A local forestry entrepreneur has been awarded this year’s Most Valuable Planter award from Forests Ontario.
Dave Bartram, owner of Bartram Woodlands, planted over 30,000 trees on behalf of Forests Ontario in 2020. The Most Valuable Planter award is given to an individual or organization who contributes to improving eco-system health by planting trees.
Bartram started the forestry company 30 years ago.
“I started the company as a way to keep working because I guess I really enjoyed outdoor work,” Bartram said. “Over the years, I gradually branched out and did other types of forestry work throughout different times of the year.”
In addition to providing forestry services, Bartram Woodlands works in conjunction with Forests Ontario to plant trees as part of their 50 Million Trees initiative.
“Forests Ontario has a funding program that provides financial assistance to people who want to plant trees on their property,” Bartram said. “We provide that service to people who own farm property and vacant land.”
Bartram said learning how to work outside safely during the COVID-19 pandemic was a hurdle he overcame during the 2020 planting season.
“We had to figure out how to space ourselves out on the work site, keep our distance and keep the public away,” Bartram said. “We really had quite the protocol.”
When Bartram decided to start Bartram Woodlands, he didn’t consider how he was creating a more sustainable environment.
“It was more that I just liked it,” he said. “It was something I knew how to do. I liked being outdoors and the challenge of working hard outside appealed to me at the time. It was more just me wanting to be out in the forest and working the trees.”
However, winning the Most Valuable Planter award makes Bartram feel good about all the trees he’s planted over the course of thirty years.
“Tree planting isn’t exactly at the top of the forestry hierarchy,” Bartam said. “It can be a grind sometimes and it can be underappreciated, so to get the award is a good kind of recognition.”