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Angevines named Outstanding Tree Farmers
BETHEL -- Ernest and Alberta Angevine of Bethel have been chosen as the 2012 Maine State Outstanding Tree Farmers.
The award will be made at the Agricultural Trades Show and Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine (SWOAM) annual meeting on January 11 at the Augusta Civic Center.
Now in their 90’s, the Angevines have been stewards of their 189 acres, as well as active participants in the local SWOAM chapter, and overall SWOAM and Tree Farm supporters for many years.
Sherman Small, their forester says, “It is impressive to see what has been accomplished over the course of time by diligent forest management. I think Ernest and Alberta’s work provide a good example of the fruits of long term management.”
The award means a lot to Ernest and Alberta and their family. Ernest was especially pleased to call his daughter in New Mexico to give her the news, since she was the New Mexico Outstanding Tree Farmer in 2009. Other awards they can be proud of are: 2001, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, 2004, Cooperator of the Year from the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District, and in 1990, 2003, and 2006, Oxford County Outstanding Tree Farmers.
Their history of ownership goes back to the days of WW II. While Ernest was away for 20 months fighting in the war in Europe, Alberta was home with their two small children and took the opportunity to rent out Ernest’s tractor. Upon his return, this money was used to purchase the original 75 acres and their farmhouse.
In 1965, with help from Oxford Paper Company’s forester Abbot Ladd, they became part of the Maine Tree Farm System, Tree Farm #679. Over the years they acquired additional parcels to bring their total acreage to 189 acres.
With the original purchase of land, Ernest and Alberta knew that with good forest management over the years, they would realize income to supplement their retirement. They also knew that along with managing for timber, other aspects of the woodlot would benefit wildlife, water quality and recreation. They are quick to thank the many foresters who assisted them, from private consultants to state and industry foresters.
Their first management plan was written by Brian Milligan and their most recent update was written by Small of New England Forestry Consultants. Small says “Much of their land is considered to be excellent development land. Many acres of prime lots are located along the Androscoggin River. They have been approached throughout the years to sell to developers but have chosen to keep their land in tree growth management. Both Ernest and Alberta have worked hard on their very impressive forestland, which includes 80 acres of some of the largest pine trees growing anywhere in the State of Maine.”
Much of the management work throughout the years has been done by Ernest. He started a pruning rotation in the 1950’s and to date over 3,000 stems have been pruned. Most of the logging was done by Ernest until the late 1990’s. Local loggers were hired a few times for the bigger jobs. There is a well established trail system as well as wildlife-friendly practices, thanks to the assistance from the Oxford County NRCS office and the Wildlife Incentives Program.
The land has been open to the public for all types of recreation, fishing and hunting, and many people have viewed the Angevine’s ongoing management program and benefited from it, even becoming Tree Farmers or SWOAM members because of their example. Their daughter, Judy Coolidge, a retired second grade teacher, developed an annual Environmental Day on the property for all second graders in the district that is still going strong 23 years later.