Plus, wishing you a tree-mendous Arbor Day.
The Incline

📣 We dare you to 'Listen Courageously'

Plus, wishing you a tree-mendous Arbor Day. 

Welcome to Friday and Arbor Day!

Today we’re starting off with a big question: Have we as a society forgotten how to listen? And what can we do about that?

We’re working on solving that by partnering with Listen Courageously — and you can be a part of it. Listen Courageously combines an award-winning film with transformative virtual workshops on the power of empathic listening. We’re teaming up with our sister publications to host one of those workshops on May 13 — here’s how to get your ticket.

We’ll gather (virtually!) with readers from our sister publications across the nation in OrlandoSeattleMiami, and Portland. The goal? To become more aware of our listening blocks, so that we can better engage in heart-centered conversations that lead to mutual respect and understanding.

Here's more about the event and the woman behind the film. (P.S. Incline Insiders get 20% off — scroll down to the "just for members" section for a discount code.) 

Our members are also finishing this week’s I Spy challenge — Yinzer bragging rights are on the line. Wanna join the fun? Become a member today.

Let’s go to press. 

What Pittsburgh is talking about

Branching out. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @iamkathleenwalker)

Today is Arbor Day, so we're taking the occasion to answer a question we've been wondering for a long time: What's it like to be an arborist?

To answer that question, we welcome Ben Adams to today's newsletter. He's an arborist in Pittsburgh who spends his days climbing, examining, and protecting our local trees. The Marshall-Shadeland resident gave us a peek behind the scenes of the job, plus some cool tree facts you can show off this Arbor Day.

What’s daily life like as an arborist in Pittsburgh?

Every day is different, which I love. Our company, Elevated Tree Care, offers a variety of services from tree pruning to root collar excavations (a process that removes excess soil and mulch from the base of tree trunks — and may help save your trees). For the last several years, I was mainly working in plant health care, where I diagnosed and treated trees and shrubs.

My favorite thing to do at work is climb. I’m still a novice climber, so I leave the big scary stuff for Alex Kasprzak (the owner of Elevated Tree Care), but climbing is so physically and mentally stimulating that it’s hard not to feel satisfaction after climbing and pruning a tree.

Our work is also partially dictated by season. Because of some common tree diseases, we only prune elm and oak trees in the winter when the trees and pests are dormant.

Can you share some Western PA tree knowledge with us?

Our state tree is the Eastern Hemlock. Unfortunately, the Eastern Hemlock has a prolific pest called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid which is invasive and from Asia. It’s easily identified by the bright white fluffy egg sacs on the needles.

Of course we know that trees help to combat air pollution, but can you explain more about how our urban forests contribute to the health of our city?

There are lots of different studies out there that document the many ways in which trees benefit our cities both environmentally and economically. Trees increase curb appeal and therefore property values. Trees create shade, which can drastically cut down on heating and cooling costs. Trees mitigate stormwater runoff, which reduces soil erosion and flooding.

Those are just a few examples and I would encourage everyone to check out a really great tool that estimates the benefits of any given tree at the Arbor Day Foundation’s website.

Meet Ben Adams. (📸: @elevatedtreecarepgh)

How do you think Pittsburghers should recognize Arbor Day?

I think taking the time to enjoy the trees on their streets and in their neighborhoods is a great way to recognize the day. In non-COVID-19 times, there are most definitely going to be events throughout the city doing tree plantings, tree giveaways, and tree education open to the public.

Do you have a favorite tree?

I do! My favorite tree is the Bald Cypress. It’s a deciduous conifer which means it looks like an evergreen but actually loses its needles every winter like broadleaf species do. It looks very similar to a Dawn Redwood but can grow very distinctive “knees” or roots that stick out of the ground around the base of the tree (an adaptation allowing them to live in very wet and swampy areas).

What do you love about working among the trunks and canopies?

I think the most enjoyable part of working with trees is that each one is different. Our work is very technical and dangerous and because each and every tree we work with is physically different and in a unique location, our work is almost like a puzzle.

➡️ Here's the full story from Ben, with more on Pittsburgh's urban tree cover and why being an arborist is such a cool job.

🍨 Free ice cream for you

Breakfast in bed, courtesy of Gopuff.

Shout-out to Incline reader Melanie F. for winning $100 in Gopuff credit to spend on food, snacks, and everyday essentials.

Didn’t win? Schedule your first order with Gopuff on their app or online and add a complimentary pint of ice cream to your cart. Enjoy!

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🛍️ Shop local at Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace featuring over 60 innovative Pittsburgh-based makers (Online)


🗓 Support local makers at the first Lawrenceville Pop-Up Market of the season at Radiant Hall and Ice House Studios (Lawrenceville)

🛍️ Shop local at Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace featuring over 60 innovative Pittsburgh-based makers (Online)


🍏 Discover veganism within Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Island Communities with the Pittsburgh Vegan Society (Online)

🛍️ Shop local at Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace featuring over 60 innovative Pittsburgh-based makers (Online)


♻️ Learn how "recycle right" at a webinar with Pennsylvania Resources Council that includes resources for blue bin recycling, as well as electronics, chemicals, tires, yard debris and other materials (Online)

One more thing …

Any woolly mammoths hungry for dinner? (📸: Joe Stavish, Tree Pittsburgh)

Actually two more things ... Here are two more Arbor Day tips to celebrate this tree-mendous holiday.

🌳 Find the answer to "what's up with the monkey balls?" in our archives. The story of Pittsburgh’s weirdest tree is a tale of woolly mammoth poop, agricultural innovation, and evolutionary anomaly. And it's one of our most-read ever.

📸 Follow along with our friends at Tree Pittsburgh for tree facts, riddles, and events.

Enjoy the weekend, and we'll see you back here on Tuesday.

— Francesca at The Incline

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