Summer Newsletter 2018
Originally published July 2018
Happy summer to all our members and the extended MCFC network. Another spring has come and gone here at the MCFC and unfortunately, we seem to have lost track of time and missed our spring newsletter. Oops! We hope you will forgive us. Luckily that just means we have collected more exciting information to update you on. Summertime is the best time of year for us to hold outreach events as the weather is usually better and everyone is in a vacation mood. We have already had two events and we are looking forward to many more.
The first event that we held this year was the Wild foods workshop in collaboration with Sarah d'Apollonia from East Coast Wild Foods at the Mersey River Chalets. After foraging with Sarah on the MCFC lands, we returned to the Chalets where chef Nelson Penner made us a delicious five course meal. Each dish had several foraged ingredients and allowed us to better understand how we could use foraged ingredients in our own cooking. This workshop filled up a month before the actual date so we’re planning another event for the fall (hopefully including mushrooms!) on September 22nd.
Our second event this year was a presentation on Community Forestry in Canada by our summer intern Freya Clark at the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute in June. Freya delved into the sometimes-murky definition of Community Forestry and looked at the different ways Community Forestry is practised throughout Canada. Freya will be giving this talk again in Halifax sometime this summer to educate a wider audience on Community Forestry and spread the word about the MCFC.
The next event of the summer was our Forest Research Tour. Together with research foresters from the NSDNR, we provided the public and members a chance to see the MCFC’s alternative forest management practices first hand. The tour also allowed people to learn how forest practices are tested in order to ensure that they don’t hinder the biodiversity and natural processes of the forest and yet are still economically viable.
Later this month, on Saturday, July 28th, we will be hosting a trail building workshop in partnership withCobequid Consulting. This event will be the main volunteer effort to upgrade the Four Mile Stillwater trail in the Medway Lakes Wilderness Area. This event will be mostly informal and will involve physical labour, come ready to the learn about constructing wilderness trails and ready to work! If you haven’t yet been able to provide feedback on the Four Mile Trail, we currently have a survey open for feedback on our construction plan. Check it out here.
In August we will be hosting an Old Growth Forest Tour will take place on the new Four Mile Stillwater trail. We will hike the whole 1.5km trail as a group whilst Colin, a researcher from MTRI with their old growth forest project, teaches us about the growth and change that occurs in forests over time.
For our last workshop of the summer season we will be holding a Forest Writing Workshop with published author and Bear River First Nations member, Shalan Joudry on August 18th. Shalan will lead us through writing and creativity exercises with the backdrop of a beautiful old growth Hemlock forest. We will be writing outside in nature and the lovely scenery is sure to get the creative juices flowing. Further details regarding this event will be circulated soon.
Another exciting event that is happening this summer is our second annual Forest Products Market. We hold the Forest Products market to support and promote business opportunities that are derived from forest products. We see fostering these relationships as a critical step in developing a sustainable forest industry. The Forest Products Market brings in local artisans who create products that are connected to the forest such as furniture, wooden utensils, musical instruments, foraged materials, maple syrup and much more. This year, the market is taking place on Sunday, August 26 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Mahone Bay Center in Mahone Bay. This is a free market for both customers and vendors - if you are interested in becoming a vendor please contact us today.
David Stepan, one of our past vendors from the Forest Products Market, attended the NYC NOW international gift market in New York as a vendor this year. While attending, some of his work was placed in a special sustainability display at the market, including his boards with pieces of burned wood from the Seven Mile Lake Fire area in the MCFC land base. It’s very exciting to hear that products made with materials from our land base are being introduced to the world.
Coming into early fall we will be holding a Learn to Backcountry Camp workshop in partnership with Whynot Adventures. This experience will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about backcountry camping with competent experts before they try it on their own. This workshop will take place over the weekend of September 15th and registration details will be circulated in August.
Land Trust Development
Those of you who attended this year's AGM saw a sneak-peak into the Land Trust concept the MCFC hasbeen researching over the winter and spring. We are now entering our customer discovery phase of this project and need help from woodlot owners to gauge how they're thinking about the legacy of their woodlands.
We see good potential to bring the capacity and stewardship practices of the MCFC, along with partnerships including the Western Woodlot Service Cooperative, to landowners and help them ensure their legacy of woodland stewardship is sustained for the long term. Before we go any further with developing this land trust we want to make sure we hear from woodlot owners, regarding what would actually be most helpful.
Land trusts are not new to Maritime land conservation, however very few have looked at sustaining working forests. With increasing climatic change and depleted forest resources, the importance of maintaining healthy forests that grow high-value and carbon-rich trees becomes ever more vital. Building a network of working forest easements can help protect ecological integrity, habitat connectivity, biodiversity, and economic assets available for generations to come.
Adopt a Stream Project
Aside from the flurry of events, the MCFC has been working with MTRI and Adopt a Stream on aquatic connectivity in the culverts and bridges on our land base. Blocked, eroding, and rusty culverts, as well as collapsed bridges can pose serious problems for fish passage. Through the process dictated by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment we have located one bridge which is a barrier to fish passage in the Pony Lakes area of our land base this year. Now that we have identified the bridge we are going through the correct processes that will allow us to remove the bridge which is blocking fish passage and replace it with a new bridge or a culvert.
Our firewood supply to Kejimkujik this year has definitely presented its fair share of challenges. With the park closing its gates to outside firewood the MCFC was left with a large supply to fill, and we weren’t as ready as we’d like to have been for the task. Although our firewood was cut in May 2017 and split over the winter, not having shelter for wood storage turned out to be a major issue, especially since half our supply was required to be softwood - known for its spongy and porous wood - half of each bundle was too wet to burn. Although we are continuing to supply the park with traceable, local wood, Keji is now providing kiln-dried firewood for front country campers. As we mentioned in our winter newsletter, we're looking into long-term strategies to maintain product quality, and hope to continue to scale-up our firewood business in the future.