County staff gets hands dirty 0
CYNDI MILLS email@example.com Jason Davis, the county's geographical information system co-ordinator, was one of 13 county staff who got out of the office and got their hands dirty yesterday, helping the forestry department plant "infill" trees on the county's property at the corner of Highway 17 and Whitewater Road. The staff was replacing red pine saplings that didn't survive the winter. For more community photos please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca.
Thirteen Renfrew County staff left their desks yesterday to lend a hand to the forestry department.
"We were turning people away to come and help us. I really think it a good indication of how dedicated our staff is and they realize the importance of forestry to the county," explained manager of forests Jeff Muzzi, who was also out digging and planting with his co-workers.
Last year the department planted 25,000 red pine saplings in the field behind the Whitewater Road and Highway 17 county patrol garage. County staff were out helping Mr. Muzzi and forester Lacey Rose with an "infill" tree plant.
Planting 2,000 trees, the crew were replacing the saplings that had died over the winter.
"It is about 10 per cent and that is pretty good. That means our success last spring was pretty good" noted Mr. Muzzi. "Where you see dead ones, that is normal. Every time you plant trees some of them die. Every (where) there is a dead one we are planting a new one."
Throughout the county there are 3,000 acres of red pine planted, encompassing 16 per cent of the forest department's total area. For the last 20 years red pine has been one of the most valuable trees harvested.
"Once (a plantation) reaches age 60 you can take a third (of it) every 10 years, so it is like a continual profit. It's a good thing to do with old fields like this one," explained Ms. Rose.
The duo was pleased with the number of staff members who volunteered to come out and assist the department on what Mr. Muzzi calls a legacy project.
"You don't plant trees for your self. You plant them for your grandchildren," noted Mr. Muzzi.
Calling it a perfect day, (no bugs, cloud cover with a breeze) the volunteer tree planters were mostly from the development and property branch and had never tree planted before.
"You don't realize how hard of work it is," said Mr. Muzzi.
He added that geographical information system co-ordinator Jason Davis had earned money throughout university planting trees in BC and was a pro.
Currently, there are over 2,000 direct jobs and over 3,000 indirect jobs associated with forestry in Renfrew County with around 500 small businesses either wholly or partly dependant on the forest industry.
Cyndi Mills is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist