Robert and Ingrid Sonnenberg, 2010 North Central Region Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year presented by STIHL, Inc. The Sonnenberg's own a 214-acre Tree Farm in New York Mills, Minnesota.
Robert Sonnenberg grew up on the Tree Farm he now currently owns. In 1996, Sonnenberg sought professional forestry help in managing the less productive forestlands. A Forest Stewardship plan was created and the Sonnenbergs have been managing the woodlands ever since. In 2002, their forest was recognized as a Certified Tree Farm.
Since 1998, Sonnenberg has planted more than 80,000 trees on 100 acres of his land. He is currently working with the University of Minnesota on hybrid aspen clones.
Sonnenberg has restored a 45-acre wetland and given the numerous geese, ducks, and pheasants a new nesting ground. Along with other wildlife efforts the Sonnenberg’s oversee all of the work done in their Tree Farm. "Sonnenberg has a passion to understand and the will to implement good forestry practices," David Johnson, the forester who nominated the Sonnenbergs, said. "He has made his land into the best example of forestry and agriculture."
The Sonnenbergs are host to numerous educational opportunities such as the woodland advisor training, gryro track wood mulcher demonstrations, and field days including the 2009 Minnesota Foresty Association’s Forestry Field Day and the annual field day for the Regional Cultural Center on Forest Sustainability.
Robert Sonnenberg is involved in many forestry organizations such as serving on the board of directors of the Minnesota Forestry Association; he is the chair of the Minnesota Forest Resource Partnership, and also serves on the Minnesota State Stewardship Committee.
The Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year awards are sponsored by Stihl, Inc. the world's leading chain saw manufacturer and a variety of handheld outdoor power equipment.