65th Forestry Field Day honors local farmer

Newell farm named 2019 Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year
Sep 09, 2019
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, poses with the Newell family at the 65th annual Forestry Field Day held Sept. 7 at Newell Tree Farm in Unity and Thorndike.

Unity — Maine's 65th Annual Forestry Field Day, co-hosted by Maine Tree Farm and Maine Woodland Owners Sept. 7, celebrated the achievements of the 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the year, Don Newell, and his family.

Visitors at the rainy Saturday event, held at Newell Tree Farm in Unity, included U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The farm has been named Maine's 2019 Outstanding Tree Farm.

Two wagon tours took visitors to various locations on the woodlot. On one, Newell guided participants as he displayed a portion of the property he has actively managed for 40 years.

On the other wagon tour, Rob Nelson, consulting forester and Maine Tree Farm Committee’s Somerset County chairman, discussed active stewardship projects on the property, including a hemlock bridge installed with cost-share assistance from the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The Forest Stewards Guild’s Amanda Mahaffey and Maine Audubon’s Sally Stockwell led a Forests for Maine Birds walking tour. Other features included Project Learning Tree activities to introduce children to forest flora and fauna.

Collins, a member of the Senate Working Forests Caucus, congratulated Newell and thanked the Maine Tree Farm and Maine Woodland Owners for their efforts to uphold the Maine tradition of providing public access to private lands, and to preserve the state’s forests for future generations.

“In contrast to most of the United States where forests are publicly held, 95% of Maine woods are privately owned," Collins said in remarks at the event. "These landowners, like Don Newell and his family, serve as the caretakers of the natural resources that are vital to our forest products industry and recreation economy."

Newell has been a tree farmer since 1986, when he bought the first parcel of the now 250-acre forest, adding to it as adjoining parcels became available. Nearly every morning, before going to his day job as a Realtor specializing in farms and woodlands, he is in the woods improving his road and trail system or harvesting products for local wood markets. His management practices include thinning sapling stands and creating small patch clearcuts to promote habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The Newell Tree Farm is open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling on designated groomed trails. Newell has hosted numerous events and tours, including forestry professors from Sweden and the University of Maine, Unity College students’ forestry projects, and the annual MOFGA Low Impact Forestry 101 session.

Sen. Collins has cosponsored legislation to support Maine’s forest products industry, including the Future Logging Careers Act, legislation to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow parents who own or operate a logging or mechanized operation to employ their 16- and 17-year-old children.

In December, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law and included important provisions authored by Senator Collins to benefit Maine’s agriculture industry. The Timber Innovation Act established a performance-driven research and development, education, and technical assistance program for advancing mass timber building construction in the United States.




Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, greets visitors at the Newell Tree Farm in Unity Sept. 7.
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