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Forests Ontario Salutes Somerville Seedlings

Toronto, ON, July 31, 2014 – This week, Forests Ontario bid a fond farewell to one of our most valued partners and supporters in Carl Mansfield, who retired from his role as Propagation Manager at Somerville Seedlings. A send-off party at the nursery brought together over 100 of Carl’s friends, family, and past and present colleagues to pay tribute to the man who grew more than 200 million trees over a 40-year career.

Carl’s retirement caps a career as one of Ontario’s most reliable and expert growers. Colleague Paul Fraser said it best when he remarked, “If the trees in the ground across Ontario that were grown by Carl could talk, imagine what a roar of appreciation we would hear today.”

Somerville became a valued partner of Trees Ontario in 2004 and has since become the largest supplier of tree seedlings for our programs, providing approximately 1.5 million seedlings every year. Somerville also provides the majestic tree for the Lieutenant Governor’s annual Christmas gathering and supplies the Christmas trees and wreaths sold annually at the Forests Ontario tree lot, hosted annually during the Distillery District’s Toronto Christmas Market.

Forests Ontario’s nursery partners are relied upon to start producing nursery stock years in advance of being planted through our programs. This requires an incredible level of foresight to produce high-quality trees that will thrive and grow for many decades after planting. Carl’s expertise helped grow Somerville from “a backyard nursery to a world class nursery” in the words of Fred Somerville, President of Somerville Seedlings. It was around the time of Carl’s arrival at Somerville in 1998 that the nursery began to expand its operations to include growing seedlings for reforestation. Thanks to these efforts, Somerville has played an instrumental role in sustaining tree planting efforts following the closure of government nurseries in the 1990s.

Additionally, Carl’s legacy includes passing on the knowledge he acquired over his long career. Prose like meticulous, detailed, technical, well-studied, and dedicated were frequently used to describe Carl. Dave Harbec, who will assume the role of Propagation Manager after Carl’s retirement, explained, “Carl taught me to pay attention to the details and get every step of the process right.” Harbec added, “He’s not just a good grower, he’s a great grower.” In his farewell, Carl recalled his experience while learning at Somerville, “I had the distinct advantage of having people around me who knew more about the place than I did.”

Sustaining forest restoration efforts depends on professionals like Carl who understand the growing process in all its complexities and are willing to share that knowledge with the next generation. With the many decades of insight that Carl has passed on to colleagues and successors, Forests Ontario is confident that our partnership with Somerville will continue to grow. “Carl not only left a legacy of healthy forests across the province, but he also shared his knowledge with his successors at Somerville to ensure high quality and successful restoration work continues,” explains Rob Keen, CEO, Forests Ontario. “Carl’s efforts will continue to benefit Ontarians for generations to come.”

The staff and partners of Forests Ontario wish Carl the best for a well-deserved retirement and thank him and Somerville Seedlings for their efforts to foster a greener and healthier Ontario.