Tree Climbing

Tree Climbing and Arborist Activities

Pioneer of Tree Climbing® Activities in Japan

An avid ecologist/naturalist and tree climber, John's love for nature and helping others inspired him to establish the first school for tree climbing in Japan

Tree Climbing® Japan (TCJ),is devoted to bringing people of all ages and physical abilities into the forests to climb trees and enjoy nature. Tree Climbing Japan is active in improving forests and empowering people worldwide, and has helped over 250,000 people climb trees and has trained thousands of instructors.
Tree Climbing
Through this work with Tree Climbing Japan, John later established Treehab® (Tree Climbing Therapy® and Tree-Assisted Therapy® programs) that enables people of all abilities to climb the world's largest trees. 

In the summer of 2001, Hikosaka Toshiko became the first severely physically-challenged person to climb atop an 80-meter giant Sequoia tree. (Smithsonian, March 2002) 

Tree-Assisted Therapy continues to help physically-challenged individuals climb trees and also strives to create international exchanges through tree climbing.

As a keynote speaker for the Japanese Ministry of Parks and Education, John strongly encourages sustainable forestry and eco-lumber, and discourages the import of old-growth logs and lumber into Japan.

Notable Contributions

Featured Projects

  • Giant Sequoia Project
  • Dragon Tree
  • Growing Village

Member of ISA Board of Directors and founder of Japan Arborist Association

John currently serves on the board of directors of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), with the current term ending in August of 2017.
It is humbling and invigorating being one of the Board of Directors for ISA. It is truly an international organisation with over 20,000 members and chapters throughout the world.
- Dr. John Gathright
The ISA Board of Directors is an elected board of 15 Directors responsible for strategic direction for the organization and make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization including fiscal oversight and policy development.

In addition to serving on the board of the international organization, John has been instrumental in the founding of its Japanese equivalent, the Japan Arborists Association, as well as the Aborist Training Institute of Japan - a training and licensing body for arborists in Japan.
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