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Newsletter Contents
  • CFAC Update
  • A Walk in the Woods -  Lyme Disease
  • Ecotourism Opportunities in Cumberland
  • Our History in Forestry
  • Scotia Woodknotters
  • A Walk in the Woods - Earth Day
  • Did You Know...
CFAC Update
The CFAC has been working hard towards the pathways outlined in the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. To view this plan click, here

Working groups are currently underway to work on the specific pathways below. If you are interested in being a part of some of these groups, send us an email expressing what pathway you are interested in working on.
Invest in Wood Energy
  • to explore opportunities for wood energy for business and institutional settings.
  • to encourage citizens in Nova Scotia to burn residential wood heat. (note the province could give 30 to 50% rebate on woodstove, pellet stove and wood furnaces.)
  • to explore business growth through the production and distribution of wood pellets, fire logs and fuel pucks. (In addition to heating opportunities, fuel pucks can be used as a carbon feedstock for methane digesters to improve the production and recovery of methane. Methane can be used for electricity production or to inject into natural gas pipelines.)
To Incent woodlot owners through tax incentives to manage their woodlots
  • to incent woodlot owners, through tax incentives, to manage their woodlots to increase the rate of carbon sequestration by having a healthy growing forest.  The province should tap into federal incentives for climate regulation to fund these programs.
Strengthening woodlot owner voice (This one needs one or two more volunteers)
  • to strengthen regional woodlot owners voice within Nova Scotia
Forestry Tourism & Land Fund - showcase for treatments
  • to develop local Forestry Tourism opportunities to monetize non-timber aspects of forests/ woodlots. Ex: maple syrup operations, resort and convention centre, wilderness camping, snowmobile or mountain bike rentals/tours, etc.
  • work with Cumberland Tourism Strategy committee to identify opportunity.
  • Create a private land fund, and a private land ecological forestry training site and demonstration fund to showcase management treatments to enhance the transition to ecological forestry
Solidifying a unified forest industry with public support, education and public relations
  • To find creative ways to regain public trust by sharing our story utilizing key social media channels and print applications
Biodiversity working group
  • to foster government transparency and collaboration on shared goals.
  • to determine key forestry stakeholders to relate to government officials.
  • to have the provincial and federal government work to regain the trust of the business community (including forestry).  For long term investments (risk taking) there needs to be confidence that regulatory decisions are made based upon science and pre-determined criteria
A Walk in the Woods - Lyme Disease
Don’t forget to check for Ticks after being outdoors

If there is one thing you take away from reading my column, today’s message could arguably be the most important to remember for the health of you and your loved ones.  Now that I have your attention, it is essential that, if you do not already realize it, know that black-legged ticks have spread throughout mainland Nova Scotia and are causing Lyme Disease suffering likely on a weekly, if not daily basis.

The most recent official statistics regarding Lyme Disease occurrence in Nova Scotia is based on 2019.  In that year there were 830 cases of confirmed and probable Lyme Disease reported.  This was almost double the 454 cases reported in 2018.  It is not known how many cases go unreported.

Lyme Disease is known as the “great imitator” disease because the symptoms can be similar to many other diseases, which makes it more difficult to diagnose.  For example, the symptoms include:  skin rash (sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye), fever, chills, headache, fatigue, aching muscles and joints, and swollen lymph nodes.

Weeks or months after the tick bite, more severe symptoms may include but are not limited to: severe headaches, new skin rashes, facial paralysis (such as Bell’s palsy), irregular heart beat, joint pain, and nervous system disorders (such as dizziness, confusion or inability to think clearly, and memory loss, nerve pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet).

All of this from an insect bite you wonder, how can that be?   The tick population in Nova Scotia has grown quite dramatically over the last decade.  Once common only in the southwest, climate change seems to have welcomed them to spread throughout the province with remarkable speed.  Although the dog tick (also known as wood tick) has historically been more common, it seems that the black-legged tick (also known as deer tick, but don’t blame deer as they don’t like them either) has become more common just over the last couple years.  As well, the percent of black-legged ticks that are carrying the Lyme Disease bacteria seems to be increasing as well.

Let’s consider a few Case study summaries of Lyme Disease experiences of which I am familiar.   To capture your attention, let’s consider that a few years ago a healthy athletic boy of 12 years of age while at school with no prior symptoms, suddenly lost the use of his legs and couldn’t get up and walk.  His father rushed to the school to bring him home and get him to see a doctor.  From that time in October, this young man, while missing much school, had a wide variety of symptoms, including constant tiredness with no energy and severe joint pain all over his body.  Because of the abnormal symptoms, doctors did not check for Lyme Disease when doing blood tests.  Finally, in February, his grandfather demanded the doctor check for Lyme Disease.  Luckily, the large dose of antibiotics treatment worked in eliminating the symptoms after four weeks.

A forestry colleague who I originally knew through hockey was not so lucky.  This 40-year-old man was known for being the “Eveready bunny” kind of person in that he was always energetic, organizing things, being a leader in his work and community and playing sports all the time.  One spring he was unknowingly bitten by a black-legged tick and came down with Lyme Disease.  Like the first example of the young man, there was no bulls-eye target rash caused by the tick bite, which is not unusual and it certainly cannot be relied on for indicating infection.  Over that year when similar mysterious symptoms began, this unfortunate man had no energy, was in various types of pain which affected his movement, and eventually his organs became negatively affected.  He wasn’t diagnosed for approximately a year, and was in such bad shape by that time, that the heavy antibiotics treatment was too late to reverse the damage.  He was forced to leave his job on long term disability and give up all his leadership roles, a shell of his former self.

Last week I spoke with a professor whose wife experienced a somewhat similar situation in that she suffered from a wide variety of painful and immobilizing symptoms for unknown reasons.  She didn’t realize that she had been bitten by a tick, which is often the case with people because the tick is able to bite without any sensation felt.  Her family doctor wrongly diagnosed her with various ailments, and the prescribed treatments did not help.  Finally, after frustrating and painful months, he and his wife arranged for her to be screened and treated for Lyme Disease in the U.S. which was both time consuming and very expensive.  Now a year later and she still suffers from joint pain and periodic lack of energy.

Finally, a colleague’s Dad recently removed an engorged black-legged tick from himself and had it analyzed immediately.  It was determined to be carrying Lyme Disease and he started receiving the antibiotic treatment within a couple days.  However, for the first week, he was suffering such severe headache pain that he went to Emergency each day for pain killer.  Late in the week he started having chest pain and affected breathing.  After 10 days, the treatment caused the symptoms to lessen, and then after three to four weeks the symptoms were gone.

So, the bottom line of all this, is that we all need to take action consistently to ensure that we are not bitten by ticks so that we do not have to worry about this very nasty disease.  Some of the simple preventative techniques include:  wear your pants tucked into socks when going into tall grass and the woods and wearing light coloured clothing allows you to spot them quickly.  The most important message to remember is that we should each check for ticks on our bodies before going to bed at night.  They are incredibly sneaky and tough.  They like to get attached in out of the way parts of the body, and they can be as tiny as a head of a needle, so look very carefully, every day. 

-Don Cameron
Registered Professional Forester
May 1, 2021
Ecotourism Opportunities in Cumberland
Ecotourism is a form of tourism that involves experiencing the natural environment. While we are currently unable to travel outside our community, Cumberland County has a vast majority of ways to enjoy our forests this Spring. 

Trails and Local Ecotourism Businesses 

Our History in Forestry
These images are of old sawmills that occupied Spencer's Island. The mills in these photographs were owned by the Spicer family.  
In case you missed some of these forestry news stories, check out the link below. 
Scotia WoodKnotters
Brother and Sister, Robert and Laura Wilson started Scotia WoodKnotters the summer of 2019. When the Amherst Farmers Market requested they have a name for their both, they decided on Scotia WoodKnotters as a pun for their approach to using the flaws in the wood to inspire their creations.
Scotia WoodKnotters is a combination of Laura Wilson’s wood carving and her brother, Robert Wilson’s wood working. Robert Wilson makes bird houses and small step-stools from pine lumber from local suppliers. Laura adds decorative elements with wood burning or carving details to enhance the product. Laura will also create whimsical sculptures from “found wood”, which is a mixture of driftwood, bark, etc. 
This is a piece of pine board from a local hardware store's cut-off pile. Laura burned and painted this board, the "flaws" became "features" that evolved into this quirky work.
Challenged to find a quick sale item, Scotia WoodKnotters landed on the concept of Wood Cookies. They cut fallen branches or tree trimmings from Robert’s humble one-acre woodlot in Springhill Junction. The wood is sterilized by cooking it in the oven for a few hours at the lowest temperature and then the cookies are sold as a craft supply. Laura also decorates the cookies and sells them as one-of-a-kind ornaments or key fobs. 

Laura designed the plaid note cards and donated 200 wood cookies that were assembled to become novelty "NS Weather Button's"  as a fundraiser to support the Amherst Artisan Gallery.   
Once COVID-19 restrictions are eased, Laura hopes to continue to offer wood carving lessons. Laura's work can be found for sale at the Amherst Artisan Gallery. You can check out some of her work on her website, here
Robert Wilson (902)692-9309 | Laura Wilson (902)602-1089
A Walk in the Woods - Earth Day
As most are aware, our planet is being challenged in many ways in addition to the current pandemic.  A time for more focused interest is approaching – our 51st Earth Day, on April 22.   Historically, we humans have not taken very good care of our global environment.  Make no mistake, there is just one Earth and one environment, despite the huge size of our globe.  There is evidence that is getting the attention of the average person - such as vast piles of plastic and garbage in the ocean for miles and miles, or the increased frequency and ferocity of damaging storms, or the melting of glaciers, ice fields and perma-frost in the north, and the rising of coastal sea levels which causes more flooding and damage.

For many years we have been warned by the scientific community that we must turn this gigantic ship around environmentally, or future generations will face worsening conditions and potential calamity.  Despite some unbelievable efforts by very questionable leaders such as Donald Trump to create confusion and doubt about the Climate Crisis, we, as a society must take corrective action.

So, what can be done?  The first thing is to educate ourselves and have a better understanding of what is happening and what is at stake – literally the future of our world as we know it.  We can all take actions in different ways both locally and globally, young and old.  Obviously, some people who have more power or wealth have more potential than most of us, but the key is to get public support at all levels to help direct public policy and private actions over time.  Everyone that is capable can improve the situation.  Those of us that get the opportunity to interact with youth are well aware that these young minds are getting the message that our ecological world is in trouble, and they want to help, and they need all of us to do our part.

There is not enough space here to list all the possible ways we can help the planet in our own lives.  If you need ideas, there are innumerable online sources of good information.  One of those is Earth Day 2021 | Restore Our Earth |EARTHDAY.ORG.

For those of you interested in taking increased action to help the earth, the website highlights 22 actions that average people can do every day to help.  One can also get involved with special projects such as clean-ups and tree planting.  One can support the Canopy Project or become inspired by ideas of how you can work to restore our earth.

EARTHDAY.ORG is supporting three parallel climate action summits on April 20th and 21st ahead of the US global leaders’ climate summit on Earth Day. The parallel summits are focused on climate literacy, environmental justice and a broad range of youth-led climate-focused issues involving youth leaders from around the world.

On Earth Day, EARTHDAY.ORG will produce its second annual Earth Day Live digital event which had 8.5 million viewers last year. The day-long livestream event will start at 1 pm Atlantic time. Workshops, panel discussions and special performances will focus on Earth Day’s 2021 theme, Restore Our Earth. World climate leaders, grassroots activists, non-profit innovators, thought leaders, industry leaders, artists, musicians, influencers and more will be involved.  It will also be a very busy day of various social media platforms.  Additionally, TED Countdown is joining forces with EARTHDAY.ORG, creating several original TED Talks to premiere during the livestream.

In celebration of Earth Day, why not plan to plant a garden for food – even if just in a pot - and for our valuable and threatened pollinators to enjoy.  Cut back on waste and packaging, drive less, and walk and bicycle more.  Think how you can change your ways to help Earth number one;  because there is no Earth number two.

-Don Cameron, RPF
April 9, 2021
Did You Know...
Silviculture treatments are used by woodlot owners to create more value in the long term. Silviculture treatments harvest undesirable wood to create uneven age stands and make room for the regeneration of desirable wood. 
The picture above is of a woodlot that was harvested using the shelterwood process. A shelterwood harvest is a type of silviculture treatment that removes some of the overstory and undesirable wood from the woodlot to allow for regeneration. Shade from the overstory hinders the growth of the species on the ground. Shelterwood allows for more light to reach the ground and naturally help new trees sprout and grow while still leaving trees to provide some shade, water retention and wildlife habitat. This process can be repeated every 10-15 years.
Similar to the shelterwood treatment, the above picture is of a 40 year old woodlot that had been strip cut. Strip cut is a process that is a 10-12 meter wide cut that leaves strips in the middle of the woodlot to allow for stock to grow. This also allows for more light to reach the ground for regeneration and creates an uneven aged stand. In 10-15 years those strips will be full of growth. This creates long-term gain for the woodlot. 
This picture is of a woodlot on Spencer’s Island. This forest is 60-80 years old and had been 30% harvested to remove undesirable wood and allow for more growth. 
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