Jeremy Redding has been chosen as the winner of the spring 2020 TLC Scholarship Contest.
Redding is a sophomore studying urban forestry at Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington. He will be awarded $2,500, which will be paid to his college on his behalf.
“This scholarship proves to me that hard work and determination will build character and give the ability to practice gratitude,” Redding says. “The scholarship will ease the expenses of climbing gear and equipment. It will push me through continuing education classes in order to obtain my ISA certification, all in all it creates a cushion so I can ease myself from an education mindset to getting ready for the landscaping industry.”
Redding decided to pursue his college degree later in life as he spent 8 years with UPS after graduating from high school.
“I figured I would be working in a warehouse for the rest of my life,” he says. “Between warehouse jobs, working in an indoor grow, working in retail or being a cook, I never found my passion or more importantly I didn’t find a career.”
Redding selected to attend Spokane Community College as he wanted to find something local. He first started school in 2015 pursuing a greenhouse management degree, before the urban forestry program was offered, but had to stop short due to the birth of his son.
Three years later, Redding decided to go back to school and focus on arboriculture as being outside and climbing trees was his happy place a kid.
“I knew then that’s where I needed to direct my path and so I made the leap to come back and finish my degree changing it from greenhouse management into urban forestry & landscape management.”
Redding says he has been anticipating the climbing class Spokane offers for over 3 years.
“They only offer the climbing course every other year and so I have had to wait patiently for this class,” he says. “My ‘happy place’ was climbing trees as a kid and to be able to learn how to climb safely 50+ ft. will allow me to reach my dreams.”
As for challenges Redding has faced, he says balancing time has been tough. Between being a single father, working a full-time job of 50+ hours at night for a produce company and carrying a full-time school load, Redding says sleep is often what is sacrificed.
“Being grumpy, tired or overwhelmed I had to just put one foot in front of the other and make sure I was present here at school and work,” he says. “With that grind mentality, I have made more positive strides this last year than I can remember. It was tough everyday but worth every second of it.”
Redding says he wants to become an ISA Certified Arborist and become a voice for the future of trees.
“I want to be in the lane of ‘plants first’ whether I am pruning or planting I want to do it right the first time; let’s give that tree or shrub a 20 plus year life, not just a few seasons,” he says.
He plans to use his education to eventually own and operate his own business, which would focus primarily on tree care, but he says he’d also offer landscape installation and lighting services as well. He hopes to help elevate the industry’s professionalism.
“The professionalism in the landscape industry is by far my favorite element I am a part of,” Being able to shape this industry from just a ‘lawn guy’ or a ‘tree guy’ from the eyes of a client is why I am in business. I don’t want to just do a job for someone, I want a connection with a client where we can grow and make something appealing.”