Winter woodlot fun, education this weekend

Amber Nicholson
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RUSTICO - The Wheatley River Improvement Group and Hunter/Clyde Watershed Group have teamed with the province to provide Islanders a new and exciting winter experience.

Next week's Winter Woodlot Tour and Workshop will be a morning of hands-on woodlot and wildlife education.

"We hope people go away with more of an appreciation of nature and what they can do out in the woods," said Hunter/Clyde member Andrew Lush of Hunter River.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn from forest technicians and wildlife experts Jon Hutchinson and Terry Gauthier about chainsaw maintenance, what to cut, and where and why to cut. Brian Brown of the P.E.I. Forest Enhancement Program will provide a tour of a 25-year-old white spruce plantation and several pairs of snowshoes will be available for those interested in walking on a marked trail. Phil Pineau of the Hunter/Clyde Group will demonstrate how to tap maple trees to make maple syrup and Kevin and Scott Taylor of Narrows Creek Stables will offer the unique opportunity to experience timber harvesting using teams of Haflinger horses.

Lush says this original event is one of the many educational initiatives provided by local watershed groups.

"Last year we started education sessions at the local pond to do water testing and animal education with students and we were looking for an educational morning and this is what we came up with," Lush explained of the event's birth.

The event is open to everyone, with woodlot owners being encouraged to attend.

"We want to educate even small woodlot owners about what they can do with their land," said Lush.

There will be members of the P.E.I. Model Forest Network Partnership and the P.E.I. Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry's Wildlife and Forestry Division on hand to offer additional information to those interested. All activities are free to the public, including hot chocolate and treats.

The Winter Woodlot Tour and Workshop will be held 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 215 Buffalo Rd. in Rustico. Watch for signs directing you to the event site.

Organizations: Clyde Group, PEI Department, Wildlife and Forestry Division

Geographic location: RUSTICO, Hunter River, Buffalo

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