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Amanda Woodhams

Arborist & horticulturist

Maths careers

Amanda Woodhams’ love of the outdoors took her career to new heights

On any given workday you might find Amanda up a tree, balancing on the end of a branch pruning. Amanda is an arborist who helps people care for their trees. “I share the fundamentals of tree care and pruning techniques that lead to improved tree health, structure and beauty,” she says.

Amanda runs her business with her best friend Nick Bond. They met in class at Melbourne Polytechnic. “We used to climb every weekend to keep up with the aerial tree climbing tests we had to complete to graduate with our Certificate III in Arboriculture.”

From climbing tests, to walking around campus identifying trees, Amanda’s ‘learning by doing’ studies suited her. “I can’t stand sitting in a room and listening to a teacher speak at me for hours,” she says.

From stem to STEM

Maths and science are a big part of Amanda’s job as an arborist. “Last week I was collecting data on 150 trees at Foster Secondary College using a risk matrix to categorise how much risk each tree posed to students. That’s how we figure out which trees get prioritised for climbing and pruning,” she says.

“Tree care requires a deep understanding of science (ecology, biology and horticulture) and an artistic eye for bringing out the best in a tree,” says Amanda. “That’s what I love about it, the mix of science, physicality and creativity.”

Amanda says there is a major skills shortage in many of the green industries in Australia and if you’re wondering what it’s like working outdoors, Amanda has three words: “It’s the best.” – Sarah Kellett

Amanda’s pathway

  • Permaculture Design Certificate, CERES
  • Associate Degree in Urban Horticulture, University of Melbourne
  • Horticulturist, Cruden Farm
  • Certificate III, Arboriculture, Melbourne Polytechnic
  • Arborist & Horticulturist

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2022 in partnership with National Career Institute.

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