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Port Hope Green Leaders Honour the Past by Planting for the Future

Art and Donna Marvin Granted ‘Green Leader’ Status by Forests Ontario

Port Hope residents Art and Donna Marvin have recently been named Forests Ontario’s newest ‘Green Leaders.’ Dedicated to the continued enrichment of their beloved family farm, the couple reforested their 100-acre property, planting 11,000 trees over a two year period.

The farm, aptly named Marvindale, is the cornerstone of the Marvins’ legacy. “This farm has been in my family for seven generations,” says Art. “I’m the fifth and my granddaughter, who lives in the original farm house with her parents, is the seventh. There’s a lot of history here.”

The Marvins were one of the first families to move to the Port Hope area, landing by boat in 1793 after the American Revolution. “Our family has been here since the very beginning of the township,” Art explains. “One of the earliest Marvins was on the militia roll here in 1800.”

From 1828 to 1853, long before it was known as Marvindale, the farm was owned by King’s College. It was highly valued for being a stream valley with significant water-power potential.  The valley was eventually dammed and a sawmill was constructed, followed by a gristmill, a butter factory, and a fish hatchery.

In 1875, the property was sold to William Hunt – better known as ‘The Great Farini’ – a celebrity inventor, entertainment promoter, and tight-rope walker famous for crossing Niagara Falls. The butter factory on the property burnt down in 1886, and the Marvin family subsequently came to work the land as tenant farmers; they would eventually purchase the farm from ‘Farini’ in 1913.

At different points after acquiring ownership, the Marvins farmed the land for produce and raised a variety of livestock, ranging from cows to geese. These days, however, Marvindale is no longer a working farm. Art went into the forestry industry, where he has built a career for himself over the past 40 years. Art worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) for several years and is currently a partner in Northumberland Tree Planters, one of Forests Ontario’s Planting Delivery Agents.

Merging both their love for trees and the family farm, Art and Donna decided to reforest their land through the Government of Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program (50MTP), part of the United Nations’ Billion Tree Program. The plantings were conducted in 2010 and 2012, and included White pine, Red maple, and European larch trees. The growing forest has helped to provide pathways for wildlife and beautified the landscape. In fact, the picturesque scenery has inspired paintings by Donna and Art’s artist daughter, Cori.

“We see white tailed deer, coyotes, wild turkeys, grouses, woodcock, and occasionally turkey vultures and foxes on the property,” Donna Marvin says, cheerfully.

The Green Leader Program recognizes landowners who have taken part in the 50MTP, thus helping to increase forest cover in Ontario. Administered by Forests Ontario – a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to forest restoration, stewardship, education and awareness – the 50MTP provides financial assistance and technical support to landowners who wish to plant trees on 2.5 acres or more of land.

“Art Marvin has been a great asset to the 50 Million Tree Program, both in planting trees for landowners throughout Northumberland County and for reforesting his own property through the program,” said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada. “The trees the Marvins have planted will help to clean the air and water, provide habitat for wildlife, and help to combat the negative effects of climate change.”

For more information about the 50 Million Tree Program, contact Forests Ontario at 416-646-1193 or visit