Sharing the Medway Community Forest Cooperative Fall 2021 Newsetter. Lots of in-depth information and updates.
We hope that you have enjoyed the beautiful weather and changing colours this fall. We’re finally winding down from the busy summer of long days, community events, and field work. We have some exciting updates to share with you about some projects that have wrapped up, new opportunities and a new staff member joining the MCFC team!
It’s been very exciting to welcome Matt Miller as our Operations Manager this November. Matt describes himself as an avid outdoors person and maple syrup connoisseur. Originally hailing from Pictou County, Nova Scotia. He is an experienced forest tech with a passion for ecological forestry. One of the key recommendations from the Investment Readiness Program project with the Climate Forest Company was to hire a full time staffer to oversee management planning, harvest operations and nonmerchantable silviculture. We’re looking forward to having Matt help us ramp up our forest operations this winter and achieve some consistency in harvesting wood and executing other silviculture treatments.
This October, in partnership with the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) we planted hardwood trees around the village of Caledonia with the North Queens Community School – adding shade, resiliency, and colour to our community!
With the generous support of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) Community Grant and Tree Canada’s Operation Releaf program, we came together with numerous local partners and supporters to engage youth in community greening and climate action. In addition to planting climate-adaptive tree species, students took part in an educational program covering climate resilience and adaptation, carbon storage in plant structures and soil, seeing fast and slow growing species while looking at tree cookies, and discussing the benefits of an urban canopy.
A big thank you to Freeman Lumber for donating mulch, R & C Weare Logging for excavating holes, Conway Workshop for tree stakes, the SFI Atlantic Implementation committee contributions for signage, and the North Queens Board of Trade for so much help.
We planted 65 hardwoods trees, a mix of native species and a few southernly species projected to have their native ranges expand into our region with a changing climate. The native species you’ll see sprinkled around Caledonia include red maple, sugar maple, yellow birch, ironwood, American elm, red oak, and the southern species with shifting native ranges including white oak, tulip tree, butternut, black walnut, and sassafras. Stay tuned for our Climate Adaptive Arboretum grand opening at Harmony Park in spring 2022!
We love when a team comes together representing women in forestry and science. Spencer Coulstring (Community Engagement Coordinator – WestFor Management) and Carley Archibald (Coordinator, GIS and Conservation Research – SFI) joined us planting and were a huge help in getting materials moved and keeping students engaged. We feel it is valuable to have this representation and hope it encourages girls and underrepresented minorities to follow their aspirations with confidence. Fewer women study and work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as these fields tend to perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary, male-dominated cultures that are not supportive of or attractive to women and minorities. We see this trend changing as more forestry organizations are promoting inclusive workplaces, by valuing the multiple perspectives that come with diversity.
NOVA SCOTIA WORKING WOODLANDS TRUST (NSWWT)
We have some very exciting news to share from our partner organization, the Nova Scotia Working Woodlands Trust. The MCFC has been incubating NSWWT for several years now, developing the foundation and strategic planning necessary to launch a new organization.
The Forestry Innovation Transition Trust (FITT) is a $50 million fund focused on accelerating new opportunities within the Nova Scotia Forestry Sector to enhance environmental, social, and economic values and adoption of new ecological forestry practices. FITT launched in 2019 following the closure of the Northern Pulp mill. This summer, NSWWT joined with other partners to submit proposal from the Family Forest Network to help pilot ecological forestry on private lands. Eleven organizations that serve small‐woodland owners and contractors will working together to develop a network of ecologically-managed private lands across in Nova Scotia. The network will promote the adoption of ecological forestry on non‐industrial woodlands through outreach, demonstration, and research.
In October the Trust awarded the Family Forest Network 9.8 million dollars – of which, a portion will help launch the NSWWT! After over a year of proposal writing, revisions and virtual meetings, we’re happy to see the FITT make such a generous commitment to the small private woodlot owner community.
The mission of the NSWWT is to uphold and promote the long-term stewardship of private forested lands for the rich diversity of values that they provide through ecological forestry and conservation. The NSWWT will be the first organization eligible to hold working forest community easements in Nova Scotia through the Community Easement Act (2012). If a woodlot owner wishes to preserve their lands in perpetuity as a working forest, even through ownership changes, they may be interested in entering an easement agreement with NSWWT. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more.
HEMLOCK WOOLLY ADELGID (HWA) – SPORTING LAKE NATURE RESERVE
Late this summer, a diverse group of volunteers united in efforts to save hemlock forests in Sporting Lake Nature Reserve. The group was led by an emergency medical doctor, a lawyer, as well as foresters and biologists including our newest staffer, Matt Miller, our ED, Mary Jane Rodger and board member Donna Crossland. The MCFC supported the effort by organizing and supporting volunteers for their trip to Sporting Lake. This included making the backwoods drive from Weymouth to the remote access point, a 4-5 hour paddle in, 1.5km of portaging, and a tenting stay in the Tobeatic Wilderness Area at the main camp – what a trip for a worthy cause!
Sporting Lake Nature Reserve consists of 24.7 ha of remote wilderness that supports some of the last intact natural forest in Kespu’kwitk. The largest of the three islands offers a rare glimpse of primordial Acadian forest as it once existed across vast expanses of Nova Scotia. Sporting Lake, like many of our hemlock forests is under threat by Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is an invasive insect native to Japan that attacks and kills hemlock by depriving the tree of nutrients and water. Mortality from HWA will come quickly without support to these forest elders.
The mission was to inoculate the entire old growth hemlock stand with an approved insecticide, IMA-jet, during the month of October under a research license attained through the Department of Environment and Climate Change. About 45 volunteers ranging in age from 20-80 years, inoculated 2260 hemlock trees over two weeks time. The ultimate goal is to keep the hemlock alive for a decade or longer until a safe and effective long-term solution is found that allows the hemlocks to survive on their own once again. A big thanks to many supporting partners, including the Departments of Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources and Renewables, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and numerous donors.
As we continue to negotiate a long term agreement with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, we look forward to an exciting new year moving ecological forestry along in Nova Scotia. Having Matt on board and the Land Trust coming together – there’s plenty to look forward to!