Stan Wortner, pictured here with his wife Clara, is a long-time tree enthusiast and OWA member. Stan, now in his early nineties, had an early schooling in tree appreciation. The neighbouring farm where he grew up north of
Chatham, Ontario had a 50-acre woodlot that had never been pastured and had maples with four-to-five-foot diameters. Stan’s family also burned wood for heat and cooking until 1939, so trees and wood were a part of everyday life. On top of all this, Arbor Day was celebrated each May in the Chatham area and it provided Stan with the inspiration to learn to identify trees.
In 1959 Stan had the opportunity to purchase a 94-acre property near Bothwell, Ontario. The land had been used for pasture and had sandy soil with a variety of scattered trees. Before long the Wortners were experimenting with a wide variety of plantings, including a white pine/walnut plantation, scots pine, spruce, and mixed plantings. The woodland was soon thriving and now has large walnuts, even larger tulip trees, and a variety of hardwood trees that have been planted or returned on their own. The Wortners operate or have operated a number of businesses related to their forest including Christmas trees, a 700-tap maple syrup operation, lumber from their own sawmill, custom sawing and a campground. Although they use firewood to heat their home, they leave cavity trees, standing dead trees and downed woody debris for wildlife. The Wortners still have a few American Sweet Chestnut on the property and are members of the Canadian Chestnut Council.
Stan’s involvement with woodlot associations began with the Lambton Chapter in the 1990s which became the South West Chapter of the OWA. Stan reports that he enjoys the fellowship of people who like trees, birds, and conservation. Stan also enjoys receiving his copy of The Ontario Woodlander and especially enjoys the technical articles. The South West Chapter has honoured someone annually since 2007 with their Woodlot Management Award for management of their own forests or contributing to the management of other people's forests. The Wortners were presented with that award in 2010.