The 2013 Rendezvous
October 9-14, 2013
Hosted by Tree Climbers International
Simpsonwood Conference Center, Norcross, Georgia
TCI is thrilled and very excited to invite you to the 2013 Tree Climbers' Rendezvous. This five-day event is going to be fantastic. We have BIG TREES to climb and GREAT THINGS planned for when you're on the ground.
The 2013 Rendezvous celebrates the 30th year of recreational tree climbing and TCI. There are plenty of stories to be shared by some of the first members of TCI and lots of others who have been climbing throughout the years.
You don't have to be a tree climber to attend, though you may have more fun if you are! This gathering is for anyone who is interested in trees and/or the research being done in and about them.
Come Climb With Us!
The trees at Simpsonwood are exceptional. There are specimen trees of many types. There are also very large trees of species common to the Southeast of the United States: pines, poplars, oaks, and other hardwoods. Also, the grove of several large white oaks is perfect for "villages" of people sleeping in the treetops. Opportunities abound for tree climbing adventures with old friends and new friends.
Educational Program: "Citizen Science for Tree Climbers"
During any Tree Climbers' Rendezvous, there is usually a variety of excellent programs taught by climbers with special skills. The 2013 Rendezvous will be no different, and many of the classes which are always enjoyed by Rendezvous participants — including Basic Doubled- and SIngle-Rope Technique Climbing Classes (these held before the Rendezvous starts) — will be offered this year, too.
New in 2013!
TCI has also put together a very special and exciting educational program which goes well beyond the traditional Rendezvous format. The 2013 Tree Climbers Rendezvous has been organized with a distinct focus: "Citizen Science for Tree Climbers". "Citizen Science" is what it's called when non-scientists contribute data to scientific research. For example, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has an extensive data collection system to which amateur and professional bird watchers from all over the world can report their sightings. People in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network measure local precipitation and report to a national database daily. We want tree climbers to be "citizen scientists." We're up there climbing around anyway, so why not? All it takes is inspiration, know-how, and a place where the data can be stored.
During the Rendezvous, participants will have the opportunity to learn from experts how to be Citizen Scientists. You'll see evening presentations on their work, and be able to participate in daytime workshops. You can learn beginning skills for how they do what they do, and then go from there. This is a unique "first" for any Tree Climbing Rendezvous, and TCI is PROUD and THRILLED to be your host.
Measuring Big Trees and Forest Preservation:
This year's Rendezvous has been combined with the annual Rendezvous held by members of the Native Tree Society . These are the "big tree hunters" who discover, measure, and document the tallest and biggest trees in the United States and many other countries. These NTS people (in alphabetical order) will be giving featured presentations at the Rendezvous:
- Will Blozan: Co-founder and President of the Eastern Native Tree Society (forerunner of the NTS) and of Appalachian Arborists; author of “Tree Measuring Guidelines of the Eastern Native Tree Society”. Will was the director of the Tsuga Search Project aimed at documenting the greatest of the eastern hemlocks before they succumbed to the hemlock wooly adelgid. He is currently part of the research team mapping the canopy structures of the giant sequoias, including the "President Tree" featured in the December 2012 National Geographic Magazine.
- Robert Leverett: Co-founder and Executive Director of the Eastern Native Tree Society (forerunner of the NTS). Bob has been called an "Evangelist for Old Growth." He is the Co-founder and President of the Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest, a non-profit environmental organization; principal architect of the Ancient Eastern Forest Conference Series; and co-founder of the Forest Summit Lecture Series at Holyoke College, MA. Bob is also co-author of The Sierra Club Guide to the Ancient Forests of the Northeast and Eastern Old-growth Forests - Prospects for Rediscovery and Recovery.
- Joan Maloof: Founder and Director of the Old Growth Forest Network; author of Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests and Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest.
Members of the NTS are in the process of creating a program by which people can be "credentialed" in accurate tree measuring techniques. TCI wants to help them recruit a new army of climbers and non-climbers to use those techniques.
Canopy Research and Tree Biology
Opportunities will also be rich and plentiful to learn about tree biology and canopy research. The following people will also be giving featured presentations at the Rendezvous:
- Kim Coder: Professor of Tree Biology and Health Care at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia. Dr. Coder was elected President of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) by fellow professionals, has served as an appointed member of the USDA Secretary's National Advisory Committee on Urban and Community Forestry, and was President of the international Arboriculture Research and Education Association. For his dedication to trees and the tree health care providers, he was awarded the top world-wide, peer selected professional awards (“Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education,” “Harris Author Citation Award,” and the "Award of Achievement,") by the ISA. Dr. Coder is author of over 500 technical publications and articles. He is an international lecturer and consultant on tree health and structure, community forests, and urban ecology.
- Meg Lowman: Director of the North Carolina Nature Research Center (NRC); Executive Director of the Tree Foundation; author of Forest Canopy Methods. "CanopyMeg" pioneered the science of canopy ecology. For over 30 years, she has designed hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration to solve mysteries in the world’s forests, especially insect pests and ecosystem health. Recent activities have included documenting and working to preserve the unique church forest of Ethiopia.
- Richard Preston: Author of The Wild Trees, The Hot Zone, and other books and New Yorker magazine articles too numerous to name. Was a member of the four-person climbing team which made first ascent into "Hyperion," the world's tallest tree; also climbed with Steve Sillett and Marie Antoine into some of the tallest redwoods in the United States and eucalyptus trees in Australia.
- Cameron Williams: Graduate student in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Cameron researches water use and transport in California redwoods. Since 1999 he has climbed trees in pursuit of a deeper understanding of how trees work, a quest that has carried him aloft into trees of all shapes and sizes. Cameron also teaches research climbing to scientists. He also installs rigging for film crews and photographers to capture images from “birds-eye points-of-view” in old-growth forests.
Many of our speakers will also be teaching practical daytime workshops in which participants will learn how to measure trees accurately -- from the ground and from the treetops -- and how to perform canopy research by collecting specimens and analyzing them using microscopes.
Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center is a perfect place for a Rendezvous. The property is bordered on one side by the Chattahoochee River. Its trees are typical of a mature forest in the Southeast: big and tall red oaks, white oaks, poplars, hickories, loblolly pines … all these and more are plentiful. It's only about 45 minutes from the Atlanta Airport and easy to get to from major freeways. But when you're there, you'll feel like you're far away from a big city.
Simpsonwood's dining room is huge, and the buffet-style meals offer choices for any type of diet. There is a big conference room for evening presentations; small meetings and indoor workshops can be held in break-out rooms. Participants can camp in or under trees, or stay in motel-style rooms onsite. We couldn't ask for a better venue close to Atlanta.
Essential Information and Registration Details
We expect this Rendezvous to attract a very large number of participants. Register early to hold your place!
The Rendezvous starts on Wednesday, October 9 at noon with lunch, and ends on Monday, October 14 after breakfast.
The 2013 Rendezvous is open to anyone who wants to attend. We expect and look forward to hosting many international participants in addition to those from the States. We also hope to have a mix of recreational climbers, arborists, and research climbers. Non-climbers might be scientists and/or tree lovers of any sort.
If you are going to climb, you must be able to climb on your own safely and supply your own climbing gear. There are trees suitable for doubled- and single-rope technique climbing (DRT and SRT, respectively), so bring a 150- to 200-foot rope. (People who are taking a Basic DRT Tree Climbing Course immediately prior to the Rendezvous [see below] will be able to borrow gear from TCI during the Rendezvous.) All climbers will be required to wear a helmet and to use branch protection at all times. For safety purposes, climbers will be encouraged to use TCI's "Climber Above" banners on the tree that they are climbing. All participants will be required to sign a Waiver of Liability form.
Children are welcome if they are able to climb on their own. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult at all times throughout the Rendezvous. There is special pricing for adults with children; please choose your registration options carefully.
Pets are not welcome! We'd love to meet your doggie or kittycat, but another time, please!
• Food and Lodging
All meals are included in the cost of rooms and camping accomodations. There is a place on the Registration form for you to let us know if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Since there will a wide variety of food from which to choose at all meals, we are unable to manage specific food allergies.
Camping: Participants at the 2008 Tree Climbing Rendezvous will remember the big campground with a firepit. This year we will also be using the large athletic field meadow for camping. If you want to camp in the treetops, the grove of white oaks behind the campground is perfect for numerous "tree villages" which can easily accommodate dozens of hammocks. Showers and restroom facilities for campers are available, but limited. Camping cost is $55 per night per person, includes all meals and taxes.
Rooms: For people who want to stay indoors, there are lovely rooms for one, two, or three people. Each room has its own bathroom. Wi-fi is available onsite, but rooms do not have a phone or TV. There is a place on the registration form for you to enter the name(s) of people you will be rooming or camping with. If you don't know anyone else who is coming, and want to stay in a double or triple room, we will assign you a roommate (of the same sex) in mid-September. Various options are available for rooming, starting at $95 per night in a triple room, $110 per person in a double room, $150 per night in a single room; includes all meals and taxes.
Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center is located in Norcross, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta and outside the I-285 Atlanta Perimeter highway. If you're driving, pay close attention to the directions once you get off the freeway, as you'll pass through a residential neighborhood on your way into Simpsonwood. We suggest you print out GoogleMaps directions to find it easily. Parking at Simpsonwood is limited, and we ask that you help minimize the number of vehicles onsite by traveling with others.
If you are flying in, your destination is the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. TCI will be arranging shuttles from the airport. You can also use our Rendezvous Forums thread to arrange with others to rent a car or van.
Atlanta weather in October is usually ideal for tree climbing. Average temperatures are in the ‘70’s during the day and in the ‘60’s at night. But just to make sure you're prepared, we suggest that you check the weather before you come.
• What to Bring
TCI will send out a suggested list of items to bring as we get closer to the event. However, be prepared to bring an instrument! Late evening around-the-campfire jam sessions and sing-alongs are common at Rendezvous events!
• Pre-Rendezvous Classes
The following classes will be offered prior to the start of the Rendezvous:
- Basic (Doubled-Rope Technique) Tree Climbing Course for participants with no climbing experience. Two days, tuition $450.
- Single-Rope Technique Climbing Course for people who can climb using doubled-rope technique. Two days, tuition $450.
Both courses will start at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 7 and run through noon on Wednesday, October 9.
- Single- and Multi-pitch Rescue Course. 1-1/2 days, tuition $300.
This course will start at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 7 and run through Tuesday the 8th.
All three courses will be taught by TCI-trained instructors. If you want to take one, you will need to stay for at least two additional two nights (Monday and Tuesday). Please call us if you have questions or to register. We will send you course registration forms separately. Course tuition also includes membership in Tree Climbers International.
Pre-Rendezvous Course Cancellation Policy: Registrants must cancel no later than September 8th in order to receive a refund on your tuition deposit. If you have to cancel after that, we will refund your deposit if we are able to fill your slot.
• CPR/First Aid Class
A class in Adult/Child CPR and First Aid will be taught at Simpsonwood by a trainer from the American Heart Association (AHA) on Thursday, Oct. 10 from 8 a.m. - noon. The cost is $50, which includes AHA certification good for two years. Sign-up is on page 2 of the Registration Form.
The price of this year's Rendezvous includes a fixed registration fee of $100 plus a per day for food and lodging (combined) fee (pro-rated for local participants). The fees for accommodations also include the hefty 13% sales tax we are required to pay.
We are trying to keep the price of the Rendezvous as reasonable as possible for everyone who attends. We will also be supporting some participants who cannot afford the cost on their own. For these reasons, we will not be able to offer an early-bird registration discount.
Deposit: We require each participant to pay at least half of their total Rendezvous fee by August 4 unless you make different arrangements with us. We prefer payment by check or money order (in U.S. dollars equivalent, please!) made payable to Tree Climbers International, Inc. and sent to PO Box 5588, Atlanta, GA 31107, USA). If you need to pay by credit card, you can call us with a card number or pay via Paypal (an account is not required for use of Paypal.) The balance of your payment (again, preferably by check) will be due at Rendezvous check-in.
Room Cancellation Policy: Simpsonwood has a strict room guarantee policy. After August 7, we will be charged for any rooms that have been reserved. Therefore, if you must cancel, please let us know as far in advance as possible. The following applies:
- If you cancel prior to August 4, we will refund your entire deposit minus a $25 administrative fee.
- From August 5 to September 22, we will have to deduct an additional $50 per night from your deposit.
- Cancellations received on or after September 23rd will forfeit your entire deposit. However, we will refund as much of your deposit as we can if we are able to fill your slot from a waiting list or last-minute request to attend.
Camping Cancellation Policy: Campers who cancel as of September 22 will be refunded your entire deposit minus a $25 administrative fee. Cancellations received on or after September 23rd will forfeit your entire deposit. However, we will refund as much of your deposit as we can if we are able to fill your slot from a waiting list or last-minute request to attend.