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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 



"When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all."

Partnership links new woodlot owners with mentors
By Andy Kekacs
Program Director

The Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association, the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, and the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute are partners in an effort to help landowners learn more about managing their woodlots.

The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources is providing funding for the new "Woodland Management Mentorship Program," which will create opportunities for forest landowners to learn from each other, provide places for experienced woodlot owners to share their knowledge, and reinforce the information provided in the DNR's existing Woodlot Management Home Study Program through a series of field days throughout the province.

NSWOOA is working with its partners to identify a cadre of successful and knowledgeable woodland owners to serve as mentors. The mentors will not be expected to be experts in all aspects of forest management, but instead will be acknowledged leaders in topics related to one or two topics that are covered in the Home Study Program.

Woodlots owned by the mentors will be the sites for half-day presentations that offer living examples of the information contained in the Home Study module. Mentors will receive training and a stipend for their work.

The mentorship program is also looking for landowners who want to attend the field days. The program is meant for owners of small woodlands who have an interest in increasing their skills and knowledge while moving toward active management of their land. Ideally, landowners will complete one or more modules in the Home Study Program, then travel to a mentor's woodlot for a chance to see and talk about real-world examples of the information that was covered.

This program will be an excellent way for your relatives and neighbors to learn more about good forest management. If you'd like more information about being a mentor or a participant, please contact Andy Kekacs at or toll-free at 1-855-NS-WOODS. 
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July 2014
DNR agrees to fund 2014-15
landowner outreach program
By Andy Kekacs
Program Director

The province has agreed to provide $140,000 to the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association in the coming year, which will fully fund our 2014-15 landowner outreach program.

The proposal was presented to the Department of Natural Resources last October. NSWOOA stressed that our association has the experience, the tools and the credibility needed to help small, private woodlot owners be good stewards by providing "co-operative extension" services across the province. The contract, which is expected to be signed in the next week or two, signifies that DNR agrees.

The decision was made at a June 11 meeting that included Allan Eddy, associate deputy minister at DNR; Tim Whynot, stewardship and outreach manager for the department; Will Martin, NSWOOA chairperson; and Andy Kekacs, the association's program director.

The outreach program is based on our belief that landowners are more likely to be active managers of their lands if they feel confident that they can achieve their personal goals for forest ownership. NSWOOA is uniquely well-suited for that role: It has high credibility with landowners due to its well-established reputation as proponent of good forestry. Furthermore, NSWOOA's current and former directors collectively own several thousand acres of forestland and have hundreds of years' experience managing small woodlands. They include professional foresters, harvesting contractors, multi-generation family forest owners and farmers.

NSWOOA's program director recently conducted nationally significant into the goals and motivations of landowners in Nova Scotia. In addition, the association already has all of the basic tools in place to conduct a meaningful outreach program:

* Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest, operated as a division of NSWOOA, is a 1,500-acre Crown parcel in Mooseland. Otter Ponds is a living laboratory that shows how timber production can be compatible with the protection of the full range of other forest values and services. It provides opportunities for woodlot owners, students, researchers, non-profit organizations, and individuals to visit an outstanding example of working forestland.

* The NSWOOA website offers a wealth of resources about forest management in Nova Scotia.

* The association has a toll-free telephone number that serves as a first point of contact for landowners who have questions about good forestry.

* Legacy, the NSWOOA's monthly newsletter, is distributed electronically -- at low cost -- to hundreds of forest landowners.

* The NSWOOA Facebook page is recording between 400 and 2,800 views per week. The page has links to forest-related news stories, events and scientific research. Another Facebook page was established last year for Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest.

The outreach program will run from 1 July 2014 through 30 June 2015. One of the first steps will be to create a province-wide list of people who own forested parcels larger than 10 hectares. This data is essential to reach the many landowners who are not connected to existing education programs or direct services.

NSWOOA will assemble a basic packet of information about forest ownership and management, and mail it to 1,500 new purchasers of forestland in the coming year. It will also provide an electronic copy to any landowner who requests it.

The association will also develop a free, online goals assessment tool to help woodlot owners self-assess their attitudes about and motivations for forest ownership. We will use the results of the assessment to begin the process of segmenting landowners into several categories based on their goals.

Some owners may only need electronic resources to help them reach their goals. They'll be referred to the Acadian Forest Management resources on our website, which will be expanded to address more issues and serve a wider group of people who are interested in the forest. NSWOOA will also continue to staff its toll-free telephone line, 1-855-NS-WOODS, to answer questions about the woods. These will be basic, free sources of information for small landowners and the public, regardless of their interest in "active" forest management.

Landowners with an interest in active management - which could range from cutting firewood or improving wildlife habitat to conducting a harvest - will be contacted by phone for a further discussion about their needs and skills. We'll help these owners to assess their capacity and willingness to do their own work on the land, and their need for information, professional services, or other resources. Where appropriate, we'll refer them to local providers of direct services.

We'll also continue to improve "Legacy," NSWOOA's monthly electronic newsletter, and expand its distribution to every small forest landowner who requests it. In addition, we'll use some of the provincial funding to increase visitation at Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest, expand tours and workshops there, and improve infrastructure.

All in all, it's a strong package of services that will help landowners get what they need to be good stewards.

NSWOOA also was given more flexibility in how it manages the provincial funding. The association will prepare a progress report for the Minister of Natural Resources every three months that assesses our performance and suggests areas for improvement. Upon receipt of the report, the department will provide the association with a quarterly check for $35,000.

If you have questions about the program, contact Andy Kekacs at, or toll free at 1-855-NS-WOODS. 
Do you have questions
about good forestry?

NSWOOA is committed to being your best source for information about sustainable forestry. We do not offer silviculture or harvesting services; our interest is only in the protection and enhancement of the native forest ecosystems of Nova Scotia.


Truly sustainable management requires that all the values of our woodlands -- ecological, social, and economic -- be preserved for future generations. That's a complex undertaking.


Current forest conditions, markets, soils, an owner's personal goals, tax planning and many other factors influence which activities should be considered in any stand of trees.


If you have questions about sustainable management of the Acadian Forest, we want to hear from you! Give us a call at:




NSWOOA| PO Box 823, Truro, NS B2N 5G6 |
Truly sustainable forest management means that all values of our woodlands
-- ecological, social, cultural and economic -- are preserved for future generations.

Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.