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Arboriculturist: a passion for trees
Marc-Olivier Harvey is born near Alma in the Lac St-Jean region, Québec. He completed a bachelor’s degree in geography and land use planning at UQAC. Before opening his own tree nursery, Marc-Olivier worked for 2 years as an environmental planner for the county regional municipality of Maskinongé and 3 years as a forecasting geographer for a private hydrometeorology firm. He has developed a passion for trees and plants, the environment and ecology very early on in his life which led him to tree farming. After moving to the Mauricie region in 2006, he discovers the beauty of southern Québec’s forests and their great potential for growing various species of trees. He also becomes aware that nut trees do grow in these forests and that there is a possibility for other species to be developed.
In 2007, his first walnut and oak trees are grown from seeds. In 2008, Marc-Olivier and his wife plant over 250 nut tree seedlings of various species on a parcel of land located in the south western part of the Mauricie region. This is the first attempt to producing trees that will yield nuts for harvest and eventually become quality lumber material. In 2009, Marc-Olivier becomes a member of the executive counsel of the Club des producteurs de noix comestibles du Québec (Quebec nut growers association) where he can meet and exchange with other passionate individuals like him. The CPNCQ is an organisation that promotes the reforestation of fallow grounds with noble trees such as walnut, hickory and oak. These essences have become rare in Québec and hold a high commercial value for the timber but also because their fruits are edible. Since 2008, Marc-Olivier nursery has been producing nut trees and rare specimens including some varieties from the Carolina forest. His knowledge of northern nut trees is backed with a solid field experience. Finally in 2012, the decision to operate a commercial nursery was only another natural step in the pursuit of his passion. At the end of 2013, he secures 4 hectares of land situated in Maskinongé. The lot is easily accessible and fertile, the ideal location for a growing nursery where tens of thousands of trees of over 60 species can be grown.
Ongoing short term projects and beneficial environmental actions.
Since 2015, the nursery has a small greenhouse for the production of seedling in starting trays and potted trees, which can be later transplanted in the field or kept in pots. In addition, alarger greenhouse will be installed in 2016. This will allow us to produce a greater number of species. A multi purpose building is still in the plan and will serve to host a northern nut tree interpretation and transformation center when hazelnut and walnut harvests have become sustainable. The building will also be used for seeds stratification/layering, storage, staff room, a garage, and equipped with bathrooms etc. The expansion of our nut orchard will take place from 2016 to 2018 and will be situated at the Baluchon Eco Resort, St-Paulin in the Mauricie region. The site already holds over 300 hazelnut trees that will start producing in 2016 and 2017.
At the nursery's main site, an experimental field plot has been launched since 2015 to study climate adaptation and rusticity for certain species of nut trees and ornamental trees. Also another plot will be organized and fully dedicated to grafting on nut trees. Majority of these projects are in progress or will be executed over the next few years. We are planning on increasing our service offer also in the next few years to expand fruit-bearing trees production for people who wish to plant edibles. Already in 2016 we are offering a greater selection of fruit trees.
Environmental actions have also been put in place by installing over 600 meters of shelterbelt and shoreline/riparian strips. These trees will help, when they grow taller, to decrease the effect of the wind and snow blowing which will help protect the seedlings during winter. In addition to being used as windbreaks some of the trees in the hedge will also be used for seeds and offer a natural habitat to local fauna. The nursery plan on installing reservoirs for rain water retention to minimize the use of drinking water supplied by the municipality. The nursery is also part of an agro environmental network of control farms in Mauricie.