Natural Resources 2009 Woodlot Owner of the Year

2009 Woodlot Owner of the YearCongratulations to Rex Veinot and family of Lunenburg County, the 2009 Provincial and Western Region Winners of the Woodlot Owner of the Year (WOYA). Rex and his family were chosen as regional winners in May 2009 and selected as provincial winners in June.

The Veinot family woodlot, Maplewood Maple Syrup and Christmas Tree Farm, is located in Maplewood, Lunenburg County. Rex says his favourite thing is the smell of maple sugar in the sugar shack, but the 350-acre (142-hectare) woodlot extends well beyond that shack and the home that his great-grandfather also lived in. The woodlot exhibits long-term sound forestry practices, including an emphasis on mixed species and uneven-aged stands management.

It's no surprise that the Veinot family won the provincial Woodlot Owner of the Year Award 13 years ago, that Rex has served as past president of the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers' Association, and that many people have enjoyed wagon tours of his woodlot over the years. This beautiful property includes a large sugar bush and many varieties of Christmas trees, with interspersed apple trees for wildlife. Rex has installed several nest boxes for birds and bats around the woodlot and is hoping to work with local Boy Scouts to install even more boxes. He has also carefully maintained streams, ponds, and riparian areas for habitat, A hundred years ago, a neighbour claimed that a pristine natural spring on the woodlot had healing properties! All the activities on this woodlot contribute not only to the local economy, but also to the export market.

The Veinot family woodlot has been kept healthy through thoughtful management. Rex is a big advocate of management plans, and has been continually updating his since 1978. His vision is to ensure the woodlot is healthy and intact in the future. Rex is the fourth generation to run the woodlot, and is hoping to pass it onto the fifth and sixth generations, continuing the legacy.

Easter WOYA Winner 2009Congratulations are in order for Brian Archibald and family (wife Margaret, sons Donnelly and Daniel, and brother Blair), this year's Woodlot Owner of the Year winners for Eastern Nova Scotia. Brian, a retired school teacher and an avid sports enthusiast, now devotes even more than every hour of daylight after school - on non-coaching days! - and weekends to his woodlot. Such dedication and work ethic really shows, from his sheared Christmas trees to rolling fields of blueberries. This delightful property is located near Aspen, in Guysborough County.

Forestry has played a key role in Brian's family for many generations. He grew up in Denver, Nova Scotia near Archibald's Mill. His father and uncles operated the water-powered sawmill and Brian got his first power saw at the tender age of 12! In 1979, Brian purchased his firstwoodlot, and now has over 500 acres (200 ha) of woodlands. His sons, Donnelly and Daniel, share in the employment, private enjoyment and recreation that are provided by their father's woodlot. The woodlot is bounded by the St. Mary's River's East and North Branches, and traversed by the old Guysborough Railroad and the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. A visit to Brian's woodlot would include sights of mixed-species and uneven-aged stands, hardwood stands, an eagle's nest, a variety of wildlife, and possibly a glimpse of one of the thirty wood turtle nests that were documented on an adjacent property, along the St. Mary's River.

Brian's knowledge, passion, and achievement on his woodlot are recognized through his participation with the Northeastern Christmas Tree Association and the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia. He is also a member of the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association and the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association.

Congratulations to George and Phylis Cook and family, the 2009 Regional Woodlot Owner of Year Award recipients for Central Nova Scotia. Since the 1980s, George has been working tirelessly on his 825-acre (334 ha) woodlot, Maple Ridge Farm, including once planting 70 000 trees! George hails from Urbania, Hants County, where he grew up on a forested homestead. He went on to serve four years as a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot in WWII, then attend Dalhousie Medical School.

The original 600 acres of woodlot were purchased in 1974, and added to two smaller parcels. Despite extensive damage by Hurricane Juan and insect infestation, the Cook family woodlot has a strong history of sustainable forestry management practices and the results are evident. The "Drs Cook" - George, son Steven, and grandson Chris - have used forestry management plans since 1979 and many sound techniques over the years.

As a result of several silviculture treatments, the Cook family woodlot has uneven-aged stands. Where some plantation areas were damaged and harvested, natural regeneration is resulting in a mixed-species succession. Steven has a small portable one-person mill for cutting lumber, but the family also has strong ties to non-timber forest products. There are six acres of low-bush blueberries, Steven's hobby woodworking, and what was once the largest producer of maple sugar products in the area. The Cooks had a 25000-tap sugar bush, but the sugarhouse collapsed under the weight of a Warwick Mountain snowstorm!

Heavy snowfalls in winter are just one example of Mother Nature's presence at Maple Ridge Farm. The charming woodlot also boasts an abundance of wildlife and a cold mountain brook, rumoured to be a great fishing spot. The Cooks have done an excellent job of managing their woodlot, and George's experience is no doubt an asset to the North Colchester Forest Co-op.