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Fur Trapper leads tree commission for 17 Years
Aug 24, 2020 10:54 ET

[Reprinted from original]

Original Title: This Week’s Personality: Greg Staman leads tree commission for 17 Years

It’s only fitting that Greg Staman, chair of the Loudonville Tree Commission for the past 17 years, originally planned to become a forester.

“After graduating from Loudonville High in 1976, I went to Ohio State with the hopes of earning a degree in forestry,” Staman said. “After that year, I looked at my financial future and all of the experience and hoops one had to go through before becoming a full-scale forester, I realized it would take me many years to equal the pay I would make starting a factory job at Mansfield Plumbing Products.”

He dropped out of Ohio State, and went to work at MPP, retiring from there in July after 43 years on the job, working first in the old bowl line, then the finishing department, and finally in the kilns. One meaningful achievement for him at MPP was working with friends and co-workers Stu Danals and Rod Edmondson to reestablish the Recreation Club, an organization which holds annual events each year to celebrate sports such as golf and bowling, and outdoors activities like deer and turkey hunting, trap shooting, fishing and mushroom hunting.

But Staman still had interest in forestry, and was both surprised and flattered in 2000 when then-Loudonville Mayor John Burkhart asked him if he would like to serve on the Loudonville Tree Commission.

“There was a scandal of sorts back then when the tree commission authorized removal of some trees that upset a lot of people,” Staman said. “Within weeks, every member of the tree commission at the time resigned, and Mayor Burkhart was busy asking folks to volunteer to take their places. The mayor worked with me and several others at the Pottery, and through his efforts, got me, Jerry Dudte and Stu Danals to join the commission, and Craig Obrecht not long after that.”

For his first two years on the commission, Jerry Dudte served as the chair, but Staman then took over, and has chaired it ever since, a total of 17 very busy and satisfying years.

“People ask me why I do it, as we don’t get paid, and my answer is that it is a community service, plus I really like, and am really interested in trees,” Staman said.

Recently the commission, which is a working board, “planting,” Staman said, “an awful lot of trees,” increased from five to seven members.

“Bob Donelson was on the commission with us before Craig Obrecht joined, and Joyce Chipner served with the four of us from the Pottery for a number of years, and more recently Andy Reidenbach, Dave Switzer and Dave Drown have come on board,” Stamen said. “We all work together very well.”

Most noticeable achievement for the tree commission is the fact that through its work, Loudonville has earned the Tree City USA designation for 30 consecutive years. “That puts us in the top 10 percent among all cities and villages in Ohio, but ironically, our streak isn’t as long as two neighboring cities, Ashland and Wooster,” Staman said.

Two years ago, Staman added, “we kind of put Loudonville on the map among tree cities by hosting the annual Tree City USA awards program. We hosted the meeting in the Ohio Theatre, were served an excellent lunch at the American Legion, and planted a beautiful Tri-Colored Beech in Central Park to close the program.”

Staman said he and fellow member Danals made the experience of those attending the Tree City program memorable by introducing them to the concept of “stumpwater,” water we put on the new tree that was drained through a tree stump, giving it special properties to help new trees grow.

“Of course, that was a joke, and we added another joke, about the time Stu and I were planting a tree on a street and two young boys came up to us asking what we were doing.

“We told them we heard there was money buried along the street and we were looking for it. They asked us if they could help dig and share the money. ‘Go for it,’ I told them, and they ended up digging the entire hole for the tree.

“Then we told them what the hole was really for, and we gave each of the boys $5, and they helped us plant the tree,” Staman concluded. “I still see one of the boys quite often, and he tells me that tree is doing very well.”

Right now. the tree commission is getting ready for the fall planting season. It recently completed planted dogwoods all along the new street section of East Campbell Street between Market and Union Street, “so now we are looking at places all over town that need trees, usually shorter trees, like dogwoods, crabapples and serviceberries (shadbushes),” he said. “A lot of trees we plant are through our adopt-a-tree program, and we recently planted two of these trees, recognizing my mother, Mary Alice Staman, teacher Helen Geiselman, and former street department worker Tony Mowery.”

Staman listed a lot of names of people who help the tree commission. “I’ll start with the mayor, village administrator and council members, all of whom are very supportive of us,” he said. “Then there are all of our maintenance superintendents, first Roy Wilson, then John Burkhart, and soon-to-be Jarrod Heffelfinger. They take care of smaller tree work, like dead limb removal, and do a great job of it.

“For bigger tree jobs, we call on Doug Cline of rural Loudonville and Cline’s Tree Service, and Mike Switzer for stump removal.

“Finally, the heart and soul of our organization is our secretary, Jane Hollinger of the village offices. She runs our meetings for us, and keeps us advised of tasks we need to complete.”

Staman reiterated that trees always have been important to him.

“I remember the first tree I planted, a buckeye tree I dug up while mushroom hunting with my dad and grandpa 55 years ago. That tree is still growing well in my parent’s yard on South Adams Street, and it makes me happy to see kids collect the buckeyes under it like I did as a kid.”

The son of Bob and Mary Alice Staman, Staman and wife Diane live on a large wooded lot on Madison Avenue, the last lot on the right side of the street which he has heavily planted with trees and other wildlife-attracting plants.

“For this work, our lot was designated last year as an Official Wildlife Habitat by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, recognized for the plantings, and the bird feeders we have placed around it,” he said. “Last year, for instance, I oversaw the release of 99 monarch butterflies from plants on our lot, plants like butterfly bush, joe pye weed, coneflowers and wisteria. Several of our neighbors have joined us in the wildlife planting.”

Staman’s first love in wildlife, however, is fur trapping. He has been recognized for 54 consecutive years by the Ohio Fur Trappers Association for the furs he has collected and sold, including over a thousand raccoons, several hundred mink and countless other fur-bearing animals like muskrats, coyotes, fox and others.

“The only Ohio furbearer I haven’t caught is a river otter,” he said.

The Stamans have two daughters, Courtney (Eric) Whipple, who now lives in Warrensburg, Maryland, where her husband serves in the Air Force. She is a nurse specializing in baby deliveries, and at times has taught nursing school classes on her specialty. They have one son, Owen, age 3.

Younger daughter is Olivia, who picked up some of her dad’s traits and serves as a wildlife technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

She and husband Andrew, an award-winning police officer, live in Lancaster, Ohio, and have one son, Grayson, who will be 1 year old in September. Andrew, Staman said, previously worked for the CIA but left so he could live in Ohio.

Like her dad, Olivia is a trapper, and was once recognized by a trapper’s magazine putting her picture on the cover for trapping 500 raccoons in 10 days, her dad said.