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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.

2015 NSWOOA Annual General Meeting

This year's annual general meeting of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association will be held Saturday, 25 April, at the Masonic Hall in Great Village, NS.

As always, the agenda is packed with interesting and useful presentations for small woodlot owners. Among the speakers:

President Will Martin will talk about the NSWOOA's Forestry Summit and our proposal for an 18-month "Forestry Lab" that will identify major problems facing the sector and explore possible solutions.

Executive Director Andy Kekacs will summarize the association's accomplishments during the past year, when we reached out to more forest landowners in more ways than ever.

Amanda Lavers of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute will discuss endangered and threatened species in Nova Scotia, and what woodlot owners can do to help.

Greg Watson of North Nova Forest Owners Co-operative will track the financial challenges and rewards of owning and managing a woodlot over the long term.

Craig Tupper of Athol Forestry Co-operative will talk about the essential elements of a harvesting contract that protects the interests of landowners and loggers.

The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Registration will start at 8:30 a.m., and the meeting begins at 9. The business portion of the meeting will wrap up by 3:30 p.m. Coffee and snacks will be available all day, and lunch will be provided. Please call ahead for gluten-free and vegetarian options. If you're ready to reserve a seat, please contact Andy Kekacs toll-free at 1-855-NS-WOODS or andy.nswooa@gmail.com.

Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest AGM has been POSTPONED

The Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest AGM has been postponed due to poor weather conditions. The meeting will now be held on Friday, April 10th, 2015 at the Mooseland Community Centre on Mooseland Road from 6-8pm

Come join us to learn more about what we have accomplished over the past year and what our plans are for the future. Everyone is welcome and the event is free of charge.

For more information, call Andy Kekacs toll free at 1-855-NS-WOODS or write to andy.nswooa@gmail.com.

Friends of Redtail Society AGM has been POSTPONED

The Friends of Redtail Society AGM was postponed due to severe weather. It will now be held on Saturday, March 28th, 2015 at the Gammon Centre (4136 Scotsburn Road, next to the post office) in Scotsburn, Pictou County.

The meeting will begin at 1 pm and the keynote speaker will be Wade Prest presenting “The Otter Ponds Story,” a discussion of how the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest was created, what has been achieved so far, and what is planned for the future.

All are welcome to attend.

Central and Eastern Woodland Conferences Coming Up 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 first of these conferences was held on March 7th in Saulnierville, NS.

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 Central Region Woodland Conference is coming up next, and will be held on Saturday, March 28th at St. Andrew's United Church, 55 King St., Truro, NS. See the poster for the event here.

The agenda includes presentations on the new Forest Policy, woodland owner taxation planning, financial support for woodlot owners, how conservation officers can help landowners, wood markets, and many other topics.

Registration is $25 ($15 for students) and includes lunch and a chance to win a chainsaw or many other valuable door prizes.

One other regional meeting will be held in the coming weeks. 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, text 902-240-7925, or email: woodland.conference@gmail.com to register.

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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