Operated as a division of NSWOOA, the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest (OPDF) is a place for all Nova Scotians to learn about forest ecology and the sustainable management of our native Acadian Forest. OPDF is a living laboratory that shows how timber production can be compatible with the protection of the full range of other forest values and services. It provides opportunities for woodlot owners, elementary and high school groups, university students and researchers, non-profit organizations, and individuals to visit an outstanding example of working forestland.

Otter Ponds demonstrates the philosophy, science, and practice of uneven-aged management in the Acadian Forest. It produces timber for market using the best forest practices presently known, while protecting wildlife habitat and the Tangier River watershed, respecting the ecosystem services provided by the parcel, and enhancing the social and cultural value of the forest.

Management practices are certified to the Forest Stewardship Council’s Maritime Standard. OPDF is managed by a unique partnership that includes four non-governmental organizations, a forestry company and the province. The partners jointly manage a 500-hectare (1,200-acre) Crown parcel near Mooseland, within the Halifax Regional Municipality.

School groups, woodlot owners, and individuals or organizations that are interested in sustainable forest management are invited to visit Otter Ponds. For more information, contact Andy Kekacs, the project manager, at 1-855-NS-WOODS or andy.nswooa@gmail.com. 

If you want to support the continued development of the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest as a nationally significant example of sustainable forest management, you are invited to join NSWOOA as an associate member. For a $35 annual membership fee, you’ll become a voting member of the division. More importantly, you’ll be supporting some of the best forestry practiced in Canada. An application can be found here.

Otter Ponds Bird Count- Saturday, June 4th, 2016

The Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest will be hosting a bird count on Saturday, June 4th, 2016. The site is located roughly an hour and a half from Halifax, in the community of Mooseland, in the interior of the Eastern Shore.


Due to a low response rate and logistical issues, the public field day portion of the Otter Ponds Bird Day will be postponed and instead included in our fall Public Field Day on Saturday, September 17th, 2016.

There will still be an early morning bird count for interested birders on June 4th, 2016 beginning at 6:00am with options for later start times. Participants will meet at the Mooseland Community Centre (4032 Mooseland Rd.) and be taken to the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest by their guide. This event should wrap-up around 10:00am.

Our goal for this public event is to collect data on the bird species present at OPDF. Please bring along field guides, binoculars, sturdy waterproof footwear, snacks, water, and insect repellent. We intend to focus on 4 areas of interest: hardwood drumlins, softwood lowlands, wetlands, and a core area of old forest that hasn't been harvested since the late 1800s.

If you are interested in taking part in the early morning bird count, please email Christie at earthscapeff@gmail.com to register and for more information about the bird count and nearby overnight accommodations.

Pre-registration is required for this event.

Acadian Forest Trail to be Built with Mountain Equipment Co-op Grant

Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest has been awarded a grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op's Community Investment Fund to develop the "Otter Ponds Acadian Forest Trail."

This grant will allow us to hire a trail consultant to create a detailed plan for the Acadian Forest Trail by spring 2016, as well as provide training to teach volunteers how to build it. We hope to complete the trail network by spring 2017. After a call for proposals, the trail consultant contract has been awarded to Community Forests Canada, based in Sackville, NB. We look forward to working with them on this project.

The trail network will connect the many habitats and forest types of Otter Ponds, and showcase the sustainable forestry practices of the project. The construction of these trails will greatly enhance the educational opportunities we have at Otter Ponds and allow access to some areas of the project lands that are currently difficult to reach.

We believe the nearly 10 km trail will be a recreational and educational resource for Nova Scotia, and look forward to being able to offer Nova Scotians the opportunity to experience the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest like never before.

We are most grateful to MEC for their confidence and sponsorship!


Mike Cogdon, manager of the Halifax MEC store presents the first installment of the grant money to Christie Verstraten and Dan Hutt of OPDF, Jan. 6, 2016 (photo credit Jon Eliott, MEC)



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