The N.H. Tree Farm Program announced that Colleen O’Neill of Cornish has been named New Hampshire’s Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for 2023.
Owned and stewarded by O’Neill, her 405-acre Tree Farm, known as Langwood Tree Farm, is part of her 475-acres located in Cornish and Plainfield.
Her late husband acquired the first parts in the 1970’s and additions have been made when opportunities arose, most recently in 2022.
Langwood Tree Farm has participated in the N.H. Tree Farm program since 1979 and implements the four pillars of the Tree Farm program: wood, water, wildlife and recreation.
Langwood Tree Farm has many vernal pools and wetlands that are home for a variety of wildlife that depend on this habitat. O’Neill has also created clearings under the auspices of the USDA’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), attracting bluebirds, rabbits, deer and moose.
O’Neill’s goals for Langwood Tree Farm include maintenance and expansion of the five miles of recreational trails, sustainable timber harvesting and improvement, enhancing wildlife habitat, restoring and maintaining views, protecting water resources, and creating more meadows and openings. Langwood Tree Farm is open to the public for cross-country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and wildlife observation.
As is required for all Certified Tree Farms, a written forest management plan for Langwood Tree Farm is in place and is updated regularly with the assistance of her foresters Jeremy Turner and Mathias Nevins of Meadowsend Consulting Company.
With the long-range goal of ensuring that Langwood Tree Farm remains a working forest forever, O’Neill is actively planning to place a conservation easement on it with a NH-based land trust.
O’Neill is currently a member of the board of the NH Timberland Owners Association and a member of the Society for the Protection of NH Forests.
She learned about managing her woodlot by seeking advice from and attending multiple educational workshops, many of which were organized by UNH Cooperative Extension.
The New Hampshire Tree Farm Program is co-sponsored by the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, the Granite State Division of the Society of American Foresters, the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests, the N.H. Timberland Owners Association and UNH Cooperative Extension. It is based on the American Tree Farm System and is operated by volunteers. The N.H. Tree Farm Program reports that there are more than 1,500 Certified Tree Farms, totaling more than 500,000 acres, in New Hampshire.