The Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year Award (WOYA) recognizes and rewards landowners for outstanding stewardship of their woodlands. It was developed to encourage woodlot owners to practice sustainable woodland management and to increase public awareness of the importance of private woodlands in Nova Scotia and good woodland management.
Woodland owners are evaluated on their effort and commitment to setting and meeting sustainable goals for their land; improving their knowledge or understanding of the forest land or the forest in general; improving the condition of, access to and health of their woodland; using integrated resource management, with an emphasis on wood production; and considering values such as wildlife habitat protection and recreation.
Nova Scotia residents who own between 20 and 2000 hectares (50 and 5,000 acres) of woodland in the province are eligible. Nominations are accepted at Department of Natural Resources and Renewables offices until April 15.
Congratulations to Spence Managed Forest of Ellershouse, West Hants County for winning both the Provincial and Central Region awards.
The Spences are third generation woodland owners of a beautiful and diverse 2000-acre property that has top tier management help from Jim Bremner (a South Central WOYA winner for 1995) and Jason Casey.
Located in Ellershouse, the property is made up of diverse forest type and age classes. From late succession Pine, tolerant hardwood, Hemlock, to young plantations. This well managed and heavily invested property is a showcase for responsible and sustainable management. Long shared with outdoor enthusiasts, recreational values have co-existed successfully with forestry operations for decades, resulting in a continued multiple values management regime. Various silviculture treatments have been applied on the woodland and they include appropriate selection harvest methods, commercial thinning, and pre-commercial thinning. A recent partial harvesting (2018) adjacent to the very popular Dawson Brook Falls is a good example of the owner’s ability to balance social, environmental, and economic goals.
The eastern regional winner is Terry Cameron of Antigonish County. Terry has been working full time on his 240-acre uneven age hardwood woodland for the past two years.
Terry gained his woodland knowledge while working as a silviculture foreman through the 80s and 90s; and he was ahead of his time promoting uneven-aged management well before it was common practice.
Surrounded by protected crown land; Terry has sustainability in mind when working on his woodlot. Treatments carried out to date include selection harvesting, pre-commercial thinning, crop tree release, and some crop tree pruning just to mention but a few.
He welcomes hikers, bikers and other outdoor recreationalists to enjoy the trails through his property.
Terry has plans to start harvesting maple syrup and expand some of his trails.
The western winners are Cindy and Sherm Embree from Shelburne. The Embrees are third generation stewards of 430-acres with a strong focus on the future with sustainable goals for wildlife, forestry, and education at the forefront.
The Embree family have implemented a micro-triad method on their woodland. They have carried out various treatments on their woodland including pre-commercial thinning, commercial thinning, tree planting and have been working with various woodland owner organizations and partners in the western region.
A smaller area is for their Christmas Tree U- Pick Farm established in 1973 and educational trails. Cindy and Sherm host many schools and local groups to share their love about sustainable woodland management. Their back 150 acres facing Johnston’s Pond has been set aside for conservation and is home to a variety of wildlife, migratory birds and rare lichens.