CNY Announces Carl Stearns as Winner of the 2017 CNY Chapter Service Award


Dan Zimmerman presenting Carl with his award

Carl can’t remember when he joined NYFOA, but he has been a member for many years with indispensable help and support from his wife of 50 years, Susan B. Stearns. His family, starting with his father, has taken timber to the sawmill for use on the farm and made maple syrup since the 1950s.They are working with their fifth DEC forester.

For some years, Stearns Farm near Erieville (southeast of Cazenovia) put on a NYFOA breakfast in the 1967 sap house, which isn’t big enough for that use.The weather seemed to cooperate, however, so that at least one of the two picnic tables could be outside.Sometimes the sap and the evaporator were running, sometimes not.The breakfast meant that it could still be a worthy event, including a walk up into the sugar bush to see the tubing system and the maturing grove of maples.Ever since Donald Stearns (Carl Stearns’ father) died in 1989, Carl’s been making syrup, with the help of three friends, some longer than others, including John Piston, Jamie Christensen and Dan Jackson. They made the breakfasts and the NYFOA open house events possible and now Donald Bigelow also helped with this year’s event in March.

It seems that Carl is or at least should be known in the Central Chapter for his interest in the historic uses of wood, as an almost retired preservation architect.On at least one woods walk at Stearns Farm he showed the collection of 19th century buildings (he has relocated to save from destruction) with beech, hemlock and elm framing timbers.On another tour of the east forty, including a tributary to the Chittenango creek watershed, the group saw the biggest snapping turtle most folks had ever seen.Another NYFOA event that Carl organized was the saw milltour at Oran Milling, where an elm tree that Carl had grown up with had expired and was sawn up.After that the group toured settlement period barns in the Town of Pompey.

Carl has shared his knowledge of historic uses of hewn and sawn timber with members whenever possible.He has always welcomed NYOA visits to his wood-fired evaporator and sugarbush.

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