NSWOOA Update Newsletter 53

NSWOOA Update Newsletter 53
May 12, 2012


In this Issue:

Hello Woodlot Owners: Engagement
Promotional Opportunity
Crown Land First
Deanery Project Report
Awards at the AGM
Officers Named
How to Contact Us

 Hello Woodlot Owners! Rules of Engagement
There we all were, sitting at tables and facing the front of the room, where Wade Prest was moderating the membership discussion portion of the AGM.  It was April 14, 2012. On many of the tables there were copies of a “rant” by Tom Miller, which suggested that the NSWOOA withdraw from or decide not to participate in collaborative initiatives or time-wasting meetings.  It was his experience and belief that such activities can drain energy and resources from our organization and result in very little accomplished in the forest.

As an example, he mentioned being called twice to Halifax to attend meetings with the authors of the Woodridge Report, which the NSWOOA and other groups (which hope to see the Bancroft/Crossland report adopted as the basis of our new forest management regime) have already discredited. Besides not getting any work done in his woodland those days, Tom said, the meetings did not provide an opportunity to point out the errors and suppositions of the Woodridge report. Or even get an explanation of the issues.  Indeed, a cynic might have suggested that the only thing the meeting did do was allow DNR and Woodridge to claim - at least at some level - that there had been “consultation” with various forest interests.

Better, Tom suggested in defending his rant, to go and do good work and lead by example than to entangle ourselves in processes that would or could be hijacked by other interests with vastly different agendas.

For those involved in the ongoing day-to-day activities of the Association, this was not a new dilemma.  A few years ago now, Wade Prest led us out of process to create a coalition of forest interests when it became clear that process permitted industrial interests to put forward their ideas and agendas but did not provide any meaningful way try to meet the needs of private woodlot owners.  Recently the NSWOOA was invited to participate in another collaborative effort to develop regional certification, and one director did attend the initial meeting.  When the thrust of the process was discussed at the Board level, it was determined that such a process would lead to outcomes that the association did not support.  We are thus not involved in that process.

No organization exists in isolation, of course, and the NSWOOA does participate in various events and with various groups and organizations.  Indeed, our By-Laws specify that we co-operate with like-minded organizations.  The recent success of creating the Otter Ponds Demonstration Woodlot involves close participation with three other “like-minded groups.” Also of note, the NSWOOA participated with DNR in hosting the field day event in Earltown in 2005 when, ironically enough, the same Tom Miller (and Lori Miller) were celebrated as Woodlot Owners of the Year.

Yes, it is true that participating in projects with other groups can drain our resources.

Yes, it is true that such participation can been construed as condoning a collaborative process or even the results when in fact we were opposed to the eventual outcomes.

Yes, it is true that sometimes woodlot owners are at odds with the agendas of others who have no desire to accommodate us.

Nonetheless, there was a strong resistance among much of the membership involved in the discussion that day, to withdrawing representation from all meetings or initiatives organized by other groups or organization.  Several voices from the floor suggested that by participating at some level we would have a better feel for what was going on and at least some chance to sway things in our favour.
Many of the same voices supported the suggestion that we make our difference by the work we do.  How we treat the land can set an example, a standard, for others to follow.  Lead by doing.  Change the practices of others by having higher standards for ourselves.

By the end of the discussion five members had volunteered to represent the Association at meetings or to events.

Summing up the results of the discussion, moderator Wade Prest expressed the idea that we had to find the right balance, and encouraged members to express their opinions on where the Board should participate and where is should perhaps withdraw and do some of its own work.

Promotional Opportunity for Nova Scotia
Forestry Contractors and Woodlot Owners

You are invited to take part in an exciting new project for foresters and woodlot owners in Nova Scotia. An online Forest Service Directory has been developed in hopes that it will act as a tool to strengthen private forestry in the province in these uncertain times. The directory will be a place for contractors to advertise their services at no cost, and for woodlot owners to search and compare contractors in their area providing the services they need. The goal is to create an active community of people providing, requiring, and interested in private forestry work in Nova Scotia. This project was undertaken by the Nova Forest Alliance in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources.

What is it?

The directory is an interactive online database that can be searched and utilized at no cost by anyone with access to the internet. The purpose in creating this is to provide Nova Scotia forestry contractors and woodlots owners with a tool to match private silvicultural jobs with people able to do those jobs, based on location and services required. With this in mind, the directory is organized into two different kinds of profiles: forest service providers (contractors) and woodlot owners.

Contractors interested in being included in the directory can create a forest service provider profile for themselves or their company, which will include information about the services they offer (both manual and mechanical), the counties they are available to work in, the size of jobs they can complete, and how to contact them. They will also have the opportunity to post pictures of their operations in personal photo galleries, and give a description of their business. This description can include company ideals, history, special acknowledgements, or any other information that may make their services unique and/or desirable to woodlot owners.

These contractor profiles can then be browsed by woodlot owners, or any interested member of the public, to see who is working in their area. The database can be explored by either doing a keyword search for a specific contractor, service, or location, or by using the browse function. Using browse, you must first select the service you require on your land, which will display contractors offering that service, listed by their home county. You can view them all or select by county. Clicking on the contractor will take you to their profile where you can view all their relevant information and decide which to contact.

The second kind of profile, woodlot owners, is for those needing work done on their woodlots. Their profiles will include the services they require and the location and size of the job. When a woodlot owner creates an account, this enables the system to check the database for possible contractor matches and provide this information directly to the woodlot owner, allowing for a more efficient search. Think of it as like a ‘dating service’ for the private forest industry, matching contractors up with forestry jobs.

Aside from the online component of this directory, hard copies will be available for those without internet access, and as a form of advertisement for the project.

Why should I create an account?

If you are a forestry contractor, this directory acts as free advertising for your business and gives you the opportunity to include most anything you wish about how you run your company and what you offer, including: what kinds of services you provide, a photo gallery, certifications and awards, and anything else you feel will help woodlot owners understand your ideals and convictions.

If you are a woodlot owner, creating an account allows the system to easily do the searching for you and provide you with matches based on the information you provide. Your name will never be made public and you will not be contacted by any contractors if you prefer not to be.
We hope that you will find this directory to be a useful and easily accessible tool, for contractors and private woodlot owners alike.

Please go to http://fsdb.ca/ to get started!

If you have any questions about the site please contact Christie Verstraten at christie.verstraten@dal.ca, or the NFA by email at info@novaforestalliance.com or by
phone at (902) 639-2921.

Natural Resources Strategy:
Crown land first, Private land later?

By Patricia Amero
Picea Forestry Consulting

We have found that any talk around developing and implementing legislated policy on the 50% reduction of clearcutting and an ecosystem-based approach to forest management, if this does occur as part of the Natural Resources Strategy, will be enacted on Crown Land first and will only be recommended on private land. So if such legislated policy does happen how long will it take for it to be actually enacted on private land? And what does this mean?

I’m sure we all remember when the Watercourse Protection and Wildlife Habitat regulations were first enacted on Crown land in 1991, and how it took 10 years to enact on private land in 2001. We recall from that time that many private woodland owners were encouraged to harvest the forested riparian areas along rivers and lakes, amongst other watercourses, before the legislation was in effect on private land. Now lately with the “talk” of developing and implementing a reduction goal of clearcutting to 50% and using an ecosystem based approach to forest management we have certainly begun to see and will continue to witness increasing levels of harvesting by clearcut method on private land until (and if) any such legislated is enacted on private land.

I strongly think that because this is so complex and holistic in nature it will take much longer to enact when compared to when the Watercourse and Wildlife Habitat Regulations became into effect on  private land.  In our discussions with various woodlot owners, contractors and some other stakeholders we are uncertain if the public is aware of this. If this part of the the Natural Resources Strategy is enacted for Crown land first, the result may well be increased pressure to clearcut on private lands.

Spring Update from the Deanery Project

by Richard Bell
Eastern Shore Forest Watch

The Deanery Project, in Lower Ship Harbour, was the place to be this spring for people who wanted to learn more about working with and living in our province’s wonderful forests. The well-attended series of forest workshops included sessions on forest ecology, working with your woodlot in the wintertime, making use of the many valuable non-timber products in the woods, and hands-on learning on how to build low-impact trails. The series came about through partnerships with the Department of Natural Resources and the Eastern Shore Forest Watch.

The culmination of these workshops was the first annual “Spring Forest Festival.” There were sessions on yurt building, coppicing, making greenwood furniture, cultivating mushrooms, and lots of “eco-art” activities for kids. The outdoor wood-fired pizza oven once again provided some of the best pizza on the shore, and for music lovers, there were hours of jaming on songs old and new. Guests who wanted a look around the many acres of woodlands took advantage of more than a kilometer of new interpretive trails.

In keeping with its educational mission, The Deanery Project hosted 45 students from Grades 3 and 4 from the Oyster Pond Academy for a two-day program introducing them to the Acadian forest eco-system. The first day took place at the school. Then students, staff, and 10 volunteers came out for a hands-on interactive field trip at The Deanery Project.

As summer approaches, the programming schedule is filling up. A series of natural building workshops about straw bale and earth construction, permaculture, and sustainable food production begin in May with the construction of an on-site root cellar, a solar wood kiln and community gardens. Classes in seasonal food preparation, foraging, and instruction on healthy living, including yoga, Chi gong, biking, hiking, and maybe even circus arts are also in the works.

The Deanery Project continues to develop activities growing out of partnerships with organizations like Clean Nova Scotia, the Ecology Action Centre, Nova Scotia Sea School, Y.W.C.A. and HRM Recreation. Also under consideration is a relationship with the Transition Towns movement, a world-wide network of community-based groups dedicated to building a more sustainable world. (www.transitionbay.ca)

Deanery Project members continue to work away on renovations to make buildings on the property more energy efficient, functional and inspiring. Donations of dollars, tools, materials and/or labour towards these improvements are much appreciated. A wish list is posted on our web site www.thedeaneryproject.com. We are especially interested in wood working and gardening tools of all kinds for skill building with our young people. If you are clearing out a tool shed or barn this season please think of us.
The Deanery Project is a non-profit cooperative which welcomes new members. For information on how to get involved or to find out about programs and rentals please email: thedeaneryproject@gmail. Check out also our Facebook page (“The Deanery Project”) and our web site www.thedeaneryproject.com

NSWOOA Awards Presented at AGM

Wade Prest presented a plaque to Mrs. Richard Lord and her son, Ken Lord, honouring the contributions of Mr. Richard Lord to the cause of the NSWOOA and woodlot owners generally. Lord was a founder of the Association and became its manager and also the Executive Secretary
before leaving the Association to develop his own Christmas tree business.  Ken Lord spoke for the family thanking the NSWOOA for this recognition and Wade for his history lesson.  He left us with one of his father’s favourite observations, a definition of civilization: “When old men plant trees under which they will never sit.”

Gary Schneider of the McPhail Woodlot in PEI was presented the Friend of the Acadian Forest Award, a plaque, for his work restoring the Acadian forest on the Island.  Patricia Amero, presenting the award, mentioned that Schneider was a role model for woodlot owners, and also noted that the Province has just entrusted to his care the first piece of Crown land in Eastern Canada to be managed as FSC certified, that being under the Forest Keepers program  with Picea Forestry.

In accepting the award, Schneider thanked the Association, saying he appreciated the opportunity to feed off the enthusiasm of Association members.

Also acknowledged for his contributions to the Association was Ken Macrury, retiring director.  In presenting the award, Christie Verstraten mentioned his participation on the Forest Technical Advisory board and his expertise dealing with bureaucracies.

Officers Named

The By-Laws of the NSWOOA require that the officers of the organization be elected yearly by the Board of Directors at the Board meeting following the AGM.   This Year’s officers are:

President Marc Chisholm
Vice President Wade Prest
Secretary (recording) Paul Brison
Treasurer Tony Phillips
President CWSD Lorne Burrows

Also named was the Executive, which consists of:

Marc Chisholm (President)
Lorne Burrows (Past President)
Jamie Simpson
Matt Miller
Wade Prest (V.P.)

Lines of Communication

Members are encouraged to contact the Board of Directors, the Executive and other members through our email address (nswooa@gmail.com) or by phone (902-633-2108). Please feel free to use these methods to keep us informed of what is going on in your woodlot or in your community or area. We try to keep you informed through these updates, newsletters and mail outs, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, the Annual General Meeting, and the website: http://www.nswooa.ca