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Life Through the Eyes of a Tree Planter

by Joe Hensler, 3rd Generation

My Grandfather, Stanley Hensler, believed that planting a tree shouldn’t be a selfish act. His passion for planting trees went beyond personal pleasure; he felt it was important to leave something for the next generation.

Planting predominately white pine and tulip poplar seedlings, Grandpa reforested a three-acre opening, within his 40-acre woods, which had once been cleared for cropland. An early pioneer of using white pine for “trainer trees”, Grandpa carried his seedlings in a 5-gallon bucket and hand planted the mix of pines and poplars.

Now, sixty-two years later, I enjoy my annual winter trips to Grandpa’s planting in southern Indiana. My dream has been to mill the tulip poplar, which my Grandpa planted, into lumber to build a pole barn. The pole barn would become my woodworking shop, designed with a tall ceiling to allow for a basketball hoop for my son, and Grandpa Stanley’s Great -Greandson, Hayden.

Grandpa’s tree planting not only ties me to my heritage, but also ties me proudly to the future.