In 2015, I added a group of pages on legendary men and explorers of the coast redwood forest. Steve Sillett is one of the few. Yes, we can say coast redwoods are more legendary. But the research of Sillett and the explorations of Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins fueled an awareness that made redwoods even more legendary.
Dr. Stephen Sillett would be the first to credit his research team too, like Marie Antoinne his wife and several others. But Steve is more or less the point man. Sillett is probably best known for pioneering climbing of old growth redwoods for scientific research. He's ot the first to climb and enter old growth canopy, but the first to really take arborist and clmbing techniques up to that level so researches could go up there and study on a regular basis.
He is one of the main characters of Richard Preson's best selling adventure book The Wild Trees. I recommend the book. Take a few minutes to read the review at that link.
Basically there is little I can write here that Richard Preston or National Geographic has not already covered. Nat Geo already published two magazine articles on redwoods with the help of Sillett's team. Search the name Steve Sillett or Steven Sillett + redwoods, plus research, National Geograpic, trees or Eucalyptus.
Then what I can add?
Steve Sillett is an "Arborist"
The professional circle I rubbed shoulders with for education and skills were arborists in including Certified Arborists. Much of the knowledge and education overlaps other facets of horticulture.
When I first heard about Steve and met him, I wasn't sure if whether his head was just a huge vault of knowlege devoid intuition. I have met plenty of people with degrees who did persue the necessary skills. I don't assume people are adept because they have higher education
Fast forward ...
So here's what I learned about Steve. The International Society of Arboriculture could rightly give him an honorary Certified Arborist title and waive renewal or continuing education units for life. Steve has a keen understanding and intuition about trees and redwoods as good as plenty of the best arborists I've met. He understands tree care beyond what would be expected for scientific research purposes. So I call Steve an Arborist.
He's already at PhD, level, so its not a title that he needs. But I think its a compliment to think of him as both scientist and arborist.
Image: Dr. Steven Sillet (right side) in in Redwood National Park, helping Chris Atkins set a tripod to measure one of the LidAR redwoods using a laser