of a lifelong passion.
Though he did not possess the qualifications at the time for the position, Hahn decided to return to school, this time with an arboreal focus in mind.
Now in his senior year, Hahn is a member of several varied organizations on and around campus, including the Society of American Foresters, the UWSP Fire Crew and the Student Society of Arboriculture (SSA).
While he joined each club to give him an idea of what he might like to do in a professional setting, he found that the SSA’s activities resonated with him most.
“I kinda fell in love with climbing trees,” Hahn said of the club, which sees its members climbing and pruning trees around campus using equipment rented from the school stockroom.
“It just opened my eyes that this was a viable option [for a career].”
Once he graduates in May, Hahn has a job lined up with lawn and tree care company SavATree in Madison.
This follows a successful internship with the company in the Twin Cities last summer.
One day, of course, once he’s obtained a bit more experience in the field, he thinks it would be “pretty awesome” to begin a tree care business of his own, one that allows him to utilize his business degree and knowledge of arboriculture.
Until then, if he’s not tending trees on campus as the pruning coordinator of the SSA, he can be found spending time with his pitbull, Tully, who is only too happy to drag him outdoors.