Former Dairy CEO Receives Posthumous Community Forest Award from Maine Forest Service
AUGUSTA, Maine - Stanley T. Bennett II, the former president and CEO of one of Maine's premier dairies, was honored posthumously on Monday with the Maine Forest Service's Project Canopy community forest award.
The family of Stanley T. Bennett II, 64, of Falmouth, the head of Oakhurst Dairy who died in February, accepted the second annual Frank Knight Community Forestry Excellence Award on his behalf during an Arbor Day celebration and awards ceremony held by the Maine Forest Service (MFS), under the Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC), at the Maine State Museum atrium.
Also receiving awards were the 18 municipal winners of the 2010 Tree City USA awards, presented on behalf of the National Arbor Day Foundation. In addition, the 22 Maine schools who have received Arbor Week Tree-Planting Grants through Project Canopy, the Maine Forest Service’s community forest program, were recognized during the ceremony.
"Arbor Day is a century-old tradition at which environmentalists and communities are recognized for their commitment to trees and forests," said MDOC Commissioner William Beardsley. "It's about educating our children, beautifying our towns. No one better exemplifies Maine Arbor Day than Stanley T. Bennett II. We are proud to honor him as recipient of the Frank Knight Community Forestry Excellence Award for 2011."
After the 1998 ice storm that devastated Maine, Bennett created the Oakhurst ReLeaf Fund for the replanting of trees that were lost. Oakhurst donated $100,000 to the effort, which the Maine Forest Service leveraged 4 to 1 for federal dollars for the project. Bennett also was known for his support of the Portland Tree Trust and the Yarmouth Tree Trust.
Bennett's brother, William P. Bennett, current dairy president and CEO, and his four sisters who hold positions in the family-run company, accepted the award from Commissioner Beardsley and Doug Denico, MFS director and Maine state forester. William Bennett noted how proud his brother would have been to receive the community forestry award.
Also present for the award ceremony was special guest Frank Knight, the 102-year-old former Yarmouth tree warden and guardian of "Herbie," the iconic Yarmouth elm tree that had to be cut down last year. The award was named in Knight's honor on Arbor Day 2010.
Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director, announced during the ceremony that a "Herbie" seedling, one of 12 currently being propagated, would be bequeathed to the Bennett family.
During the ceremony, Commissioner Beardsley spoke on the growth of Maine’s working forest and "the interrelationship of our values, our communities" to the state's trees and forestlands. Emphasizing the need to balance tree growth and use, he noted the transition of New England through the past two centuries from open land to forest. The commissioner reaffirmed that we should cherish our forests as part of our conservation ethos, yet also expressed a belief that there is an "elemental loss" if trees are not used for craftsmanship, valued products or to benefit the region's people.
Speaking about threats to Maine's forests, Denico said such threats as fire, diseases and invasive insects were a major concern of the Maine Forest Service. He pointed out that the control of forest fires is "a success story," with annual acreage burnt kept to less than 1,000 acres by a "very dedicated" group of Maine forest rangers.
Denico said he was especially concerned about invasive insect species, such as the emerald ash borer. "We think it's about 100 miles away, but it could be here now," the state forester said. With the Asian longhorned beetle found in Massachusetts, "we've got some real challenges," he said.
The MFS director urged Maine residents to continue their interest in preventing infestations, telling those present to "send us a picture" of any insect about which they may be concerned so the MFS can investigate it.
"Without you, it's going to be very difficult to do the job we have to do," Denico said.
Community representatives received awards for their participation in the Tree City USA program. Saco received its first award, while there also were several "veteran" municipalities being honored, Santerre said. They include: Portland, 31 years; South Portland, 31 years; Yarmouth, 32 years; Farmington, 34 years; and Westbrook, 34 years.
During the awards presentation, teacher Paula Maxim from the William S. Cohen School in Bangor accepted a certificate on behalf of the school for its Arbor Week Tree-Planting Grant. Pupils at the middle school will plant four large shade trees to enhance the two-story brick school, located in a prominent area of Bangor.
The individual school grants range from $1,000 to $227 for a total of $17,494. This is the first year of the grant program, which has federal and corporate sponsors, Santerre said.
The Arbor Week Tree-Planting Grant Program is funded by the USDA Forest Service-Urban and Community Forestry Program, with corporate sponsorship from Evergreen Credit Union, Portland; Androscoggin Bank, Lewiston; and Central Maine Power, Augusta.
Other support for the Arbor Day celebration was provided by CedarWorks Playsets; Acadian Timber LLC; and Irving Woodlands LLC.
A complete list of the Arbor Week Tree-Planting Grant recipient schools can be found at: http://www.state.me.us/doc/mfs/projectcanopy/pages/resource/2011_grants.htm
For more information, contact Jan Ames Santerre at 287-4987 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/projectcanopy/