TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - As you head to the back 40 of Joe and
Joyce Hickson's property, you are surrounded by unique topography,
original forests and newly planted trees. The Hicksons make it
difficult to believe you are in Essex County.
Mr. Hickson is the latest Ontario landowner to be recognized as a Trees Ontario Green Leader. This program recognizes landowners who have taken part in the Ontario government's 50 Million Tree Program, which aims to plant 50 million trees in southern Ontario. The program,
administered by Trees Ontario, provides subsidies and technical support
to landowners who wish to plant trees on 2.5 acres or more of land.
Joe and Joyce Hickson have supported Trees Ontario's mandate to increase
the forested landscape of Ontario's private lands. They worked with
Trees Ontario's local partner, the Essex Region Conservation Authority
(ERCA), to plant 23,450 trees on their 88.5 acre property located in
the Muddy Creek watershed within the Municipality of Leamington.
"Using traditional and alternative afforestation methods, we were able
to plant many native tree species including tulip, sassafras, black
gum, American chestnut, American beech, cottonwood, sycamore and red
cedar," said Robert Davies, Forestry Technician for the ERCA. Davies
and other ERCA members including Kate Arthur, ERCA's restoration
biologist, helped Mr. Hickson with on the ground professional help and
technical expertise at every step of the project.
The Hickson property, a farmland that was previously used to support him
and his family through the Great Depression, enjoys a long history in
the Hickson bloodline starting with his great grandfather. Joe's father
initiated planting efforts with Lands and Forests in the 1930s and
since then, Joe Hickson has had a passion for trees. Upon retiring from
a long farming career, Joe decided to do what any steward of the land
would do, restore it to its natural state.
"The 50 Million Tree Program is successful because of landowners like
the Hicksons who are looking to reforest all or some of their property
that may no longer maintain the necessary conditions for crops, or
areas that are no longer being used to their full potential," noted Rob
Keen, CEO of Trees Ontario. "We encourage other landowners to take
advantage of the available subsidies to plant trees and restore their
The benefits that Mr. Hickson has noticed, as a result of the planting
program, have been the return of diverse local wildlife including foxes
and wild turkeys, increased dragonfly populations, prairie grasses and
wildflowers. His efforts have also contributed to the restoration and
delisting of the Muddy Creek watershed from being an area of concern.
"Planting large numbers of trees helps fight climate change, cleans the
air, increases wildlife habitat, and prevents flooding," said the
Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources.
"The Hicksons should be recognized for their outstanding contribution
to enhancing forest cover—they truly deserve the title of Trees
Ontario's Green Leaders."
Mr. Hickson is a real and life-long steward of the land, "I want to
leave it better than I received it." His advice to other landowners,
"Go ahead - it is a great hobby. It is a lot of work but it's worth it.
I love trees and I enjoy watching the forest mature."
With this much history, so many fascinating stories and a large-scale
planting endeavor, this Hickson property will live on and provide many
benefits to Joe, Joyce, their growing family and so many of us in
For more information about the government of Ontario's 50 million Tree Program and local planting workshops to help you get started, visit: http://www.treesontario.ca/programs.
Image with caption: "Trees Ontario Green Leaders, Joe and Joyce Hickson, in their remnant Carolinian forest (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121114_C8004_PHOTO_EN_20600.jpg
SOURCE: Trees Ontario
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