Besides recently staring in the documentary film "The Vanishing Hemlock: A Race Against Time," and also being featured in The New Yorker,
USA TODAY, and The Wall Street Journal Will Blozan '90 is an arborist, president of Appalachian Arborists Inc., and
serves as president of the Eastern Native Tree Society.
At Warren Wilson, Blozan majored in environmental science and became a member of the landscaping crew.
He created a tree crew became the tree crew team leader, refining his own skills and training other students in tree care.
After graduation, Blozan started working at a tree service in Asheville and then spent five years as a biological science
technician in the Smokies. His job was to survey and identify old-growth oak and hemlock in preparation for the gypsy
moth and woolly adelgid infestations. (Hemlocks, some approaching 500 years old, are disappearing at an alarming rate
because of the woolly adelgid, a non-native insect introduced from Asia.)
Blozan and other arborists started the Eastern Native Tree Society in 1996. The group is dedicated to understanding old-growth forests. Then, motivated by the lack of quality tree care and poor techniques being used to care for trees, in 1998 Blozan started his own tree company. Today he continues to climb hemlock trees for a living and his company has been contracted by the government to treat trees in the Great Smokey National Park.
Blozan has dedicated his life to researching and treating hemlock trees in the Southern Appalachians. He says, "There is a false idea out there that preserving hemlocks is unaffordable, mainly because private companies are charging too much, riding the wave of alarm. The chemical is inexpensive and the application is easy. There are many places out there that still have a lot of healthy hemlock growth. I don't see any need to choose to let them die. I have no expectation of saving every tree. But there are some super high quality sites which do not have the adelgid infestations at this point. We need to encourage people to save these forests while they still can and maintain them for the future." "The Vanishing Hemlock" is a production of Back 40 Films in association with Musk Entertainment.
For more information check out: http://www.nativetreesociety.org/ http://www.appalachianarborists.com/
As an arborist, Blozan studies and helps to preserve the region's hemlocks. Through the Eastern Native Tree Society, he started the Tsuga Search Project to find, measure and preserve the largest and tallest Eastern hemlocks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He hopes the research will help develop an ecological snapshot of what the hemlock forests looked like and what future generations could strive for, once the hemlocks are gone as a result of the woolly adelgid infestation. Blozan's company, Appalachian Arborists, focuses on preserving trees and educating people about the importance of preserving trees. The company mainly does residential work but has also done large-scale hemlock preservation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in state forests in South Carolina. Blozan has been featured in many local and national newspapers including. He said he is being interviewed now for an upcoming story in The New Yorker magazine.
Blozan said he decided he wanted to work with trees after working at a tree service for nine months before he started school at Warren Wilson. "I really wanted to climb trees and work with trees," he said.
At Warren Wilson, Blozan became a member of the landscaping crew and then convinced the school to make him the campus arborist. He became the tree crew team leader, refining his own skills and training other students in tree care. The tree crew he started in 1987 still exists at Warren Wilson. After graduation, Blozan started working at a tree service in Asheville and then spent five years as a biological science technician in the Smokies. His job was to survey and identify old-growth oak and hemlock in preparation for the gypsy moth and woolly adelgid infestations. Blozan and other arborists started the Eastern Native Tree Society in 1996. The group is dedicated to understanding old-growth forests. Blozan started his own tree company in 1998, motivated by the lack of quality tree care and poor techniques being used to care for trees. Favorite part of his job: Convincing someone to save their hemlocks. "Even though a tree is on someone else's land, it's still part of my community," he said.
Least favorite part of his job: "Dealing with some people you have to deal with. A big headache for me is workers' compensation insurance." Blozan said insurance rates are high "because of people who aren't trained and aren't careful. We have to pay for all those mistakes." Favorite outdoor activity: Tree climbing. Favorite outdoor spot in WNC: On top of any hemlock tree in the Smokies. "Looking out and seeing no sign of humans," Blozan said. More information: Eastern Native Tree Society