Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm being quoted internationally!

I'm not sure what I said, exactly, since this article was written in Portuguese and the translations via both Google and Yahoo are a bit wonky, but I think it was pretty good!  Check out the article if you get a chance, especially if you can read Portuguese.  If you don't speak the language, just do what I did and copy and paste into a translation device of your choice.  It won't be great, but you'll get the general idea.   

**11/5/08 update:  Wow, check out the comments on this post!  Heather J. was kind enough to forward this article to a coworker of hers who is studying Portuguese, and he, in turn, was kind enough to translate the whole article for me!  How cool is that??  Thanks so much to Heather and her anonymous coworker!


Heather J. said...

how cool!

Anonymous said...

Many people find that the joy of climbing trees is a privilege of youth. Not true. Beyond using just our own legs, as we do as children, it’s possible to get to the top another way. With skill and calmness, many people start to discover the joy of practicing what, in the international world, is known as Recreational Tree Climbing.

We’ve climbed trees since the beginning of time, but only in 1983 did American Peter Jenkins, also the founder of Tree Climbers International(TCI), decide to open in Atlanta Georgia the first school specialized in tree climbing on the planet.

He was behind good tools like harnesses, carabineers, gloves, clear glasses, helmets, and plastic tubing, which reduces the rubbing between the rope and branches, among other things. He also perfected old techniques and started to work, teaching courses or just bringing people to the trees for a couple of hours. In this case, the participants did not learn technique, but rather climbed with the supervision of an instructor. This was enough to popularize the activity.

Climbing is much better if done in the style “slow but surely”. At the beginning, you already get an idea of the fantastic view it’s possible to have. The birds fly around the trees, could there be a better place for bird watching? And you notice all the forms of life that make the tree their home sweet home. You feel the wind blowing against your face, the tree swaying, and you balanced against, slowly… the words of those who have already climbed.

It’s possible to practice the activity using two different techniques. The Double Rope Technique is usually used by those who prefer to climb trees of small to medium height (4-5 meters, 5-8 meters respectively). Taller trees should be climbed via the Single Rope Technique. And attention climbers: ropes for this activity are not the same as those used for rappelling.

For the good of the trees, the organizers say that the sport causes minimum impact. For example, the piece of rope that touches the branch chosen by those making the ascent is wrapped in a little plastic tube, created to lessen the rubbing, and so save the tree. Another thing that helps is carefully deflecting the branches when climbing.

In Brazil, trees like mango and mahogany can give good experiences to climbers. Before climbing, the tree must be carefully inspected. The trained climber or instructor has to be certain that the tree is safe. They search the base, the trunk, the branches, and the leaves for signs the tree might be sick, hollow, termite infested, etc. With binoculars in hand, they locate possible birds’ nests and wasp and bees’ nests to avoid surprises. If the climber respects all climbing rules, the trip will be peaceful. According to TCI , they have had no recorded accidents.

Pioneers of the Sport
Tim Kovar is the founder of Tree Climbing Northwest, director of international operations for TCI and was the first instructor to be trained by Jenkins. He says that in his 15 years of experience he has brought more than 5 thousand people, between 4 and 86 years old, to the trees. “Anyone who wants to practice tree climbing, regardless of their physical ability,” affirms Kovar.

In 1997, Hikosaka Toshiko, a 57 year old paraplegic woman made a request to the American John Gathright, who is considered a celebrity in Japan; among other things, he is a writer, TV host, and a tree climber of note. She wanted to be a climber as well, but not a small tree. She dreamed of arriving at the top of the highest tree in the world.

One year later, John got together with Peter Jenkins to study the best way to help her. In 2001, she climbed and spent a night in a sequoia 80 meters tall. As John says, “it was from these roots that Tree Climbing Japan was born” which today, besides teaching recreational climbing, also promotes the program Treehab for the Disabled It has been a success.

Since its founding, Tree Climbing Japan has already lead more than 150 thousand people to the trees. Thanks to the dream of Hikosaka and the efforts of John, the activity increased in the country at an accelerated pace. In the US, it’s increasingly popular. According to TCI, the number of climbers increased significantly in the last 10 years. France, England, Scandinavia, and Australia have also earned more followers.

Climbing Trees in Brazil

Climbers affirm that, for innumerable reasons, the Amazon is the best place to begin climbing in Brazil. “The practice of tree climbing can benefit local communities, tourism, research, and stimulate environmental education- and all of this can help the forest,” says Kovar. “The Brazilians have splendid trees and an environment as unique as the Amazon. Many people enjoy climbing there,” concludes Jenkins.

In agreement is Patty Jenkins, coordinator of TCI, even though there are no instructors trained for the Institution(TCI) in Brazil. People who aren’t certified can teach, but this can be dangerous for students and other participants. “They don’t understand the difference between safe climbing and the kind of climbing that can cause an accident,” adds Kovar, who will shortly head to the Amazon for a season of classes aimed at tourists and researchers.

Besides exercising your muscles, on a mental level this activity is able to promote relaxation which helps in solving problems. “You can learn about your personal limitations and see your self confidence increase as you confront changes and old fears,” says Kovar. The student Ginger Mallard also left the weeklong class with her reflections: “Many people, when they think about nature, focus on how to take advantage of it without realizing that in nature we can have delicious moments of happiness. It was a great learning experience. ”

These words complement those of Sophia Sparks, founder of New Tribe, considered by instructors one of the best producers of tree climbing guides. For her, “many people tend to see the tree as a mountain of green leaves. For these people, after climbing, they acquire a meaningful understanding of what the tree really is: a living being in a community of other living beings. This experience opens hearts and minds that, once made aware, invariably cause changes in attitudes.” Good for the climber, good for the tree, and in general terms, for you as well.


To practice tree climbing it is recommended that you find duly trained instructors. The prices for one week classes are, on average, 900 dollars.

Heather J. said...

FYI, a coworker of mine is learning Portuguese and he posted the translation above for you. :)

Dreamybee said...


That's awesome! Please tell your co-worker, "Thank you so much!!" Thank YOU for passing it on too!