Despite very challenging weather conditions our annual Forestry Field Day, held on Saturday September 7th, went off without a hitch.

The remnants of Hurricane Dorian didn’t deter the nearly 150 attendees, including a large group of Unity College students, who found their way to the Newell Family Tree Farm in Unity ready to spend the day in the forest. Primarily, it was a time to celebrate the Newell family’s accomplishment of being named the 2019 Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer.

Organized by Maine Woodland Owners, in partnership with Maine Tree Farm and the Newell family, the day featured several tours designed to educate around forestry issues and to encourage good forestry practices. Among the options was one led by Don Newell himself as he showcased an area of his that he has been actively managing for 40 years.

Other workshops were lead by Aleta McKeague of the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District, who provided information about invasive plant management, and Rob Nelson, Newell’s consulting forester. Nelson talked about the federally-funded stewardship projects and low impact harvesting that have been conducted on the Newell Family Tree Farm.
Sally Stockwell of Maine Audubon and Amanda Mahaffey of the Forest Stewards Guild led a Forestry for Maine Birds tour. Based on the Maine Audubon program of the same name. groups were provided practical information about forestry management techniques that promote bird species diversity.

After lunch Maine Tree Farm Committee Chair, Andy Shultz, and Maine Woodland Owners President, Paul Sampson offered their appreciation to the nearly a hundred enthusiastic audience members.

US Senator Susan Collins personally congratulated the Newell Family for their accomplishment.

“In contrast to most of the United States where forests are publicly held, 95 percent of Maine woods are privately owned.” Senator Collins remarked. “Landowners like Don Newell and his family serve as the caretakers of the natural resources that are vital to our forest products industry and recreation economy.”

Senator Collins thanked Maine Tree Farm and Maine Woodland Owners for their efforts providing public access to private lands and preserving Maine’s forests for the coming generations.

Chris Rector, a representative from US Senator Angus King’s office, delivered congratulations from the senator to the Newells.

State Senator Erin Herbig of Belfast, a personal friend of the family familiar with the Newell Tree Farm, delivered with genuine pleasure her congratulations and a proclamation issued by the Maine State Senate.

Maine State Forest Director, Patty Cormier presented Don with a certificate for a Stihl chainsaw, a tradition for each year’s winner. Cormier also gave State Senator Russell Black, the 2018 Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer, his award for being named the Northeast Regional Finalist for the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year competition.

At the close of the presentations Don Newell was asked to make a few comments in response to the day’s events. Visibly emotional, he looked over to the members of his family in attendance and acknowledged their role in helping him fulfill his dream of stewarding a forest in Maine.

Newell also reflected on what it meant to be awarded this important award by Maine Tree Farm.

“No one did what we did for recognition. We did it because it was the right thing to do.”


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