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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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  • Tony and Ann Bull
    Tony and Ann Bull

    Our property had about 30 ha of established bush and some open fields, as well as a house and barns. The year after we bought the place we had 6 ha planted in red pine thanks to the Woodlands Improvement Agreement. The bush is quite varied; stands of white pine and poplar and many mixed stands. A small area of red pine was planted in the mid 1970’s. There had been no extensive harvest in 50 years.

    Over the years we cut enough wood to heat the house and sell a small amount that we did not need. We cut trees of inferior quality and those that competed too successfully with red pine which need full light.

    Membership in OWA led to learning more about woodlot management. In addition, we achieved Forest Stewardship Certification for the woodlot via the Eastern Ontario Model Forest that holds the FSC certificate.

    In preparing a management plan we became convinced that the established forest was in need of an improvement thinning. The thinning operation started in the winter of 2005; the last load taken out in October 2006. A local horse logger conducted the operation under contract with Laverne Heideman and Sons. They did not have the best quote price-wise, but they had a good reputation for a quality operation. Our interest was in the state of the bush after logging, number one; and a fair price. We felt that we achieved both. And in 2011 we had a first thinning of the red pine plantations that we had planted in 1986.

    In addition to working in the bush we hike and ski on our trails, and enjoy the solitude and privacy that comes with a substantial area of land. Caring for the bush and its inhabitants and outdoor experiences in all seasons and weather, both severe and benign, has greatly enriched our lives.

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