SEBEC — In ordinary times, the Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year hosts Forestry Field Day, a highly anticipated, festival-like event sponsored by Maine Woodland Owners and Maine Tree Farm. This celebration draws a broad spectrum of the forest industry to tour the land and learn about the award recipients’ thoughtful forest management efforts.  This year’s winners are Drs. Jessica Leahy and Bob Seymour for their 130-acre tree farm, Wicopy Woods, in the village of Sebec. However, with gathering size restrictions in place in the state because of the pandemic, the traditional, high attendance Forestry Field Day event will have to wait until sometime in 2021.

Every year, Maine Tree Farm honors a woodlot owner who demonstrates a level of forest stewardship that is exceptional. The Outstanding Maine Tree Farmer of the Year is a highly coveted recognition that started in 1954 to reward good forestry practices on properties 10 to 10,000 acres, primarily family-owned. These small woodland owners maintain nearly a third of Maine’s 15.5 million acres of privately owned forests and produce 40 percent of the state’s wood supply. There are 87,000 woodlot owners in Maine and many of these forests are certified as Tree Farms — but only one award is given each year.

Despite the postponement, many felt that some public recognition should be given to Leahy and Seymour in 2020 for such a noteworthy achievement. So on Aug. 30,  a small group of masked forest enthusiasts and fellow woodland owners were welcomed by the couple and Maine Woodland Owners for a “sneak peak” tour of Wicopy Woods to learn what makes this parcel so exemplary.

When they acquired the land five years ago, the couple set forth to build on nearly a half century of exceptional management. Wicopy Woods Tree Farm was honored once before, in 1984, as the Maine Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year. The previous owner, Ron Locke, maintained voluminous notes, records and photos of the property, which Leahy and Seymour have used to develop and implement plans that ensure a healthy and vibrant forest for generations to come.

“Our aim from the beginning was to continue Ron’s work on this woodland. Our decisions about harvests and forest regeneration for Wicopy Woods are informed by a combination of Ron’s past management and the goals we have set for ourselves,” said Leahy.

Leahy and Seymour have a forestry background. For one, both are licensed foresters. Additionally, Dr. Leahy is  professor of human dimensions of natural resources at the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources and Dr. Seymour has recently retired from the University of Maine School of Forestry Resources faculty after over 30 years as Curtis Hutchins Professor of Silviculture.

The hosts kicked off the program by telling the story of Locke’s effort to turn a run-down farm and woodlot into an example of forest health and productivity. The attendees were then given a tour of the results of their irregular shelterwood silviculture where  growth and harvest targets were set and regeneration strategies were developed based on anticipated economic outcomes and ecological benefits.

“Wicopy Woods is forest management at its best, where other woodland owners can learn and be inspired by their efforts. We are thrilled that two very dedicated members of Maine Woodland Owners have received this well-deserved recognition. We look forward to properly honoring them in 2021,” said Tom Doak, Maine Woodland Owners executive director.

Wicopy Woods is named after the tree species Eastern leatherwood (Dirca palustris) which is also called wicopy. It is estimated that at least 300 individual wicopy plants reside in this forest – the largest plants may be over 100 years old.

To learn more about Wicopy Woods, Maine Woodland Owners, and Forestry Field Day visit More information about the 2021 Forestry Field Day at Wicopy Woods will be announced once the date is determined.

Photo courtesy of Maine Woodlot Owners
TREE FARM HONOR — Wicopy Woods in Sebec is the Maine Woodlot Owners’ Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. The traditional, high attendance Forestry Field Day event will be held next year.

B. J. H. S. Alumni Association 2020 Scholarship Awards

This has been an unusual year. Due to the coronavirus situation, all students completed their spring semester working from home. Some were unable to complete classes that required hands on activity. Knowing that grading for the semester would vary from school to school, it was determined that this year’s scholarships would be given out based on cumulative grade point averages, not semester grades.

In addition to the unusual circumstances the students were dealing with, there was no BJHS Alumni reunion this summer. The officers and scholarship committee members met to verify this year’s scholarship recipients.

Fifteen completed applications were received this year. Twelve of the applications nine are from current college students and three are from high school seniors. The grade point averages ranged from 4.0 to 2.9. The highest GPA again this year comes from a high school senior.

This year’s scholarships have been awarded as follows:

The Margaret Law scholarships are awarded to students enrolled in the medical area. Two scholarships will be given to students in this area of study. The first scholarship recipient of this scholarship this year is Jordan Durant. She is the granddaughter of Whit & Linda Coburn and Barbie Durant. She attends Husson University and is majoring in physical therapy. Jordan’s cumulative GPA is 3.8.

The second Margaret Law scholarship is awarded to Mackenzie Worcester. Mackenzie’s BJHS Alumni connections are Fred Worcester and Carol Melanson. Mackenzie is attending Husson University majoring in physical therapy and her cumulative grade point average is 3.6.

Three scholarships are open to all students who apply: 

The Eleanor Rosebush scholarship recipient is Victoria Bryer. Victoria is attending Eastern Connecticut State University majoring in Criminology, with a minor in Sustainable Energy Studies. Her cumulative GPA is 3.6. Victoria is the granddaughter of Janet Burgoyne.

The recipient of the Don Stiles Scholarship recipient is Brandon Bryer. Brandon is the great-grandson of Elmer Cunningham (deceased) and is attending the University of Cincinnati pursuing an advanced degree of Juris Doctor. His cumulative GPA is 3.86.

The Henry & Annie Graves scholarship is awarded to Camron Bailey. Camron is a 2020 graduate of Penquis Valley High School, Milo, Maine and has a cumulative GPA of 3.66. Camron is the grandchild of James Larson. Camron plans to attend Kennebec Valley Community College majoring in Electrical Line Work Technology.

The Greta Connors scholarship recipient is Faith Sickler. Faith is attending Lesley University (College of Art and Design) in Cambridge, MassachusettsHer cumulative GPA is 3.9. Her BJHS connections are Felice Coburn Lyford and Dodie and Jack Coburn.

Two scholarships are awarded specifically to high school seniors:

The BJHS scholarship is awarded to Del Bonsu-Anane who is the grandson of Kay Chase Whitney and the great-grandchild of Guilford and Annie Chase. Del is a 2020 graduate of Con Val High School in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His cumulative GPA is 4.02. He plans to attend North Carolina State University to study business management.

The Allen Lente scholarship is awarded to Sapphira Murphy this year. Sapphira is a 2020 graduate of The Learning Clinic in Brooklyn, Connecticut. Her cumulative GPA is 3.8. Sapphira is the granddaughter of Charlene Kinney Buzza. She plans to attend UMass-Amherst in the fall majoring in Sustainable Food Production.

When the Alumni Officers met to review the scholarship awards, it was decided to award three additional scholarships this year as these three students have grade point averages within one point of the last awarded scholarship.

A second Don Stiles scholarship will be awarded to Abigail J. Koehler who is the granddaughter of Lauris Boulanger Sailor. She is attending Springfield College in Massachusetts majoring in marketing. Her cumulative GPA is 3.56.

An additional Greta Connors scholarship is awarded to Alex Morrison. Alex is the grandson of Larry and Donna Morrill. He is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Maine. Alex achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.53.

A third Margaret Law scholarship is awarded to Alyssa Murano. Alyssa is the granddaughter of Donald Martin, Sr. and attends Husson University. Her major is occupational therapy and her cumulative grade point average is 3.5.

Scholarships are available to any child/step-child, grandchild/step-grandchild, or great-grancdchild/step-great-grandchild of active members of the BJHS Alumni Association. Those descendants of alumni who have passed away but were active members before their death are also eligible. Applications can be completed in May/June/July of each year and are available here on the Three Rivers Community website. For more information, contact [email protected]