What a year! As 2012 comes to a close, we have much to reflect on! It has been a busy year – both in terms of managing the farm and promoting the education of sustainable land management.
- Arik spent countless hours pruning, thinning, planting and combating invasives, not to mention manning the lawn mowers and lately, snow plows!
- We tried some new things on the farm this year – including a food plot, trail cams (photos coming soon!) and a hunting system to help all of us stay informed of who is hunting when and where.
- We opened our doors wide in efforts to educate others about the farm. We had over 100 students visit the farm, hosted the AFF Board, threw a party for the farm’s oldest resident, and started this little project!
- We took some time to educate ourselves, too. We hosted a chainsaw safety course in the fall, which Joe and Arik participated in. Arik and I became Land Ethic Leaders, and I also learned more about the Leopold Education Project. Arik participated in the Sinsinawa Tri-State Woodland Conference, while Joe and I both attended the Madison Woodland Conference.
It has been a busy, fun year – but there is not much time to reflect, as 2013 is just around the corner! And we have a lot planned…
- We are thrilled to be representing the state of Wisconsin in the 2013 National Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year award competition. This is a big honor and I speak for all of us when I say… we are in it to win it! J
- Those mystery boxes? They contained a chainsaw mill! This will be the farm’s first foray into creating finished wood products. Arik already has a couple orders for benches, so once the mill is set up and running, we’ll be sure to give an update!
- We recently met with two UW-Madison professors to discuss a partnership that would involve some of their students updating and expanding our Stewardship Plan. We’re very excited about this partnership and can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
- We’ve ordered over 500 walnut whips, to be planted this spring, in addition to the bevy of TSI, invasives and other management projects Arik will be undertaking.
- We’ll also be getting wet in 2013 – between the pond projects and new stream crossing. Speaking of ponds… we’ll be announcing a fun contest very soon! Stay tuned!
- This next year, we are excited to continue our involvement with the Driftless Forest Network/My Wisconsin Woods initiative and further engage with the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
- And finally, the farmhouse is getting a makeover! Rachel will have the big ‘reveal’ for us later in the spring.
Whew! That is quite the “To-Do” list, and I’m afraid it barely skims the surface. Yet, we are grateful and couldn’t be more excited about all of the possibilities that await.
Thank you for sharing in these experiences with us. We like sharing our adventures with you and would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or send me an email on what you would like to learn more or read about here.
Best wishes in the New Year!