Skip to content
The Open University of Hong Kong
  • Prospective Students
  • Current Students
  • Alumni
  • Tutors
  • Staff
  • Media
  • Login to MyOUHK
    Alumni Linkage — OU People

     

    Alumni who love plants and care about ecology may already be familiar with the website Hong Kong Tree Society. Meet its founder Leon Lau, a seasoned arborist and a graduate of OUHK’s Environmental Studies programme.

    Deeply intrigued by trees, Leon started his journey in arboriculture about two decades ago when ecological conservation was beginning to gain wide popularity. Seeing that the trees in Hong Kong are not really known by the public, he then delved into the literature and went on field trips one after another. The websites Hong Kong Tree Society and Green Plaza were subsequently set up to share his knowledge about plants. After graduating from the OUHK’s Environmental Studies programme in 2003, Leon made a career change: from a computing professional to a self-employed tree consultant, and later became a certified arborist in 2008. Conservation and arboriculture are now the lifelong devotion of this tree expert.
     

     

    He said,‘The work of an arborist is mainly about inspecting and assessing trees. When signs of rotting, insect infestation or slanting are noted, the arborist must rectify the situation by trimming, supporting and staking the tree and using pest control. We need to assess the life expectancy of a tree to decide whether it should be cut down or saved. We also write assessment reports for our clients and supervise projects as an authorized person.’ He is very grateful to the study at the OUHK where he learned how to understand arboriculture from a macro approach and broadened his environmental perspective beyond Hong Kong. This helped him enormously in his journey to become an arborist.

     

    Saving a tree across mountainous terrains

     

    Recalling one of his unforgettable experiences, Leon shared the numerous difficulties of looking for his ‘patients’ in the mountains. An arborist often only receives a picture and a map with just the contour lines, and looking for a particular tree is no easy task as there is always no accessible footpaths. Encounters with red fire ants, bees, stray dogs and thorns are all too common. ‘A single tree once costed me three expeditions.’

     

    Leon is a true tree lover, but he stressed that human lives are much more important. An arborist, therefore, should apply professional judgement in determining whether a tree should be cut down or not to ensure safety. ‘Proper conservation can add decades to a tree’s life. But if a tree is already severely ill, cutting it down to improve the environment may be a better option. We do not have to feel overly sorry when that happens,’ he explained.

     

     

    He also promotes conservation by organizing seminars and eco-tours. ‘I hope to help the public learn more about trees and develop a stronger connection with them. I do encourage everyone to try to identify the species, names and appearances of different trees, take pictures with them or even give them a good hug,’ said Leon.

     

    Newcomers are most welcome

     

    Since the end of last year, the Hong Kong SAR Government has established the qualification standards for arborists and provided more training opportunities for new recruits. Leon suggested that people who are interested in this profession could start with taking relevant courses, then fulfil the requirements of professional qualifications, risk assessment training and relevant work experience step by step. Leon enthusiastically encouraged new joiners to the industry: ‘The local arboriculture industry has entered a mature stage. If a student who has a sense of commitment and really loves nature and outdoor work, the career can let him apply what he has learnt, make the world a better place, and he himself will also be happy.’

     

    Maintained by: Public Affairs Unit ( pau@ouhk.edu.hk )
    Modified Date: Jul 07, 2020

    Accessibility | Privacy policies | Policy on Equal Opportunities | Terms and policies | Webmaster
    © 2021 by The Open University of Hong Kong. All Rights Reserved.
    Site Map Site map
    About OUHK
    President's Message
    Vision & Mission
    History
    Strategic Plan
    Governance & Organization
    Principal Officers
    Honorary Graduates & University Fellows
    Facts & Figures
    Publications
    Academics
    School of Arts and Social Sciences
    Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration
    School of Education and Languages
    School of Nursing and Health Studies
    School of Science and Technology
    Li Ka Shing School of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE)
    Administration
    Office for Advancement of Learning and Teaching
    Finance and Facilities Management Unit
    Human Resources Unit
    Information Technology Unit
    Library
    Mainland and International Affairs Office
    OUHK Shenzhen Office
    Public Affairs Unit
    Quality Assurance Office
    Registry
    Research Office
    Student Affairs Office
    Admissions
    Research Postgraduate Programmes
    Postgraduate Programmes
    Postgraduate Programmes (Part-time)
    Undergraduate Programmes
    Undergraduate Programmes (Part-time)
    Sub-degree Programmes
    Sub-degree Programmes (Part-time)
    Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programmes
    Programmes from LiPACE
    Annual Review 2017-2018
    Choose your study programme
    Events Calendar
    Giving to OUHK
    Information for
    Prospective Students
    Current Students
    Alumni
    Tutors
    Staff
    Media
    Jockey Club Home Health Watch Programme
    Library
    Media coverage
    Motto: Disce, Progredere, Crea
    Open Learning Resources
    iTunes U
    Knowledge for All
    OpenLink
    OUHK Great Speakers Series
    Policies
    Accessibility
    Privacy policies
    Terms and policies
    Research
    Research Office (RO)
    IRITS  IROPINE  IIBG   PSPRC  RIBILT  RIDCH
    RGC Funded Projects
    Institutional Repository
    Other Funded Research Projects
    Staff Publications
    Research Degree Programmes
    External Research Funding
    Internal Research Funding
    External Funding for Development Project
    Site Search
    Social Media
    Facebook
    YouTube Channel
    Instagram
    Student Life & Support
    Students' Achievements
    Switch on to e-materials
    Useful Information
    Adverse weather arrangements
    Campus location
    Job Openings
    Contact us
    Telephone: (852-2711-2100)
    Facsimile: (852-2715-0760)
    Email: info@ouhk.edu.hk
    View the videos of Full-time Face-to-face Undergraduate Programme selected seminars
    Web for All
    Webmaster
    Back To Top
    Login screen for MyOUHK