Maine Tree Farm Chair, Randy Lagasse, presents Drs. Bob Seymour and Jessica Leahy the 2020 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year a plaque commemorating their accomplishment. 

SEBEC, Maine – After postponing for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine Tree Farm Program was pleased to see the return of celebrations for the Outstanding Tree Farm of Year as part of the Maine Forestry Field Day. The event took place on Sunday September 12th at Wicopy Woods Tree Farm in Sebec, honoring the 2020 award winners, Drs. Jessica Leahy and Bob Seymour. 

Wicopy Woods Tree Farm is a 130-acre forest known for its remarkable merchantable timber products and embrace of forest ecology. The former owner of the property, Ron Locke, was awarded the Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year in 1984 for his stewardship of Wicopy Woods, and as such, this Tree Farm is no stranger to this recognition. Leahy and Seymour purchased the property from Locke in 2015 and have strived to continue and expand his exemplary woodland management. 

Field Day attendees listen to opening remarks.

The event kicked off at 8:30 am and the attendees were offered options to participate in various walking tours and exhibitions. While the more advanced hikers accompanied Seymour on his extended morning silviculture tour, other participants joined shorter tours led by Leahy on small-scale forestry and Dr. Amber Roth on silviculture and birds. Attendees were also able to visit the numerous education stations and exhibitions on-site, with topics ranging from tree identification to learning skills in Avenza mapping. 

After a fun-filled morning, everyone gathered back together for lunch and drinks, with plenty of forestry-themed door prizes raffled off to attendees. Roger Merchant provided live acoustic music, singing songs about nature which perfectly accompanied the feel of the day’s celebrations. 

Then Maine Tree Farm Committee Chair Randy Lagasse presented our hosts with their Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award. “Since purchasing this property in 2015, Bob and Jess have continued the extensive documentation of harvesting and silviculture practices,” stated Lagasse. “Beyond their commitment to managing the land, Bob and Jess have collectively trained thousands of forestry and natural resource professionals. Their dedication to forestland and the profession of forestry is inspiring.” 

Dr. Jessica Leahy demonstrates an equipment setup used for low-impact harvesting projects at Wicopy Woods. 

Several elected officials attended the event and presented sentiments in support of Leahy and Seymour, including representatives for US Senator Angus King and Representative Jared Golden, State Representative Allison Hepler, and State Senator Paul Davis. Attendees then heard from Logan Johnson of the Forest Stewards Guild, Kayti Wilson of the American Tree Farm System, Patty Cormier of the Maine Forest Service, and Commissioner Amanda Beal of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. 

After lunch wrapped up, Seymour led many Field Day participants in another extended silviculture tour, while others remained around the education tent to peruse the exhibits and speak with their forest-loving peers for the remainder of the event. All in all, with the perfect end-of-summer cool weather, enthusiastic volunteers and participants, and of course our amazing hosts and their beautiful Tree Farm – Forestry Field Day 2021 was a tremendous success. The Maine Tree Farm Program would like to thank all who contributed to this great event, and we are looking forward to next year! 

Dr. Bob Seymour leads a group of enthusiastic Field Day attendees on a silviculture tour of Wicopy Woods. 

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