John Dunsmore is dedicated to his land. Wielding pruning shears he surveys his 140-acre property looking for grass patches that could threaten his tree seedlings’ survival. He snips at stray strands as to prevent them from pushing down and suffocating the young trees.
With nearly 60,000 new trees on the Shanty Bay farm he shares with his wife Rosemary, John is dedicated to the seedlings’ survival and growth.
Three years ago, the Dunsmores enlisted the help of Trees Ontario and Lands & Forests Consulting to assist with the re-greening of their property, located just east of Barrie, Ont. Since then, they’ve planted approximately 20,000 trees per year, with next year planned as the last and final planting. Recently, the couple was recognized as Trees Ontario Green Leaders for their enduring stewardship of the Shanty Bay area.
Retired cattle farmers with 50 years of experience under their belt (including multiple awards such as the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award) and commitment to the local community, the couple says planting trees was the next logical step as they both share a love of the outdoors. The property has been farmed by Rosemary’s family for 150 years.
Like his father and grandfather before him, John takes great pride in farm life. He has planted approximately 2,500 seedlings by hand (to fill gaps) and undertakes the grass cutting between the seedling rows using an industrial-sized lawnmower that is stored in the couple’s 100-year-old barn; a task that takes three days to complete. Rosemary pitches in by helping transport trees from the barn for the Land & Forests crew while they are working on the property during planting season.
“In addition to their commendable participation in the Trees Ontario 50 Million Tree Program, the Dunsmores are a remarkable example of landowners who have gone the extra mile in their restoration efforts,” noted Rob Keen, CEO of Trees Ontario. “The sheer size and scope of their land as well as the hands-on maintenance they’ve undertaken is an inspiration to all landowners."
From Trees Ontario

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