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Jim and Jan Barton

Jim and Jan bought Maple Tree Farm in 2010; 105 acres with 85 acres forested. Since their purchase, they have discovered a true passion for trees and have been working hard to repair and upgrade buildings, trails and other features on their land.

Part of their focus has been on reviving a maple syrup operation that had been dormant for over a decade before they moved to the farm. They have since invested in a sugar shack and a 500-tap maple syrup operation.

With the help of forest professionals, they have been carrying out improvement harvests to remove the poorer trees (cutting firewood and sawlogs) — leaving the healthier trees with more room to grow. Over time, they hope to expand their maple syrup operation as they have also discovered the nutritional benefits of this golden food source and wonder of nature.

Joining the Ontario Woodlot Association seemed like the right thing to do to learn about the forest and their new “hobby,” so they became members and have hosted a local field day. They have become strong supporters of the OWA and appreciate the good forest management information that membership provides.

Member Profile

  • Neil Dunning
    Neil Dunning

    Neil grew up on the edge of Etobicoke in the 1950s and 1960s, and always had access to fields, forests and creeks. His involvement in the Scouting movement gave him some exposure to woodcraft, and he has enjoyed wetlands for as long as he can remember.

    In 2001, Neil and his wife, Kathy, bought 17 acres, which is part of the Oakland Swamp complex of provincially significant wetland in Brant County. A lifetime educator, Neil has always enjoyed observing and learning about nature, as well as increasing his woodcraft skills from hands-on experiences.

    Neil says, “Being part of the Ontario Woodlot Association has given me a whole new avenue of learning as I rub shoulders with amazing members, many of whom have decades and even centuries of family experience in the forest.”

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