Branching out into BG: Arborist links trees and people’s modern lifestyle

Bowling Green’s new city arborist has roots in the outdoors, and is looking forward to making a difference in the community.

Adrien Lowien-Kirian began in the post in early October.

“So far, I haven’t run into any troubles that I haven’t been able to manage and figure out,” she said in a recent interview. “I’ve got to meet lots of lovely residents that have had questions about trees and have gotten to help a lot of people out.”

Originally from the Marblehead and Danberry area, Lowien-Kirian said she was no stranger to the outdoors as a child.

“I was an outdoor kid,” she said, “coming in the house muddy, always climbing trees and playing outside and hiking, camping, all of that sort of stuff.”

Lowien-Kirian said she became interested in arborist work as a result of doing natural resources work with Metroparks Toledo. She said one of her mentors there was an arborist.

“I learned a lot from him, and it really stoked my love of trees and working with them.”

She also had an interest in working in local government, saying she wanted to do something that linked trees and people’s modern lifestyle “and that was a natural progression into city forestry.”

Now Bowling Green’s arborist, she said its a job where no two days are the same.

“It’s really varied,” said Lowien-Kirian, noting it can include administrative work and working with contractors that are doing tree projects across the city, and work with electrical line clearance contracts.

“I do a lot of talking to city residents and homeowners about trees that they have concerns about in the right-of-way. I manage our tree crew and direct their work throughout the city. I also work with our tree commission and through them we do Arbor Day celebrations, ”she said.

She also monitors the city’s trees and spends time driving around the city to look for issues.

An arborist matters to the city, she said, because trees are themselves important to the city in many different ways, whether its carbon sequestering, providing a place for wildlife, or simply providing shade.

“It matters because the urban areas are not natural environments,” Lowien-Kirian said. “And trees are natural wildlife. And to make it so the two can live in harmony and we can use the trees to the best of their abilities and can maintain their health within a very unnatural environment, it’s important to have somebody that” understands and can manage the connection between the two.

“I hope to continue the good work that the previous city arborists have done,” she said of what she wants to accomplish in her position. “We’ve had excellent arborists in the past.

“I hope to continue their legacy.”

Lowien-Kirian also noted that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s Arbor Day celebrations “really took a hit… so I hope to revitalize that.” She also wants to hold – along with the tree commission – some educational programming for residents.

Within time, reason, and resources, she wants to look at mitigating issues that are coming up with tree species that have been found to be invasive since they were planted decades ago.

She pointed specifically to certain pear species, such as the Callery Pear which were “something that were planted a lot. They’re a fast-growing tree” which looks attractive in summer and fall. However, the trees themselves have weak wood and short lives, and are now considered an invasive species.

“But, we didn’t know that when they were planted, so it’s nobody’s fault, but we know it now,” she said.

Lowien-Kirian said she also wants to increase the biodiversity of the city’s trees to do away with issues like those caused by the emerald ash borer.