Natural Resources 2018 Woodland Owner of the Year

  View pictures of the 2018 winners  

Provincial & Western Winner – Kevin Veinotte and FamilyCongratulations to Kevin Veinotte and his family for winning both the Provincial and Western regional awards. Located in Lunenburg County, Kevin Veinotte and his family operate “Out to Pasture Farm,” which integrates their farm, woodlot, a Christmas tree U-Pick and the recent addition of a poultry processing facility. The livestock on the farm includes Belted Galloway cattle, sheep, chickens and ducks, which the family breeds and raises to sell at local farmers’ markets.

Kevin and his family previously won the provincial and regional awards in 2007. Since then they have taken on new initiatives including developing a carbon management plan.

The Veinotte’s woodlot is an authentic and spectacular working farm and forest. Kevin and his family work hard to maintain a sustainable natural habitat for present and future generations.

Kevin is known as a pillar in the community. He is a mentor, an employer and an educator.

The Veinotte’s 400-acre (160 ha) woodlot provides year-round employment. Work on their land includes activities like silviculture, harvesting, road improvements, boundary line maintenance, and Christmas tree management. Their Christmas tree U-Pick occurs during the five weekends leading up to Christmas and horse rides, hot chocolate and cookies are offered around a campfire.

Kevin and his family have applied various silviculture treatments on their woodlot including appropriate selection harvest methods, commercial thinning, pre-commercial thinning, crop tree release and some crop tree pruning. They have a wide range of certificate management under their belts and they are currently venturing into an exciting new forest carbon management plan.

Central Winners: Snell Family

Jaime Snell owns and operates “The Snell family woodlot” in Wentworth Valley. This woodlot has been passed on from generation to generation and could enter its fourth generation of Snell ownership in the future.

As described by Jaime, “the family’s love for the woods and nature has been a real Canadian love story”.

Jaime’s father wrote a letter to his family describing how he valued the property and what the woodlot means to the family. It reads: “I have always loved forestlands and I hope, with walking and talking about trees, brooks, trout, birds, animals, flowers, bees, ferns and even fiddleheads, which I found this year, that you both will carry on the tradition of the managed forest after I am gone.”- Jaime Snell Sr.

In 1966, Jaime’s grandfather purchased 95 acres of land to start a timber company. Currently the woodlot is about 500 acres (202 ha) and is known for its exotic trees. Jaime’s grandfather’s full scale planting took place between 1975-1996, where he planted a variety of non-native tree species ranging from Norway spruce to Redwoods. He experimented with non-indigenous trees such as Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, Austrian pine and Redwood. Mr. Snell had each exotic seedling flown in from British Columbia. Out of all the non-indigenous trees that were planted, the Redwoods were the only type that did not survive, the other tree species are flourishing.

Eastern Winners: Ruthe Macaulay and Bill Oprel

During 2011, Ruthe and Bill purchased land in the small community of Glencoe Mills near Whycocomagh. Prior to purchasing the property, the woodlot was in poor condition.

Since then, both Ruthe and Bill have been working tirelessly on the 330 acres (134 ha) property; however, they thoroughly enjoy the work.

Initially when they bought the property, the couple had no goal/objective as indicated by Ruthe: “We were naïve, and we just wanted a trail to ski on.” That soon changed once they came across the many useful resources and tools offered by the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, including the Home Study Program, which they continuously refer to for guidance.

Their perspective on the forest is unique and worth noting. Ruthe and Bill see the forest as their teacher, and they are continuing to learn from it in new ways every day. Through the experience and knowledge gained from their time in the forest Ruthe and Bill have put a new focus on conscience stewardship. With the various activities implemented, such as pre-commercial thinning, the woodlot has seen a drastic change for the better. The biodiversity of the property is thriving and will continue to do so under their watch.

The woodlot has a mixture of tree species, including Red maple, White birch and White pine. There is also an area of old growth forest. Both Ruthe and Bill have noticed several trails of different wildlife such as moose, bear, coyote, nesting Red Tailed Hawk and rabbits. The increase in biodiversity serves as a testimony to the caring and productive management of this keen couple.