Two gain tree farm top honors


AUGUSTA – Josiah and Kathleen Pierce of Baldwin will receive the 2007 Outstanding Tree Farmer award from Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the Augusta Civic Center. The award ceremony will take place during the Agricultural Trade Show.

The Pierce tree farm covers 1,960 acres and has been in the family since 1785. First certified as a tree farm in 1960, the land is managed for commercial timber harvesting, farming, recreation and wildlife habitat. Rene Noel Jr. of Windham is the consulting forester for the farm, which also won the award for Cumberland County Outstanding Tree Farm.

The land is open to the public and hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and ATV use are permitted by the Pierces. The Tree Farm Committee stated, “It shows a continuing family land ethic. Woodlands are well managed with many excellent examples of long term silvicultural treatments. Relationships with neighbors and community are excellent and the owner has expanded tree farm acreage to protect existing holdings.”

Josiah Pierce is a member and past president of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine and has served on Task Forces on Woodland Certification and Public Use of Private Land. He is a member of the planning and school boards and the local Grange.

Also receiving recognition for their stewardship are runners-up for the award and county winners Walter and Joanne Gooley of Farmington (Franklin County) and Joseph and Adele Suga of Vassalboro (Kennebec County). Oxford County winners Fred and Shirley Huntress of Poland and Somerset County winner Peter Pfeiffer of Solon will also be recognized.

Open to the public, the annual Outstanding Tree Farm Field Day will be held at the Pierce Tree Farm in Baldwin on Aug. 18, 2007.

The Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year competition recognizes private landowners for the exceptional job they do to enhance forestland on their property. Winners are also chosen based on their efforts to foster and promote the practice of sustainable forestry to other landowners and the public.

To be a certified tree farmer, a landowner must manage his or her forestland in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with the American Forest Foundation’s standards and guidelines.