Monday, April 29, 2013

Here come the judges!

April 27. The day we had been waiting for was finally here! The barn was swept and the deer exclosure repaired. The donuts were fresh and coffee hot. Arik even had on his custom jeans!

Saturday was a big day for us on the Farm - as finalists for the Regional Tree Farm of the Year, two inspecting judges paid us a visit. They wanted to see how Joe and the Farm incorporated the core tree farm values of water, wildlife, wood and recreation.

Talking with the judges and foresters under our "logo tree," a massive white oak. 

We invited some friends of the Farm to help tell the story and relay the influence Joe and the Farm have had on promoting sustainable land management. We talked about the Big Oak Wake, the numerous field days, Arbor Days, and Earth Day celebrations hosted, and all the groups who visit the Farm to hold meetings and taste the best Wisconsin has to offer. Joe and his family shared how they have mindfully created a plan that will ensure this land stays well managed for many years to come.

We hopped on the buggies and spent a few hours showing them all the management that has taken place since the Farm's inception in 1999: all of the trees that have been planted, invasive species combated, water quality work, trail building and maintenance, and wildlife habitat enhancement.

Judge Andy, Joe and Forester Chuck discuss the Carbon Neutral Planting.
We'll find out in the next week or two if the Farm is the Regional winner; if so, we will go on to the National competition. Award or no award, it was a great day and gave us all an opportunity to step back and re-experience all that has been accomplished here over the years. I'll end this before I get too sappy, but do want to say thank you to Joe and family - this is a great place to come to work every day!

The ford across Mud Creek - a highlight of every tour!


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