P.E.I.’s sixth annual winter woodlot tour will be bigger, with more interactive activities than in previous years, organizers say.

The free family-friendly event is hosted this year by the Wheatley River Improvement Group in North Rustico.

It features both self-guided and guided interpretive walks, presentations on Island plants and wildlife and winter activities such as snowshoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides and maple syrup tapping.

“It’s a great chance to learn about forests as a resource and for recreational purposes as well as just being an important part of the Island environment,” the group’s watershed manager Kayla Nieuwhof told CBC Radio’s Island Morning.

This is the first year the event has received financial support from the P.E.I. Wildlife Conservation Fund’s vehicle licence plate sale programand the money has helped boost programming, said Nieuwhof.

Improving forest health

Gary Snider, project co-ordinator of the McPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, will host a walk on improving forest health and the importance of managing wildlife habitats.

Another tour will feature nesting box stations for a variety of birds and owls.

“The boxes are great to enhance private woodlots and provide homes for these animals that typically nest in cavities,” said Nieuwhof. “And these hollows in trees are in decline right now because a lot of dead trees are being cut out of the woods.”

The event is also hosted by the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group, Central Queens Wildlife Federation, and the Department of Communities, Land and Environment.

The Island Nature Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada on P.E.I. have also come on board as presenters.

The event takes place on Jan. 30, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2289 Church Road in North Rustico. The storm date is Feb. 6.