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Riley, ACC Recognized for New Arboriculture Educational Opportunities

Dr. Elizabeth Riley

Dr. Elizabeth Riley

(August 30, 2022) – The NC Urban Forest Council has named an Alamance Community College educator as one of seven individuals across the state to be recognized for their efforts to manage, grow and protect North Carolina’s urban forests.

Dr. Elizabeth Riley, Department Head of Horticulture Technology and Agricultural Biotechnology at ACC, will receive the 2022 Outstanding Professional award “in recognition of her implementation of the Arboriculture Certificate and Apprenticeship Program to aid career development efforts in the field of urban forestry.”

The Urban Forestry Awards will be presented at the Great NC Tree annual conference in September.

“Liz has worked extremely hard to support the arboriculture industry in North Carolina,” said Justin Snyder, Dean of Applied Engineering, Agriculture, and Skilled Trades at ACC. “She has served as a member of the NC Urban Forest Council Board of Directors and, in that role, understood the industry’s needs and how ACC could support those needs.”

Riley’s participation with that organization resulted in Alamance Community College’s development and inauguration of a first in North Carolina – an Arboriculture certificate through its continuing education department, an apprenticeship program in the curriculum area, plus  industry professional development opportunities on campus.

Through the efforts of Riley and others, Alamance Community College now offers training in areas such as tree care management, tree climbing, safety, equipment operations, and many more. ACC has also recently initiated an apprenticeship where participants can work with an industry partner company while also attending the college to begin working on their Associate in Applied Science degree.

“The key phrase to keep in mind for apprenticeship is that the participant is earning while they are learning,” said Riley.

The arboriculture industry is continually growing and the need for trained arborists and urban foresters has been increasing greatly over the past several years, explained Riley. Many career pathways and opportunities exist, but it is crucial to make sure students are trained adequately and that they understand the safety components.

“I am appreciative of the support provided by Alamance Community College and our industry partners so that these programs could be created and delivered to our industry,” said Riley. “There were many people who worked very hard to get these all in place. I work in an amazing industry and am excited to help create opportunities like these for people to take advantage of and move their career and passions forward.”

For more information about ACC’s Arboriculture educational opportunities, call Dr. Riley in the Horticulture Department at 336-506-4192.