After a pause on in-person courses in 2020, we are pleased to announce that our first Women’s Chainsaw Course will be offered June 25-26 in Olympia, Washington. Registration is now open!
NATS Lead Instructor Emily Roberts will teach the course, which will be open to 12 students to adhere to Washington State’s COVID-19 protocols. We recently spoke with Emily to get an idea of what the course will include, and what it means for the industry.
This course will follow the NATS Chainsaw Safety and Cutting Techniques curriculum and will be offered to all skill levels. Emily says class participants could be someone who’s never started a chainsaw in their life but wants to learn how to cut firewood, or needs to use a chainsaw as a firefighter or landscaper, all the way to someone who’s used a chainsaw professionally for 10, 15, or even 20 and wants to hone their skills.
“We’re going to cover a ton of topics, and we’re going to squeeze lots into two days,” says Emily. In addition to learning about chainsaw maintenance, PPE, starting and handling techniques, reactive forces and safety features, Emily says “we’re going to dive in. A big goal is to get tons of hands-on saw time.”
She adds that a key focus of the course will be ergonomics. “Our bodies are built a little bit differently and we just operate slightly differently. We do everything physically just a little bit differently.”
Regarding additional hands-on experiences, Emily says that the course may involve felling and basic cutting techniques, and that “we’ll go as far as the class wants to go, and we can cater to all experience levels, we can tailor each class to what works best.”
“Even if you’ve learned chainsaw maintenance before, chances are you can still learn a whole lot more,” says Emily. “If you know about PPE, maybe there’s some details around safety standards that you weren’t aware of. Maybe there’s a better starting technique than you’re currently using. Everybody will get the same curriculum that is built to inform and also to hone the skills you already have.
“Even if you’ve run chainsaws for awhile, I still think you can pick up a whole lot even in the basic stuff,” she adds.
When asked what she’s most looking forward to in teaching this course, Emily replied, “So many things! This has been a dream of mine for many years, to teach a women’s chainsaw course. And I honestly didn’t think it would happen for another 10 years. We’ve had a lot more women coming into the industry in the last five or so years, so it has come to the forefront of my interests to have a women-specific chainsaw course.”
She continues, “We’re not trying to create anything that’s separate, but open a platform that is a slightly more level playing field from which to launch into an amazing career or expand upon the one you already have.”
“It’s not that we want to be separate or different [from men] at all,” Emily explains. “We want to be the same. We want to be measured on the same measuring stick.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity, because we move differently, we learn a little bit differently, and just getting those like-bodies and like-minds together, beautiful things happen.”
When asked what she’s most looking forward to in regards to teaching NATS’ first Women’s Chainsaw Course, she replies, “The thing I am most excited about is connection. The connections we make interpersonally, as an industry, and how I can support women making better connections with the right gear, the right tools and better techniques on how to use them.
“When we learn in an environment that is conducive to our growth and success, we can unlock endless possibilities,” she adds. “It’s a great platform to provide another avenue towards success.”