If you follow Bradley Seay’s Facebook page, you might wonder if he’s in a Disney nature documentary. Little birds sit on his shoulder. He gets up close and personal with frogs and turtles. And he’s Bradley-on-the-spot when it comes to naming plants and wildflowers.
Bradley lives in Maryland, and is an arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts. He says his time in the forest has solidified his passions for the outdoors and turned him into a true nature buff.
He left Emory & Henry with plans of being a nature photographer. He had dreams of being one of those guys who set up in a remote and wild region of the world, hiding under a shrub, looking patiently through the viewfinder for hours until he caught a breathtaking shot that would be seen around the world. What really happened was that he ended up at Kmart doing family portraits. “It just wasn’t what I had in mind.”
As he began to put aside dreams of becoming a nature photographer, he had the opportunity to join the crew of Schiller Trees in Charlottesville. He soon felt like this was a different, but important, way that he could be connected to nature. He soon joined Bartlett, and now, all these years later, he seems so suited for the role that it’s hard to imagine him as anything else.
His duties are varied, and include everything from evaluating the health of trees to offering consultation on best use of forested property to trimming older trees correctly to finding the right spot for new trees.
He emphasizes that it is really important to evaluate whether you’re putting in a tree that is suited for the region and the climate where it is being planted. “A tree is an investment of time and energy as well as money – so we want to make sure a property owner will spend the next 10 years watching a tree flourish, not watching it slowly die. Some of the most emotional discussions I have to have are when I have to tell someone that a beloved tree is not going to make it.”
So, while Bradley isn’t making a living taking photos of his beloved natural surroundings, he is making sure everything is picture perfect for those who love trees.