School of Woodland Ecology

School of Woodland Ecology


Over the last 25 years, Macphail Woods has offered a huge variety of free workshops on topics from owls to botany to forest restoration and more. We soon found our workshops growing in popularity with many participants requesting longer more in-depth hands-on courses.

To fulfill those requests, we launched our School of Woodland Ecology in 2016, offering in-depth courses for adults on a variety of topics from native botany to woodlot management to ecological bushcraft camping!

The School of Woodland Ecology allows participants to delve deeper into specific topics,
developing knowledge, skills and confidence.

Our Philosophy

Our teaching method is based on direct experience, observation, and getting hands-on. Students are taught to recognize keystone patterns whether in a flower or a forest. This time-tested approach works for students of every age and level of understanding and is the basis for sound ecological action.

Our instructors have spent thousands of hours honing their teaching, bushcraft and forest restoration skills and look forward to sharing their enthusiasm with you.

We are dedicated to ensuring a safe learning environment for all participants and believe that sharing a love of nature begins with the care and respect of each individual.


fern sorri

2020 School of Woodland Ecology Courses

To Register,
Please Contact
Daniel McRae

Plant Identification

A core skill in the forest
or around the yard

Single Session: $55
Two-course Package: $100

Plant Identification I: Native Trees

Saturday, June 27th
9am – 1pm

Plant Identification II: Shrubs and Beyond

Saturday, June 27th
1pm – 5pm

Backyard Botanist

Developing expertise in pruning, planting, and all things botanical

Single Session: $55
Two-course Package: $100

Backyard Botanist I: Native Botany

Saturday, June 13th
9am – 1pm

Backyard Botanist II: Pruning

Saturday, June 13th
1pm – 5pm

Woodland Ecology

Understanding techniques for creating healthy sustainable forests

Each Session: $100

Basic Chainsaw

Using a saw safely, thoughtfully, and with confidence

Each Session: $125

Basic Chainsaw I: Safety and Felling

Session One: CANCELLED
Session Two: Saturday, November 7th 9am – 4pm

Basic Chainsaw II:
Maintenance and Felling

Session One: CANCELLED
Session Two: Sunday, November 8th 9am – 4pm


Learning to live well in the outdoors

Parent/Child: $45
Complete Wilderness: $100

What to Bring
Participants should bring their own lunch and snacks and clothes suited to the weather as courses are primarily outdoors. We do have bathrooms on-site, a small kitchenette for coffee/tea, and a microwave. Although we provide various equipment for each course, bringing your own tools is always welcome and encouraged.

We use our very own Nature Centre, located on the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead property, as a home base for all of our outdoor activities. Located just 20 minutes east of Charlottetown, the Macphail Woods Nature Centre has a variety of teaching spaces and is surrounded by 140 acres of forest and field. Winding through the property are four trails, a stream and one of the province’s finest remaining examples of our native Acadian forest.

Click here to find us on google maps!

Cancellations and Refunds
All campers are to be prepaid. However, refunds are accepted up until 2 weeks before the camp date. You will receive a full refund up until a month before the class date. Half the class cost will be refunded if you cancel between a month and 2 week before the class. If you would like to cancel within two weeks of the class no refund will be issued.

All registrations are made online through Active Network’s Camp and Class manager. If you have any difficulties or would prefer to register with us directly, please contact us at or by phone: (902)651-2575.

Upcoming Events

9:00 am SWE Woodland Ecology I: Introduc...
SWE Woodland Ecology I: Introduc...
Oct 3 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Woodland Ecology I: Introduction to Forest Stewardship This course helps landowners gain the knowledge and skills they need to enjoy, improve and manage their own woodlot whether it be creating better access, harvesting wood or
2:00 pm Autumn in the Forest
Autumn in the Forest
Oct 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.
9:00 am SWE Basic Chainsaw I: Safety and...
SWE Basic Chainsaw I: Safety and...
Nov 7 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Basic Chainsaw I: Safety and Felling Spring Session: Saturday, April 11th Fall Session: Saturday,November 7th When trying to manage a forest, being informed about the specific composition of species, soils, water and light is a
9:00 am SWE Basic Chainsaw II: Maintenan...
SWE Basic Chainsaw II: Maintenan...
Nov 8 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Basic Chainsaw II: Maintenance and Felling Spring Session: Sunday, April 12th Fall Session: Sunday,November 8th This course will continue to build on skills learned in Basic Chainsaw I. The morning will be devoted to learning

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