Craig Fandel has worked outdoors for more than 20 years. As an arborist in Dane County, he has expertise in a wide range of areas: maintaining tree health, on-call emergency service after weather events, resolving homeowner attachment to hazardous trees and treating invasive species like the Emerald Ash Borer, to name a few. As a father of two school-age children, his family life is an important part of how he envisions a sustainable future.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that our community faces?
You know, there's a lot of things.... but just looking into the future, thinking about my kids, I think we need more support for schools. That's a concern of mine — the resources put towards schools, making sure that our kids and teachers are well supported. And I’m not sure how this ties in, but climate change is a big challenge that I think we need to work on as a community. My profession, in particular....a lot of people value trees and want to plant a lot of trees, but we also have to maintain that tree canopy. There’s a lot involved with that. People talk about green jobs and I really wish there was more emphasis on what’s needed for playing our part in these green jobs. I think helping people see that what we’re doing here is to try and fight climate change. I think we need to see how we should be adapting to put resources toward it.
What do you wish people in our community understood better?
There's a lot of support in the Madison community for arborists and I’m very happy about that. But I feel that there’s more we need to do to counteract climate change. We need more trees, and we need more arborists. We need more to support that canopy, and I wish that was a little better understood. There’s an understanding from a lot of people that we just need to plant more trees and, you know, that’s one of the things we can do, and it’s very beneficial, but there’s another part to that — all the maintenance. We need to boost everything around supporting that if we do really want to make those big changes, and I wish there was a greater understanding of that.
What is one change you would make if you could that would make life better for people in our community?
For myself, I feel like I should be volunteering more. I feel that if myself and other people in our community would take a little more time to do that, we would have a better understanding of each other. Our community would really benefit. There's plenty of it happening already, but if all of us made a little extra effort to do that, I think that that would give us a greater understanding, in a lot of ways, about each other and an understanding of the challenges that we all feel and might not talk about. You know, even with mental health...all different things can come into play. It's bringing people together in a different way....especially in these times because we all need it.
What in our community gives you hope?
I think that the teachers that I've met, that our kids have had, have been amazing through some very tough times. And I've been on the neighborhood board and some of the people that are volunteering, just showing their interest in the community and doing what they can....seeing people that are very, very involved for unselfish reasons....that definitely gives me a lot of hope that there can be change.