by JULIE GRAY
Bluestone Tree is a Bloomington-based tree care and removal company that can make a rare claim: “Nothing goes to waste.” While other companies may dump or burn the trees they cut down, Bluestone recycles every last bit of a tree—as mulch, compost, wood chips, slab, and lumber.
For Jerad Oren, one of Bluestone’s founders, this commitment to tree conservation was literally forged in flames. As a member of an elite, highly trained U.S. Forest Service hotshot crew, Oren fought forest fires on the front lines across the West and in Alaska. Originally from Shoals, Indiana, Oren has three siblings who are forest firefighters. They inspired him to take a leave from his job as a Bloomington police officer in 2008 to sign on with the crew. He also worked on sustainable logging, invasive plant removal, and tree planting projects.
Family ties brought him back to Bloomington in 2010, where he rejoined the police force while studying to become a certified tree arborist. He founded Bluestone the same year with his wife, Tiffany Oren, who also has been a forest firefighter, and Grayden Bloxham. Oren calls himself Bluestone’s chief vision officer, while he considers Tiffany the CFO and Bloxham the CEO.
Oren envisions a time when it will be harder for the United States to import wood, so that urban wood will become an important resource. “In the future,” he predicts, “Bluestone will consult with builders before construction to mitigate the number of trees that have to be taken down. We’ll mill, dry, and surface the wood from the trees that are removed and turn it into cabinets or flooring for the houses.”
He and another Bluestone employee, Matt Baldwin, are board members of CanopyBloomington, a nonprofit group that seeks to sustainably manage Bloomington’s urban trees by mobilizing citizens. Oren says he learned the value of such collaborations on the hotshot crew when 20 firefighters worked together to move 1,500-pound logs. “I’ve learned to do big things with a lot of people in a team environment,” he says.
Visit bluestonetree.com for more information.