In this series of articles, we will be sharing exclusive coverage from all aspects of the ARB Show 2023. 

FOR some, the journey to Westonbirt may have felt like quite the ordeal. For members of the Disaster Arborist Response Team (DART), the miles paled into comparison to the norm.

The all-volunteer humanitarian group travels across the globe to assist disaster-affected locations, delivering aid to communities in far-flung countries such as Malawi and Vanuatu, a tiny island around 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia.

Formed in 2014, it is made up almost entirely of working arborists from across the UK, who give up their time to help others. 

READ MORE: ARB Show 2023: Event hailed as 'surpassing all expectations'

“We use our skills within the arb industry to benefit people who have been hit by natural disasters,” Andy Bakere said. “Generally, our members are arborists but we do need people with different skill sets to make it work.

“We are the length and breadth of the country, right down from Cornwall all the way up to the top of Scotland. Anyone is welcome.”

The group’s most recent venture took members to Malawi after Storm Freddy hit at the turn of the year, bringing winds of up to 165 mph with it.

“It was one of the largest tropical storms on record,” Andy added. “When it hit the east-coast of Africa it caused a huge amount of flooding and there was a lot of damage done by falling trees.

“Those trees are potentially a usable resource, but they also cause a lot of impact to major road networks.

“The quicker we can get in and clear them, the quicker aid can be distributed around that country.”

As well as helping out in the short term, DART trains local organisations in treecare before leaving vital kit behind.

Andy added: “While we are doing this work, we are imparting skills that build resilience and leave a legacy in the country.

“We are trying to take ourselves out of the equation, so that country can deal with it without us the next time.”

Keep an eye across our channels for the full version of this interview and more in-depth coverage from arb's biggest event.