Past ISA President Named 'True Professional of Arboriculture™”

Mark Roberts continues to influence arborists all over the world

Atlanta GA (12 August 2019) – Mark Roberts of Dunedin, New Zealand, has been named a “True Professional of Arboriculture™” by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This award honors arborists and tree care professionals for their positive impact on the industry and in their communities.

Mark Roberts is an ISA Certified Arborist® and Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) trainer, as well as owner of the arborist collective, Roberts Consulting.

Roberts has more than 25 years of arboriculture experience and has worked in all areas of the industry. “When I heard about an arboriculture college being set up in New Zealand, and I realized there were only 10 graduates so far, I thought, ‘This could be me! I can be one of the top 20 best arborists in the country!,’” Roberts says with a laugh. “It was the fairly thoughtless whim of a teenager, getting into arboriculture, but I just can’t seem to leave. I like trees, of course, but even more than that I like finding things out.”

His love of “finding things out” spurred his educational career. After becoming a credentialed arborist, Roberts worked as a climbing arborist in both England and Australia before returning to New Zealand to pursue a science degree while working as an arboricultural trainer at Otago Polytechnic. Within five years, he became the program manager, gained his science degree, obtained a National Certificate in Arboriculture, and became an ISA Certified Arborist. He was also elected to the board of the New Zealand Arboriculture Association, became its president and acted as the New Zealand representative on the ISA’s Council of Representatives.

In 2005, Roberts left Otago Polytechnic to set up a private training company called Thoughtplanters. As the academic manager of Thoughtplanters, Roberts gained registration with the New Zealand Qualification Authority, and the Australian Skills Quality Authority. He also received a diploma in Adult Education, became an ISA TRAQ instructor and was elected president of the ISA Board of Directors.

“It felt quite good to get elected onto the board. Getting to meet all these people was pretty exciting for me,” he says. “I’d never been on a board before, especially not anything international, and then they made me president. I was so immersed in it at that stage that it didn’t really hit me until later.”

Roberts has delivered training to hundreds of students and industry trainees, and has helped develop arboricultural qualifications in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. He spent six years working on the New Zealand government approved Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Arboriculture, and has been the document controller for the New Zealand Industry Best Practice Guide for Safety and Health in Arboriculture since its creation in 2005. He doesn’t get to teach as much as he used to, but he still loves it. “I get quite energized from standing in front of a class all day. Teaching feels almost selfish to me; I like it so much. I get as much, if not more, out of it than the students do,” he says.

As a former ISA board president, Roberts is no stranger to the True Professional of Arboriculture™ award. “Anytime I’m recognized for anything,” he says, “I get a bit humble. I strongly believe that while it’s nice to be acknowledged, what we do tomorrow is so much more important than what we’ve already done. I’m excited and grateful for the award, but tomorrow is the most important thing.”

“ISA True Professionals of Arboriculture recognize those ISA members who share with the world the importance of professional arborists to the care of trees and the successful cultivation of healthy trees in our environments,” says Pedro Mendes Castro, ISA Board of Directors recent past president.

One of five individuals selected as a “True Professional of Arboriculture,” Roberts was recognized by ISA during the opening general session of the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show in Knoxville, Tennessee, August 12.

This recognition program was launched in 2009 to increase public understanding of arboriculture and the professional skills of today’s arborists. The ISA Awards Committee, a diverse group of experts from within the arboriculture industry, select the True Professionals from nominations submitted by industry colleagues, community leaders and others. 

About ISA

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., is a nonprofit organization of nearly 60,000 members and credential holders worldwide, supporting tree care research and education. To promote the importance of arboriculture, ISA manages the consumer education website,, which fulfills the association’s mission to help educate the public about the importance and value of proper tree care. Also, as part of ISA’s dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information on ISA and Certified Arborists, visit


Linda Martinez

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Mary Tveit


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