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Wadena County landowner receives Outstanding Forest Steward award

From left, SWCD Forestry Technician Anne Oldakowski, and DNR Forester Joel Holden present landowner Bonnie Newhouse with a print honoring her award.

Wadena County landowner Bonnie Newhouse was honored as Minnesota's 2013 Outstanding Forest Steward at the annual Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) Convention, held at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington on Dec. 2.

This award, co-sponsored by the MASWCD and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Forestry honors landowners who have implemented innovative forestry conservation activities, demonstrated leadership and achieved significant results in the protection of Minnesota's forest resources. The Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) nominated Newhouse for this award.

Newhouse and her late husband Donald's first forest stewardship plan for their 340 acres was written by the DNR in 1980. Goals for the property include managing the woodlands for timber production and wildlife habitat while continuing to plant trees where necessary.

"Bonnie is dedicated to her tree-loving family roots and the practice of sound land stewardship. She is willing to ask for advice with any challenges that arise in her forest," says Anne Oldakowski, Forestry Technician for the Wadena SWCD.

Newhouse's desire for planting was passed down from her mother, who worked at DNR's Badoura Nursery as a lady foreman. She grew up in Wadena County, surrounded by the pines and the Crow Wing River. She continues to live on and maintain the property that her late husband, Donald, grew up on. They have purchased trees from the DNR and the Wadena SWCD for several years. Newhouse voluntarily enrolled in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Conservation Stewardship Program, wanting to improve her conservation ethic by installing and adopting additional conservation activities and improving what she was already doing. Joel Holden, DNR Forester from the Nimrod field office, has assisted them with their management questions and forestry decisions throughout the past 33 years. These decisions include thinning, harvest, insect damage assessment, and other general forest questions.

"I appreciate being nominated by the Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District and all the help the DNR has provided. My family is a big help and we plan to continue forestry conservation in the future," said Newhouse.

The Wadena SWCD appreciates her dedication and recognizes Newhouse for her life-long devotion to forestry conservation practices.