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About the South West Chapter

The South West Woodlot Association (SWWA) geographically includes the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, County of Essex, and County of Lambton, encompassing Canada’s most southerly region, bordered by Lake Huron to the north, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River to the west, and Lake Erie to the south. We are within the Carolinian Ecological Zone. 

A group of woodlot owners established the Lambton County Woodlot Owners Association in 1994. In 2005 the Association voted to join the Ontario Woodlot Association. It became the South West Woodlot Association in 2016, reflecting the broader area of Ontario’s deep south.  

The SWWA shares the goal of the OWA and sister chapters of educating and supporting both landowners and interested citizens towards achieving the environmental, social, and economic benefits of active forest management.

Our moderate climate, adequate rainfall, and wide-ranging soil types allow for a rich variety of deciduous trees and shrubs. Lambton County lies at the northern limit for many species found nowhere else in Canada. Some well known Carolinian trees include the Tulip Tree, Sassafras, Sycamore, Kentucky Coffee Tree and Paw Paw.

In promoting woodlots and their importance, the South West chapter holds educational events throughout the year. We plan Spring and Fall tours to local woodlots, with commentary by a Forester or nature expert.  A highlight is the Annual Information Day and Bus Tour (usually in August) with, for example, stops at woodlots of interest, nature reserves, woodworking shops, sawmills, and other wood industry locations of interest.  

In recognition of local woodlot owners who display good woodlot management practices, a yearly Woodlot Management Award has been established to acknowledge their achievements. 

We partner with The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) and The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA). 

Of interest to SWWA members is the newly updated “Afforestation Guide for Southern Ontario (2022)”.  The guide is publicly available and an extremely useful resource. It is a culmination of many years of expertise from forestry experts and highly skilled practitioners representing a number or organizations including the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNDMNRF), Conservation Authorities, private consultants, Forests Ontario, nurseries, academic and research institutions, and a number of other highly esteemed organizations.  To access this resource go to the  Landing page: https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-management-guidesSpecial thanks goes to Eric Boysen for his work coordinating the guide.

The South West Chapter invites woodlot owners, families, individuals, and anyone with an interest in trees and forests to become members. (See us on Facebook) 

Chapter Board

President: Dave Ferguson

Vice President: Rick Wilkins

Past President: Betty Hubbell

Secretary: Dave Braet - (519) 882-1829

Directors: Donald Craig, Tom Park and Jessica Smeekens 

SWWA AGM and Information Day

Donald C. Craig 2024 Recipient of  South West Woodlot Association Woodlot Management Award

Attendees at the South West Woodlot Association Annual Meeting and Information Day, held March 2nd in Alvinston, enjoyed two presentations: Sheldon McGregor showed photos and spoke about his passion for seed collecting of native tree and shrub species.  He gathers, cleans, and supplies seeds to several Ontario nurseries.  Jeff Sharp presented on the work of the Forest Gene Conservation Association, an organization with the mandate to conserve and augment the genetic diversity of forests through species conservation, seed management expertise, climate change adaptation, education, and advocacy.

Donald C. Craig was awarded the South West Woodlot Association’s 17th Annual Woodlot Management Award at this annual event. 

Donald owns and manages 50 acres of second growth forest in Southwest Middlesex.  In 1992, he co-founded the Lambton Woodlot Owners Association, which became the South West Chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association.  He also serves on several other organizations dedicated to our natural environment: Tree Canada, Thames Talbot Land Trust, Forests Ontario, and Ontario Professional Foresters Association.  He is a Certified Tree Seed Collector, and has given away many seedlings of rare native species to both individuals and organizations for planting in public areas.  He is a certified Butternut Health Assessor, assisting in the restoration of this endangered species.  He leads woodlot tours for various organizations, sharing his extensive knowledge of trees and shrubs of the forest.  The South West Woodlot Association’s popular Tree Growers Information Day and Bus Tour, held every August, was founded by Donald, and he continues to plan the event.  He records rare and endangered species and forwards the information to the Natural Heritage Information Centre.  During his career with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, Donald promoted Good Forestry Standards through inventories and management plans for private and public woodlots. He continues to offer his services as a Certified Timber Marker and consultant. 

Donald Craig has been recognized for his outstanding contributions by other organizations as well, being the recipient of the Lambton Wildlife Environment Award (2012), the Carolinian Canada Lifetime Achievement Award (2013), and the Ontario Woodlot Association Harry Barr Volunteer Award (2023).   

Sheldon McGregor, of Ancaster, ON, shares his passion for seed collecting for native plant propagation. 

Jeff Sharp, board member of the Forest Gene Conservation Association, speaks about their mandate to conserve the genetic diversity of forests.

Donald C. Craig, winner of the 2024 Woodlot Management Award.

Donald Craig accepts the 2024 Woodlot Management Award, pictured with 2023-2024 President, Betty Hubbell.

2023 Fall Woodlot Tour

2022 Information Day and Bus Tour

Ontario Woodlot Association

10 Campus Dr., Unit 4

Kemptville, Ontario

K0G 1J0

Phone: 613-713-1525
Email: info@ontariowoodlot.com

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