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The Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association is committed to being your best source for information and advice about the sustainable management of the Acadian Forest. We do not offer silviculture or harvesting services; our interest is only in the protection and enhancement of the native forest ecosystems of Nova Scotia.

Forest management is a complex activity. Current forest conditions, markets, soils, an owner’s personal goals, tax planning and many other factors influence which management activities should be considered in any stand of trees. Thankfully, there are many opportunities to learn more about forest management and to connect with landowners and forest professional who can offer good advice.

Information about programs and events offered by NSWOOA, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, and other organizations that support woodland owners, can be found here.

Woodlot Conferences Coming Soon!

Every spring for the last 12 years, as the snow is melting and we're all becoming impatient for spring, woodlot owners from around the province have gathered at one of three regional Woodland Conferences.

The meetings are planned by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, the Association for Sustainable Forestry, and other woodland-related organizations and individuals in each region, with sponsorship from local businesses. Each conference is a full day, with expert speakers on a wide range of topics sure to interest a diverse group of landowners. Whether you are a veteran woodlot owner or just bought land in 2014, the day holds something for you.

The first conference is coming up fast! This year, the Western Region Woodland Conference will be held at the Saulnierville Legion, 9938 Highway 1, Digby County, on Saturday, 7 March.

Topics on the agenda include the new provincial Forest Policy; what a service area for private woodlots could look like in the Western region; climate change; soils of the Acadian Forest; woodlot flora; woodland stream crossing regulations; silviculture and road funding opportunities; local markets for wood; the new Medway Community Forest; and results from the first year of the Woodlot Mentorship Program. You'll also hear the views of 2014's Woodlot Owner of the Year, who is from the region.

It's a full agenda, but there's always time to network with friends new and old, and to check out some of the great displays and demos, both indoors and out. If that's not enough to justify the $25 registration fee ($15 for students), a hearty roast turkey dinner is included, along with a chance to win a new chainsaw, along with other prizes for those who pre-register.

Two other regional meetings will be held in the coming weeks. The Central Region Woodland Conference is at St. Andrews United Church, 55 King St., Truro, on Saturday, March 28.

The Eastern Woodland Conference will be held at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Center, 606 Reeves St., Port Hawkesbury, on Saturday, April 18. 

Advance registration is appreciated for all of the conferences! If you're interested in attending, call toll free 1-855-624-6670 or register online at www.woodlotinfoshop.ca.

New date!  Woodland Owner Mentorship Program Field Day

The next Woodland Owner Mentorship Program field day is planned for Saturday, March 7, at Pat and Janet O'Toole's farm in Carrolls Corner, Halifax County. The event was planned by the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, which is one of our partners in the program, along with Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.

The 2012 provincial Woodlot Owners of the Year, Pat and Janet practice a variety of selection management techniques on their CSA-certified woodlot. The couple harvests and sells spruce and hemlock sawlogs to local mills, and harvests firewood for their own use.

They also manage 1,200 taps in their red-maple syrup operation. With luck, we'll catch the beginning of the sap run and participants will be able to sample Pat and Janet's red maple syrup, which is darker (and some people say more flavourful) than syrup from sugar maples.

The mentorship program is meant for owners of small woodlands who have an interest in increasing their skills and knowledge. It creates opportunities for forest landowners to learn from each other, provides places for experienced woodlot owners to share their knowledge, and reinforces information provided in the Department of Natural Resource's Woodlot Management Home Study Program.

Information about the home study program can be found at woodlot.novascotia.ca. Ideally, participants will complete one or more modules before traveling to a mentor's woodlot to see and talk about real-world examples of the information that was covered.

The weather is always unpredictable at this time of year, so the date for the O'Tooles' field day is subject to change. The field day starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. Lunch is included. Space is limited and advance registration is required.

Contact Wanda Hamilton at 902-639-2935 or wanda@forestalliance.com to reserve your place and confirm details about the event.

Tours of Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest

Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest highlights 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.

Woodlot owners, elementary and high school groups, university students and researchers, and other groups are invited to visit Otter Ponds to see an outstanding example of working forestland. Contact Andy Kekacs, project manager, at 902-817-4763 or andy.nswooa@gmail.com

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