by Curtis and LaDonna Barnes —
All of us have a part to play in taking care of our planet. Small steps taken each and every day can lead to big change. Big change starts with one small step, then another, and then another. The steps we take may be different, but they are all important and, added together, make a huge difference. Reducing. Reusing. Recycling. Glass instead of plastic. Biodegradable or reusable straws. Hybrid and all-electric engines. Meatless Mondays. Buying local. Sustainability. Renewable energy. All buzz words for our time. And all are important issues to address in our efforts to make the human impact on our planet more sustainable.
Our certified tree farm, founded in 2010 and incorporated in 2017, is one of these steps for us. We cultivate loblolly pines on 17 acres of our 27-acre property in Northampton County, just outside Woodland. We wanted to preserve the property and to make our land work for us and for our community as a whole. Our tree farm will provide a sustainable source of wood for generations to come, while also providing much-needed habitat for the animals that share the land with us. The remaining acreage will be dedicated to organic farming and will be managed with the same commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship as our tree farm.
The Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project (SFLRP) has provided us the technical and financial assistance necessary to manage our land in an environmentally sound and sustainable way. Our participation within the SFLRP has been critical to our success. We could not do all this without the resource and program professionals of the SFLRP.
“We will finish clearing the land set aside for our organic farm in early spring … (and) we are due to conduct a controlled burn within the next two years … for optimal growth of our loblolly pines.”
Our goals for 2020 include expanding our social media presence and prepping the land for our first planting in the spring of 2021. We will finish clearing the land set aside for our organic farm in early spring and plant a cover crop in the fall, in order to provide an organic layer of fertilizer for our crop. We are due to conduct a controlled burn within the next two years to thin the unwanted hardwoods and undergrowth to provide the best environment for optimal growth of our loblolly pines.
Our journey has only just begun. We can’t wait to see where it takes us.