Natural Resources 2010 Woodlot Owner of the Year

October 2, 2010. North Lochaber, Antigonish County -
Provincial WOYA Winner Field Day and Presentation

 

2010 WOYA WinnersAfter speaking with Jim Webber for only moments it is evident that he has an extensive knowledge of every corner of his property in North Lochaber, Antigonish. This intimate knowledge of his property has allowed Jim to establish a productive and sustainably managed woodlot. It should come as no surprise that Jim Webber and his family, wife Donna and two daughters Susan and Jennifer, are the recipients of this years Provincial Woodlot Owner of the Year Award.

Jim’s property totals 77 hectares (190 ac.) with 14.5 hectares (36 ac.) in blueberry fields, 4 hectares (10 ac.) of grassland and the remainder in woodlot, including a Christmas tree farm. What is now a thriving and well planned woodlot was not always so; in 1981 when Jim purchased the property there was pest damage and disease, a house in need of major repairs, and certainly no blueberries or Christmas trees to speak of. It took a great deal of patience and hard work on the part of Jim and Donna, who managed to get their property in order while raising two young girls who were just beginning school.

Jim developed a clear vision for his property early on, and the original management plan for the property, completed in 1984, has been followed almost to the letter. In keeping with contemporary forest practices an updated management plan was completed within the past few months, which follows the “Principles and Criteria” of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Maritimes Standard. Both management plans were done by local contractor Scott and Stewart Forestry Consultants Ltd., and the most recent plan was completed through the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fiber Producers Association. Jim’s thorough management also includes plans written through the Federation of Agriculture, including an Environmental Assessment Plan in 2004 and Nutrient Management Plan in 2009.

Most of the woodlot has been harvested, with the exception of two small stands. After purchasing the land, harvesting was required in stands riddled with pests and disease, which have been replanted with Black and White Spruce. Jim's management philosophy dictates that he cuts only those areas which are unproductive, to be replaced by species of higher value. Only small areas have been cut at any given time, allowing for the growth of uneven aged stands and maintenance of wildlife cover. In this regard Jim was a leader in recognizing the need for sustainable practices, such as uneven-aged management.

The Webbers’ have successfully generated income through their property, which contributed to tuition for both Jennifer and Susan, who studied at St. Francis Xavier University, and allowed Jim to take advantage of the opportunity for early retirement. Jim served the Federal Government for 30 years before “retiring” 12 years ago to grow Christmas trees. He is an active member in the Christmas tree industry, serving in the past as president for both the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia and The North Eastern Christmas Tree Association. For the past few years Jim has focused on working his own Christmas tree and blueberry farm. The Webbers’ woodlot has provided the family with many other benefits. They enjoy walking, snowshoeing and skiing on their land, among other activities. The farm also allowed the Webber daughters to explore their personal interests in the land, and both participated in the 4H program. Perhaps most importantly it has provided them with the lifestyle they desire.

Field Day: October 2, 2010. North Lochaber, Antigonish County.
Directions: From Hwy 104, take Exit 32 (near St. F. X. University)
- Turn south on route 7 towards Sherbrooke Village.
- Travel 20 km to civic number 1850.


Central WinnersWhen George Post decided to emigrate from the United States he certainly chose to settle in an area of huge potential. Years of hard work and determination have allowed George to turn his vision of a sustainable woodlot into reality. This year’s Central Region Woodlot Owner of the Year Award is presented to George Post, Deborah Elice, Jordon Post and Megan Post.

At the age of 20 George, a resident of New York, took a road trip to Canada, exposing him to its beautiful natural landscapes. It was the end of the sixties, when North America was in the midst of a “back-to-the-land movement”. In 1971 he and his wife, along with two high-school comrades, decided to return to Canada. They headed to Nova Scotia in pursuit of land to purchase, and after searching door-to-door, they found a woodlot to purchase. George has continued acquiring neighbouring land over the years and today the Post Forest Farm is an impressive 263+ hectares (650 ac.) in West River Station, Pictou County. George, who continues to work as a silviculture contractor, is a member of both the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia and Silviculture Contractors Association.

George’s main goal is to enjoy his land, and to have it provide economic benefits in the process. What was originally an undeveloped woodlot, with no roads or buildings, has been developed into a property with multiple values. It is now the setting for his idyllic family home, greenhouse and workshop. Post Forest Farm has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and specializes in organic Christmas trees, greens and firewood. As a proponent of multiple-use management Post Forest Farm also produced maple sugar for 25 years. Another impressive feature of the woodlot is the 101 hectares (250 ac.) of hardwood forest that it boasts, much of which has been managed using Category 7 Crop Tree Release.

George has also demonstrated leadership in sustainable living with the installation of a windmill that supplies about one third of his electricity needs. Post Forest Farm is an excellent example of sustainable forest management, and we commend the Post family for their contribution to the stewardship of natural resources.

Field Day: September 18, 2010. West River Station, Pictou County.
Directions: From Hwy 104, take Exit20 - turn south towards Pleasant Valley, Union Centre - toward Hwy289
- Drive 8.3km to Montreal Rd - turn right
- Drive 7.7 km to Gower Rd - turn left
- Drive 1km to Post Family property - 101 Gower Rd
GPS coordinates: 0510576, 5032498

 


Western WOYA WinnersListening to David Thomas as he shows his woodlot is like experiencing a living history of the forests of western Nova Scotia. With ties to the land extending back to the mid 1800s David’s deep connection to his woodlot is evident. We would like to congratulate David and Sheila Thomas, this year’s recipients of the Western Region Woodlot Owner of the Year Award.

David and Sheila own a 192 hectare (475 ac.) woodlot in North Range, Digby County. Their woodlot is dominated by beautiful, healthy red spruce. David’s careful selection of trees to harvest has increased the vigor of the forest, and resulted in almost no signs of the insect pests that often wreak havoc on woodlots across the province. Harvested trees are used as saw-logs or for pulp. The woodlot also includes about 4 hectares (10 ac.) of Christmas trees and a maple sugar bush. The woodlot is a refuge for wildlife, and includes 18 hectares (45 ac.) of bogs and wetlands.

In the past David opened and operated a sawmill with partner Harold Alexander under the name North Range Forest Products. Located only a few minutes away from his woodlot. David continues to benefit from use of the mill, where his son Brian has now taken his place.

The Thomas family has lived on the land since the 1830’s, allowing David to present rare insight into the history of the property. The woodlot was inherited by David and Sheila from David’s parents, Alan and Phyllis Thomas, making them the 6th generation on the land. David has been formally managing the woodlot since 1978. The Thomas’ sustainable management practices have passed the test of time, and their main goal for the land is to maintain healthy forests with natural regeneration. A range of different treatments and techniques have been used in the course of the woodlots history, and David is now able to show the long term results of these different practices.

Field Day: September 25, 2010. North Range, Digby County.
Directions:
Parking is at the Digby East Fish and Game :
From Annapolis Valley: From Hwy 101, take Exit 26 travel south on Acacia Valley Road for 1.8 km. Turn right onto Ridge Road and travel 9.1 km to the Digby East Fish and Game where you will be bussed to the woodlot.
From Yarmouth: At Barton, take North Range Crossroad south for 4.4 km. Turn left onto Ridge Road and travel 2.4 km to the Digby East Fish and Game where you will be bussed to the woodlot.