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1991 – The project began with a wildlife garden and native plant nursery. It included three nature trails and demonstrations of innovative windbreaks, forest restoration and erosion control. We still offer regular workshops (links) on a wide variety of natural history, silvicultural and related topics – birds, wildflowers, mushrooms, pruning, transplanting, as well as tours of the property and our work. The native plant nursery and Arboretum attract special attention, showcasing native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
1995 – Our summer nature camps had a humble beginning with less than 20 kids ages 6-10 participating in a one day a week summer long camp.
1997 – Renovation work began on the old Macphail homestead barn. The building was in poor shape when we began but through donations, volunteers, and hard work, it was converted into our Nature Centre. It now houses our library, our classroom, a room for presentations, as well as displays of our Island’s Natural flora and fauna.
2001 – The Macphail Woods Project began, through a partnership with the West Royalty Home and School Association, planting the new school grounds with help from students.
2005 – This partnership has blossomed into the Acadian Forest Project, an effort from staff, students, and Macphail Woods to create a 4 Hectare Acadian Forest green space adjacent to the school. Students from every grade have participated in creating this outdoor learning space complete with a walking trail, an outdoor learning circle, fruiting shrubs, and wildlife habitat.
2002 – Our native plant Arboretum was expanded to include more specimens of our native trees, shrubs, ferns, and wildflowers. This has proved to be a crucial area in our educational workshops, camps, and courses.
2005 – The project reached an agreement with the Provincial Government to manage 800 hectares of public land in southeastern PEI. Under the 10-year lease agreement, the lands will be used to demonstrate sustainable forest management and restoration of our native Acadian woodlands.
2008 – We purchased a bandsaw mill and our long-term vision includes having a woodworking shop where talented Island craftspeople can create high-quality wooden products from sustainably-harvested wood. In effect, these craftspeople would become part of our team of forest educators.
2009 – We began offering a popular experiential credit course on Ecological Forestry through U.P.E.I.’s Environmental Studies program.
2011 – Some of the public land that we are stewarding on the Gairloch Rd. was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada (FSC). This is the first public land on Prince Edward Island to be certified by these standards. The certification will help ensure more sustainable practices are used when harvesting from the land, as well as add value and markets for the products coming out of these woods.
2013 – Our “Sharing a love of Nature Camp” program now offers 8 week-long day-camps over the months of July and August, with over 120 kids from ages 5- 15.