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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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  • 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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