Gary Schneider is the recipient of the 2018 Mentor Award for the Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty and will receive the award on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m., during a dinner in his honour at the Charlottetown Hotel. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Schneider is being recognized for his work in forestry.
“It’s an honour. It’s a reflection on Macphail Woods and the work we all have done there. So it’s a reflection on everyone,” says Schneider, during a telephone interview.
Described as P.E.I.’s equivalent of “Smokey the Bear”, the tall, genial, gentle, approachable Stratford resident is a dedicated advocate for trees, wildlife habitat and the environment.
Schneider’s love affair with trees began in the late 70’s and early 80’s when he moved to P.E.I. to live in the country and fell in love with the native forest.
He became a tree planter and, later, part of a four-person cooperative in Kings County that carried out a variety of silvicultural treatments in Island forests.
In 1991 Schneider went to work for Macphail Woods on an ecological forestry project. He saw his work as a way to demonstrate sustainable management and restoration of the Acadian forest. But, it became so much more. He collected seeds, ran a plant nursery and planted native species.
Schneider also used his position at Macphail to develop environmental education for Islanders young and old. He runs children’s camps, hosts Elderhostel visit and leads owl prowls. He runs tours for UPEI and Holland College students, holds workshops on owls, tree and shrub identification, bird identification, native plant landscaping, forest restoration and pruning methods.
He works with the Island municipalities of Charlottetown, Stratford and Souris in creating and implementing planning plans for urban parks and wetland areas and manages 2,000 acres of forest for the provincial government. He also works with private landowners.
In 2009, Schneider developed and co-taught a UPEI field course on ecological forestry. Eight of these have been held to date and he has had a central role in each, teaching plant identification, wildlife enhancement, restoration and implementation.
For more information about purchasing tickets, call Earl Pickard at 902-892-4231 before Friday, Nov.16.