A new Tree Climbing Club has been introduced at West Virginia University, offering students an opportunity to use tree climbing to exercise, connect with others and appreciate the wonders of forestry. Meetings will likely involve assessing healthy, unique campus trees to climb and practicing arboriculture like damage assessment, pruning or removing harmful/unattractive tree parts.

“The goal is to take somebody who’s a beginner and just rip them up into the tree,” Riley Pierce, a student majoring in forest resource management with an emphasis in arboriculture and urban development, as the current president and founder of the club, told TheDAOnline.com. “Or we can take somebody who knows a little bit and is more comfortable up in the tree and teach them.”

A local tree company provided the club with grant money to purchase gear sets. Pierce and faculty advisor Greg Dahle are working to recruit members, with the potential for competitive tree climbing as a future possibility.

“Me and the guys who are in the area of emphasis in arboriculture just want to share our arboriculture knowledge and the recreational fun of climbing a tree because it really does change your outlook,” Pierce said. “A lot of people just walk by trees, and they don’t really notice the fine details of them.”

Read more about the Tree Climbing Club here.