2023 Tree Farmer of the Year: Brendan and Dorothy Whittaker
The Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year Award recognizes a Vermont Tree Farmer who is committed to long-term stewardship, sustainable forest management practices, and a dedication to educating the public about the role of working forests in Vermont. The Vermont Tree Farm Program is a land stewardship program sponsored by the Vermont Woodlands Association (VWA). We are proud to announce that Brendan and Dorothy Whittaker have been named Vermont’s Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for 2023.
For over 60 years, Brendan (Bren) and Dorothy Whittaker have worked to improve the overall health of the 67-acre woodlands in Brunswick, VT. Their woodlot, dominated by spruce and fir trees, includes a mixed hardwood stand, white pine, and a small red pine plantation. Their stewardship is guided by their desire to leave the forest better than they found it. Over the years, the Whittaker family has actively improved the health of the forest through timber stand improvement harvests, firewood harvesting, and harvesting saw logs.
Bren has been a leader in conservation efforts close to home and across the Northern Forest as an outspoken proponent for healthy forests and responsible forest management, starting with his work as the first Essex County Forester (1959-1963). As an Episcopal Minister and the longest-serving Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Bren has been deeply involved as an advocate for the people and the forests of the Northeast Kingdom.
Bren states, “Programs like the Vermont Tree Farm Program bring people together. Tree Farmers come from all different backgrounds and beliefs, but they all share the common interest of being good stewards of their environments.”
Congratulations to the Whittaker family and their Brunswick Gardens Tree Farm for the 2023 Vermont Tree Farm of the Year Award. Please read more in the upcoming Fall issue of the VWA/Tree Farm newsletter!