Our planned and on-going forest harvest in Digby County follows all current provincial Special Management Practices (SMP) identified for mainland moose. The SMP was created by the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry biologists based on science including recommendations from the Nova Scotia Mainland Moose Recovery Team.
Contrary to recent media reports, the preservation of an iconic species like the mainland moose is very important to us. The planned and on-going harvest in Digby County, like all of our harvests, receives approval based on compliance to provincial Mainland Moose Special Management Practices and all other block approval requirements.
With the implementation of moose shelter patches, moose retention patches, moose buffers, roads and access points, as well as coarse woody debris targets, habitat issues are being addressed through the Mainland Moose SMP. The mainland moose issue is complex and involves many more pressing threats, including brainworm, winter tick, and poaching.
This area has been portrayed in the media as intact old growth forests when in fact the area has been sustainably managed since the late 1800’s. It is the economic backbone of the community and has been for multiple generations of forest professionals. Forest workers, their families, and the local communities have benefitted from the sustainable forest management in the area for generations. This area is also the back yard for many individuals in Digby County. Forestry has provided the necessary infrastructure for accessing the area and will continue to provide a safe area for people to hike, fish, gather, and enjoy the outdoors. Forestry and the mainland moose can co-exist here as they do in many other areas across North America.
We were happy with the result of Friday’s hearing. While we appreciate the concern and passion of the protestors in Digby, we continue to believe that a responsible forest industry can be balanced with the need to protect our natural environment, including endangered species.
If you have any comments please feel welcomed to email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The WestFor Management Team
Here at WestFor we are thankful for the many proud, passionate, hard-working men and women that contribute to the forest sector. We would like to take the next 12 months to highlight 12 families that are a part of the sustainable forestry practices that happen in our province.
We would like to start with Wade Turner and Gail (Turner) Mercer, owners of J. A. Turner & Sons (2012) Ltd. Wade and Gail took over their fathers mill in 2012 after working along side him for 15 years. The mill has been there for over 40 years.
It’s a beautiful fall morning at the Turner mill in Bridgewater, NS. At the desks inside are two friendly faces with big smiles that would make anyone feel welcomed.
With phones ringing and trucks on the scale the brother sister duo somehow find the time to chat with myself and anyone else walking through the door.
“How long have you been in the forest industry?” Directing the question at Wade first. He takes a second to pause before answering.
“About 30 years actually. I worked at MT&T for a while but didn’t enjoy living in the city so I came back to start at the mill about 30 years ago. I also sheared Christmas trees for about 3 summers as a student when I went to the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology.”
With knowing how labor intensive shearing can be I have to ask why.
“I liked it!” He answers more excitedly than I would have expected. “My co-worker and I had a great time blasting music and goofing around a bit while we worked. I also used a knife which made me feel more like a Ninja, that definitely helped.”
“I have been working in the industry for 26 years.” Gail answered with a smile. “I started working here with my Dad after my big sister got pregnant.”
I ask Gail when she realized she was first interested in forestry.
“I don’t know if there was ever a specific moment; it was always a family business. I graduated from high school and went to the Nova Scotia Community College for Accounting with the mindset of working here.”
Gail has been married to her husband Jason for 21 years and forestry has provided half of their income for the entirety of their marriage. It has allowed them to live across the street from the mill with their three cats Miller, Molly, and Mia.
Wade has been married to his wife Heidi for 24 years and forestry has also provided half of their income for the entirety of their marriage. Wade and Heidi have two kids, Leah and Luke and one cat named Callie.
“Would you like for your children to follow in your footsteps?” I ask Wade.
“Well, Luke actually worked half days here this summer sorting wood. He enjoyed it, but would I want him to work here after school? It is an unpredictable business and you want to know that your kids will have security.” Wade said before answering the phone.
I start chatting with Gail while we wait for Wade to take an order over the phone. It is not very often I get to talk with other women in the sector as we are few and far between. I admire her, especially as an owner of a mill. She starts to share some of the minor struggles that she has to deal with on a daily basis.
“Even answering the phone people will ask for Wade, or if one of the ‘boys’ are there. I have been in the business for 26 years and most of the time I actually know more than the people calling. They don’t like to admit that though.” She says laughing. “But I don’t mind, it creates more work for Wade and less work for me! Plus, if we have long term customers they know who to call.”
Wade hangs up the phone and continues to fill out an order form.
“What is your favorite part about working in forestry?” I ask to the room. Wade without missing a beat pipes up.
“The people. I went to school in New Germany and I know these kinds of people. Kind, hard-working citizen. Covid was hard because we had the ‘Drive-Thru’ window and I couldn’t chat as much and I am a people person.” Taking a second to process he also said “And I could not do a job where I was tied to my desk all day.”
“I like that it isn’t the same thing everyday. There are all kinds of different things to do and all kinds of different requests from customers. We always do our best to make it work, so that can create some interesting interactions.” Gail added.
I ask the question that any sibling would be thinking.
“How is it working with your brother/sister?”
“We’re okay with it.” They almost answer in complete unison.
After our interview we walk around the yard to get a few photos. Seeing them interact with each other, how they support each other all the while laughing together almost makes me think that I could work with my siblings.
Whether it’s for their work at their mill or getting involved in the community through running groups or coaching minor hockey, we are lucky to have them.
For more information about J. A. Turner & Sons (2012) Ltd. Please feel free to follow this link: https://www.jaturnerandsons.ca/about_us.html
Today is World Forestry Day!
It has been a rough year for our sector across the country from mill closures to false information spread over social media. While there are a lot of misconceptions and personal attacks on social media about forest workers, we thought today would be a great day to remind everyone that the individuals that work in the forest sector are real people! They are people who are highly educated with student loan debts, people who spend their weekends walking in the woods with their families and pets, and people who are involved in their communities whether its providing for local economies or volunteering with children’s sports team or scout groups.
We have spent a lot of time highlighting our contractors and mill members on our Facebook page but today we thought it would be fit to shine a little light on one of our own staffers.
This week we had one of our field staff out doing Pre-Treatment Assessments’s (PTA). In one of our proposed harvest areas he found a stand that looked a lot like old growth. He then spent the rest of the day mapping ATV trails and brooks within the area to make sure they would have the proper buffer and went home to return the next day with the equipment he needed to do an old growth survey.
Everyone meet Makyle! Makyle is a MCFT grad who has spent his whole life in the woods. He loves spending time in the forest whether its during work hours or not. When he isn’t running around doing PTA’s, layout, old growth surveys, post harvest inspections, road inspections, regeneration surveys, PCT surveys, or supervising an operation he is mountain biking in the woods, hiking/camping with his amazing girlfriend in the woods, or taking photos of, you guessed it, the woods. Turns out the stand was old growth and Makyle has protected it and has taken it out of the proposed harvest area.
If you know someone in the forest sector, reach out to them today to let them know you are thinking of them! #forestersarepeopletoo
599 King Street, Suite 201
Bridgewater, NS, Canada
902 530 2362
Mon-Fri: 8:30 – 4:30