MANSFIELD — Scott Young transplanted himself a number of times across the United States as he was searching for a sunny spot to grow and thrive.
His search included a stop in the Dayton area to sell sludge to farmers, a time in Oregon working on a cattle ranch and a couple of visits to New Hampshire to work at a ski lodge and a rafting livery.
His experiences were varied, but every stop along the way put him in touch with the natural environment. Young said that environmental connection was purposeful, explaining his youthful interest in the conservation tactics of author Louis Bromfield at nearby Malabar Farm. Young is a graduate of Malabar High School, named for Bromfield’s farm.
After all of his travels, Young eventually came home to the tree farm his father, Dr. Charles Young, initiated in 1977. Young lives there now and connects with nature by planting and harvesting trees. His 50-acre tree farm is on Mann Road just west of Bellville.
But, his love for trees also extends to volunteer work undertaken by the Mansfield Rotary Club. His experience with trees has helped the club embark on a tree-planting initiative that ties to the club’s international celebration of its 100th year.
Young has been a Rotarian for three years and will serve a term as president beginning in July of next year. The international president of the club suggested each Rotary member anywhere in the world plant a tree to celebrate the big birthday. The Mansfield club got a start on that by planting six trees in Central Park on Arbor Day this year. Two pin oaks were placed on opposite sides of the gazebo, while four flowering plum trees were planted on the south side of the park.
Alta Greenhouse provided the trees. The city has initiated tree planting on the square in preparation for the eventual removal of aging damaged trees.
“We have told the city Shade Tree Commission that we will help plant trees wherever they want them,” Young said, pointing out the club as 78 members. “I consider myself a doer and I want to help by giving back to the community,” the real estate salesman for the Holden Agency said. He added that his string of experiences as a young man built his work ethic as well as his community interest.
After high school, Young was drawn by the romance and outdoor nature of the western U.S. He attended Colorado State University for a year before completing a stint on the Oregon cattle ranch, located not far from the scenic Snake River. He had a family connection to this ranch and had visited there several times as a youth.
After a time, he returned home to manage brood mares for the now-retired Mansfield ophthalmologist, Dr. John Marquardt. He also earned a two-year degree in soil and water conservation from Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster.
“I felt like it was time for me to get a degree and this seemed like the right fit then,” the 57-year-old Young said, adding he took a job soon after that with the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District.
It didn’t take long, however, for him to get focused on a four-year degree. He got that degree in agronomy from Ohio State.
Young’s next job came from the Dayton area where he convinced farmers of the benefits of spreading sewage treatment sludge onto their farm fields. He focused on this project for about ten years, earning a Salesman of the Year award from his company for one of those years.
“You can sell sludge for only so long,” he said, adding his big change involved moving to New Hampshire.
There, he worked at a ski resort and a rafting livery along the Sako river. He ultimately ended this stint in New Hampshire because he got tired of the bitterly cold winters and of managing all of the drunks on the raft trips.
Young did obtain a real estate license while in New Hampshire. He used that training and some experience selling condominiums to get a job with Wells Fargo when he moved to Columbus, in 2008. Then came the national housing crash.
“I needed a job I could count on, so I went back to selling sludge,” Young said.
The big difference, however, was that he returned to New Hampshire to sell sludge created from paper waste. Again, he was involved with land reclamation that, in this instance, created artificial soil. Young said the best part about this return trip to New Hampshire, however, was that he met his eventual wife, Mary.
Young’s father died on Christmas Eve in 2008, so he returned to the family tree farm in 2009. He got his job with the Holden Agency in 2016.
The tree farm was created because soil tests indicated it would not produce good grain harvests. Trees grown on the farm include white pine, tulip poplar, black walnut, and others. He emphasized he has created a forestry management plan, meaning most of his trees are planted for timber production. He added, the farm also contains an orchard with apples, cherries, and plums. Young and his wife live in a log home built by his father on the property in 1990.
Young said he enjoys living in this log structure and being part of efforts to improve the Mansfield area community. He likes the fellowship gained from being a Rotary club member but emphasizes the organization gives him and his colleagues many ways to give back to the community.
Another Mansfield rotary club initiative is regular litter clean-up walks along a three-mile section of Ohio 13 just north of the city corporation limit. Young said he is a regular participant in this clean-up effort.
“Every time I walk this highway, I can’t believe how much trash has accumulated. I wish we could stop this littering,” Young said.
Tom Brennan is the retired editor of the News Journal and chairman of the Mansfield in Bloom steering committee. If you are interested in volunteering to help with projects such as tree planting and litter clean-up, contact the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development at 419-522-3211.