Sally Hightower wins 2018 Michigan Tree Farmer of the Year

BUTMAN TOWNSHIP – Venture out to Butman Township in Gladwin County and you may come across the Twisted oak Tree Farm. It is a prime example for stewardship in the area and owner Sally Hightower works hard to keep the land in the best condition it can be.

It’s a place where you can find rare pink or yellow lady slipper flowers, catch trout on the river, or even just close your eyes and enjoy the sounds of nature.

Sally has worked with many conservation groups to keep the property in pristine condition, starting with The American Tree Farm System, which she joined in 1981. In addition, the property is under an easement with Little Forks Conservancy, Enrolled in MAEAP Forest Wetlands Habitat*A*Syst program, and is used for stream temperature research by Trout Unlimited. For this and more, Sally Hightower has been named 2018 Michigan Tree Farmer of the Year!

Much of the work on the tree farm has been done by Sally and her spouse Linda. When the river bank below their house started degrading, they did the work themselves to restore the habitat.

After the first timber sale to Dow Chemical, 1200 red pines were re planted. If you have ever planted hundreds trees, you know how hard it can be! Thankfully it was done with the help of some college students.

Sally is also a leader in the community. She serves as the chair for the Gladwin Conservation District, President of the Gladwin School Board, Board Member of Little Forks Conservancy, and is on the Advisory Board for Clare Conservation District’s Forestry Assistance Program. She also provides forestry advice to her neighbors and always promotes stewardship and healthy wildlife management.

The American Tree Farm System is a national program sponsored by the American Forest Foundation to promote the sustainable management of family forest land. Tree Farm is the oldest and largest forest conservation, certification and advocacy program in the United States.

The program has eight Standards of Sustainability that make sure your property is managed in a sustainable way. Tree Farm provides assurance that the forest is being managed in a positive way as well as recognition for a job well done. Every year the Michigan Tree Farm Committee selects a tree farmer who has gone above and beyond with practicing and promoting good forestry.

Another benefit of Tree Farm is the educational workshops and events that it hosts.

There will be a Tree Farm Field Day on January 26th at Sally’s property. At this fun event you will learn about the American Tree Farm System, other landowner programs, Gladwin County Natural History, and winter tree and wildlife identification. In the afternoon we will have a field tour of the Twisted Oak Tree Farm (2018 Michigan Tree Farm of the Year!) to see examples of great stewardship in action.

Lunchwill be provided by Mac’s on Main of Gladwin. This is a FREE event; please RSVP to Nia Becker at 989-539-6401. Be sure to dress for the weather (Boots, Coats, gloves, hats, ect).

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