Woodlot owner creates calendar to promote the protection of Nova Scotia forests
Giants of Nova Scotia calendar highlights beauty of local forests, spreads message about invasive species
A concerned woodlot owner in Lunenburg County wanted to spread a message to Nova Scotians, in hopes of preventing invasive species from damaging forests in the province.
So Tom Rogers set about creating a 2019 calendar that highlights the beauty of Nova Scotia's trees and forests. The Giants of Nova Scotia calendar has now sold almost 1,000 copies, all while letting people know how they can prevent the spread of invasive species.
"We live in a beautiful part of the world," Rogers said. "It's worthy of people making small changes to their behaviour to keep it that way as long as possible."
When Rogers first heard of the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect that damages and kills hemlock trees, he became concerned for his woodlot and other parts of the province where hemlock trees grow.
'A combination of mad and sad'
For instance, trees in Kejimkujik National Park have been threatened by HWA. Some of those trees are over 300 years old.
"The thought of losing all these old trees; it was a combination of mad and sad. [I] just wanted to do something," Rogers said.
In January, Tom pitched Giants of Nova Scotia to Awesome Foundation South Shore, a community development group that grants people in the area $1,000, if selected, for an idea that benefits the community.
Rogers wanted to showcase Nova Scotia as an "absolutely beautiful" part of the world, while spreading his message of forest conservation, largely by reminding people not to transport firewood.
After receiving the grant, Rogers sought local photographers to contribute to the calendar and paid them for their work. Three hundred photos were submitted, and Rogers gave over the selection process to his adult children, who whittled 300 photos down to just 12.
The photos are "absolutely sensational," Rogers said. "I can't say enough about how well they turned out."
Rogers said the photos drive home the message, but the key to preventing the spread of these invasive species is education. Under each photo is a fact centred around protecting the forest.
"Most people just don't know," he said. "They don't appreciate that the bug that causes the problem for hemlocks is as big as a grain of rice."
Sales go to non-profit co-op
Rogers said once people are aware of how the bugs get around, often nestled in a pile of firewood, there are little things they can do to help decrease the spread of infestation.
"Don't take wood from home when you go camping; acquire your wood where you burn it."
While Rogers was preparing the calendars, another invasive species was spotted in Bedford, the emerald ash borer.
One thousand calendars were printed and sold online and at local retailers, and nearly all were sold, Rogers said. The remaining will be donated to local nursing homes.
Sales from the calendar were donated to the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, a non-profit co-operative that supports sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation.