Sara Swanson

Vic Mann to be honored as Washtenaw’s 2017 Tree Conservationist of the Year

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Vic Mann, Washtenaw County Conservation District’s 2017 Tree Conservationist of the Year. Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Conservation District

The 70th Annual Meeting of the Washtenaw County Conservation District will be held Thursday, January 18, 2018, 6:30 pm at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, located at 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road. In addition to a presentation on Washtenaw County Bats and the presentation of the 2017 Conservation Farmer of the Year Award to Frank Rochowiak of York Township, Bridgewater Township’s Vic Mann will be recognized as Washtenaw County’s 2017 Tree Conservationist of the year.

Benjamin Beaman of the Washtenaw Conservation District shared this write up about Mann from the 2017 Annual Report, published in the Conservation Update:

“To recognize excellent tree planting efforts, the Washtenaw County Conservation District is pleased to present the 2017 Tree Conservationist Award to Vic Mann of Bridgewater Township.

Vic has been planting trees since 1969. On his current 69 acres, he has planted over 2,300 trees since 2000. More than half of those trees were purchased from the Washtenaw County Conservation District, with the remainder coming from neighboring districts and other sources. The primary species he plants are white pine, white spruce, Norway spruce, red maple, pin oak, redosier dogwood, and highbush cranberry.

Vic starts many of his trees in small, fenced nurseries scattered throughout his main 45 acre property. This allows the seedlings to develop in relative safety for a year or two, before being transplanted to their final locations. He finds that this head start allows the trees more of a fighting chance once they are subjected to the rubbing antlers and gnawing teeth of the local deer population. Even so, many of his transplanted trees sport tree shelters or small, wire enclosures as additional safeguards.

One of the key reasons Vic plants trees is to increase the habitat value for the wildlife that call his properties home. The trees he has planted provide them with a wide selection of both browse and cover. In addition, he enjoys the increased aesthetics that the trees provide, and the benefits to the health of his soil. He also has a number of CREP windbreaks spread throughout his properties.

In addition to the trees he has planted, Vic’s properties support natural mixed woodlands throughout. These woodlands include diverse upland hardwoods (including some giant-for-Michigan shagbark hickories) and a floodplain forest on the River Raisin. Occasionally he does harvest some timber from his properties, and uses the wood to build Aldo Leopold benches for friends and family, or as donations for fundraisers. He has built over 100 of these benches, and plans to make many more.

Because of his consistent, long-term tree planting efforts, and overall stewardship ethic, the Washtenaw Conservation District is pleased to recognize Vic Mann as the 2017 Tree Conservationist of the Year.”

You can come see Mann honored at the 70th Annual District Meeting. The meeting includes a buffet dinner which costs $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations for the dinner are needed by January 12, 2018, but payment can be made at the door. To make reservations, call the District office at: (734) 761-6721 ext. 5 or e-mail The public is welcome to attend.

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Conservation District.

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