Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Making of Muddy Mark

Mark walks in the forest most days. On one such walk a school group tagged along to learn more about the forest. Mark wears big high rubber boots and enjoys walking through the mud.

The kids would call "wait up Muddy Mark".

When the group returned to safe dry roadside they had seen seedlings, rocks, orchids, birds, squirrels, burls and mud.

A typical little boy who loved to ware his rubber boots as much as possible, camping was the norm for Muddy most summers. This sparked his interest of the forest.

At 10 he joined the Boy Scouts to expand his exposure and knowledge of the forest.

He helped his father fix cages and feed birds at the Roy Ivor Bird Sanctuary and this triggered his love of birds.

Muddy’s family was recycling before the term curbside was ever invented and he participated in the inaugural Pollution Probe litter pick as well as many more that would follow.

His first job was at The Camp of the Woodland Trails as a park warden. The next three summers he spent learning and educating campers. He developed a skill for photography and has had a camera close at hand ever since.

He spent three more summers at Sheridan Tree Nursery, doing everything from trimming, transplanting, digging and transporting seedlings.

He saw some of Canada with Katimavik. He got a much closer look at more of Canada when he hitch-hiked the scenic route from Vancouver British Columbia to Fortune Newfoundland via Dawson City, Yukon and Tok, Alaska.

Eventually he went to school in Sault Ste. Marie and studied forestry.

The Ministry of Natural Resources in Timmins saw his potential while he worked for them as a student. When he was finished school he was hired on to work with the Science and Technical Unit, the Fire Unit, the District office and Ontario Parks.

He bought a house, married a gal who would put up with him and started a family.

He enjoys his free time to be able to put more time into his community endeavors. These included the Timmins Naturalists, the Wintergreen Fund for Conservation, participating in a Local Citizens Committee and the Porcupine Watchful Eye, creating the Timmins Honour Roll of Trees, coaching for the Timmins Soccer Association, Timmins Select Basketball and the Timmins Minor Hockey League, he was a board member for the Timmins Public Library, lead the tree plants for local Scouts Canada and was chairman for the Public Liaison Committee for the Waste Management plan.

He left the MNR and did a two year stint with a mining company in their environmental program and photographed and documented species as he went about his work.

When gold lost it’s shine he went looking for a new employer so he could continue to support his growing family.

His wife told him to get a job and that’s when he met with Sue and Dave Millson to discuss possible employment options. They had worked together on tree plant projects when Muddy Mark was with the MNR. Muddy has been with Millson Forestry Service now for over 10 years.

At Millson Forestry Service it is Earth Day everyday. Muddy has been involved with many different aspects of trees. Seeding the next generation of forests in containers. Growing by watering, weeding and watching the seedlings. Site preparation to prepare a site for tree planting. Tree planting as part of the regeneration of crown forests and the reclamation of mining properties. Forest tending to ensure the health and vitality of the new forest. Road building, harvesting and product transportation completes the forest management cycle.

Muddy enjoys talking to private land owners that want to ensure the best use of their forested land. He is involved with mining companies that want to add trees as part of their progressive reclamation efforts.

He takes pictures, he gets dirty, he loves to walk in the forest with his best dog pal, Roll’n. He always loves to talk about trees!

He likes to GPS his finds and take digital pictures to share on his blog, Oxygen Grows On Trees . Oh and he does get work done too!

What do you remember? Leave a comment.