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Alan Wells, Vice-President, York/Durham Chapter

I planted my first tree as a Junior Forest Ranger in the summer of 1957, at Windy Lake Provincial Park. Sixty years later I am still planting trees. I have planted as a volunteer for the Watershed Committee in Uxbridge and as Chair, Rouge Park Alliance, and for other volunteer groups. With my wife, Anne, and our family we have planted at least 12,000 trees over 40 years on our 27-acre property in Uxbridge. Our home property had a five-acre mixed hardwood bush when we moved in back in 1975, and we have gradually turned 20 additional acres of hayfields into a forest that has a conservation easement and MFTIP.

We have a hobby maple sugar operation of 100 taps and harvest our own Christmas trees. Our forest plan includes a meadow for our feathered friends, including bluebirds and bobolinks.

I have learned a great deal since joining the OWA, through workshops and literature, but mainly from talking and working with fellow members.

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  • The Madzo Family
    The Madzo Family

    The Madzo family lives in Bismark in the centre of the Niagara Peninsula where 88 year-old Louie Sr. works the farm with his son, Louie Jr. Their land includes 10 acres of mixed hardwoods which they actively manage and, when he retired in 1993, Louie Sr. began adding white pine for extra diversity.

    He cleared shrubbery in the woods by hand, using pick axe and shovel, and then planted seedlings obtained from the 1st Provincial Nursery in St. Williams. With approximately 500 planted each year, the family is very proud of the 3,000 pine which now stand 40 feet tall in their woods. Louie Sr. says “They have added a wonderful diversity to the woodlot, in both summer and winter.”

    In 2005, with the help of Trees Unlimited and the Niagara Woodlands Restoration Fund, 5,490 bare root seedlings were machine planted on 6.1 acres adjacent to the hardwoods, adding additional diversity and almost doubling the total acreage of the family’s forest.

    In 2013, the Madzo’s were awarded the Niagara Woodlot Association’s “Woodlot Owner of the Year” award.

    One of Louie Sr.’s favourite sayings is: “Plant a tree today and retire in the shade!”

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