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Not Out on a Limb: Landscaping student just loves his field

Posted: March 29, 2013

Climbing trees isn't just for kids — just ask David Leinbach, a senior teaching assistant for a climbing class offered as part of Penn State's Arboriculture minor.

"There's nothing better than getting up and saying, 'I'm going to go climb trees for class.' And anybody can take it, that's the best part," he said. "You're probably up about 60 feet when we climb the tall trees. You walk out to the tip of the branch, hopping from limb to limb. It's a lot of fun."

Two summers ago, Leinbach interned with Bartlett Tree Experts in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. He started out as a groundsman, dragging brush and pruning, but soon got more involved.

"I got into climbing, using chainsaws and regular handsaws in the trees. I had a blast, and now I have my own climbing gear."

While working with Bartlett, Leinbach, of Mertztown, Pa., had the opportunity to landscape some of the most prominent sports arenas in Philadelphia, including the Wells-Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field.

"We had a contract with the sports district, so we were able to do the trees outside all these places," he said.

Leinbach always has loved the outdoors, applying his passion on a regular basis as a Landscape Contracting major. Last year he was able to work on a construction detail in downtown State College for a Landscape Construction class.

"We went from the initial design to all the details," he said. "We made a ramp, a gazebo and a paved patio, and then as part of the class, we actually installed everything that we designed."

In addition to his hands-on experience at school, Leinbach also has interned with Houp Landscaping, based in Oley, Pa., as a residential hardscaper. Over the course of last summer, he worked on nine projects with the company, ranging from retaining walls to carpentry to fire pits and outdoor grills.

"It was a lot of fun. I think that's my passion — the landscaping industry," he said. "That's what drew me to Penn State."

Learn more about the Landscape Contracting major.