NCC Magazine - Winter 2023
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Sharing the path to conservation success with
Canadians from all walks of life
WINTER 2021 1
Nature Conservancy of Canada
4 Deep snooze
Learn about how
some animals bear
the Canadian winters.
A protected area of
7 Tree ID
Tips on identifying trees
in the winter.
7 Let’s dance
The wild landscapes of the
Yukon set the stage for dancing.
8 A seat for everyone
at the table
In communities across the
country, people of all
backgrounds are working
together to care for nature.
12 Made for snow
With its snowshoe-like paws
and thick hair, Canada lynx
thrives in deep snow.
14 Puzzle pieces
Diane Griffin on conserving
Prince Edward Island land,
piece by piece.
16 Project updates
Investing in tomorrow’s leaders;
other effective area-based
conservation measures; NHCP
18 Some dreams do
A childhood dream comes true
Check out our online magazine page with
additional content to supplement this issue,
Nature Conservancy of Canada
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The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. We seek
solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale,
permanent land conservation. NCC is a registered charity. With nature, we build a thriving world.
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2 FALL 2022 natureconservancy.ca
PEI National Park.
FROM TOP: GENEVIEVE LESIEUR; COURTESY JACQUES PERRAULT; COURTESY JOHN E. MARRIOTT.
Last December, Canada welcomed the world in Montreal for
COP15. Dubbed the NatureCOP, this UN Biodiversity conference
set the stage for what the world will work toward between now
and 2030 to halt and reverse the loss of nature. The Nature Conservancy
of Canada (NCC) was there, as part of the Canadian delegation, and in its
own right as an accredited observer organization under the Convention
for Biological Diversity. We actively participated, showcased NCC expertise
and projects that deliver on-the-ground results, and voiced our ambition
to achieve a nature-positive future. Already a reliable partner to all
governments in Canada, NCC has a plan to protect and conserve more
critical biodiversity habitats, faster, by partnering with the private sector
and local communities. NCC also acknowledges the critical role of indigenous
Peoples in meeting these goals, as they have protected and
cared for the natural areas, plants and wildlife that have sustained them
for millennia. When nature thrives, people thrive, and resilient landscapes
require collaboration for long-term success!
After participating in two weeks of intense discussions, NCC was
thrilled to join the world in celebrating all delegates in the successful
signing of a global agreement to protect the world’s biodiversity. The
plan provides a framework for conservation organizations, individuals,
governments and groups to deliver on its ambitious goals.
We are committed to leading through innovation, enabling new ways
to accelerate conservation through such means as supporting Indigenous
Protected and Conserved Areas, other effective means of conservation
and new sources of private investment in conservation.
With NCC, you are accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada,
which has global impact. This issue’s feature story explores what can
happen when people from all sectors of society come together with
a common vision of building a thriving world with nature. Together, we
can, and must, do more. We need to find our collective footing and help
each other activate solutions.
We know there has never been a more important time for nature, nor
a greater need for the mission of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Our
strategic plan supports the Global Biodiversity Framework’s goals. We
are already accelerating the pace of conservation, and are ready to do
more, to build a thriving world with nature. Because when nature thrives,
we all thrive.
Thank you as always for your ongoing support,
President and CEO, NCC
Jacques Perrault is a
and former art director
at an advertising agency.
He has illustrated several
book series, including
for Time-Life, Meredith
and Sunset. He lives and
works in Saint-Adolphe
Jacques illustrated the
map of the Tourbière
de Venise-Ouest Nature
Reserve on page 6.
John E. Marriott is
one of Canada’s premier
prides himself on being
a conservation photographer
wilderness scenes and
animals in their natural
habitats. John photographed
lynx on pages 12 and 13.
WINTER 2023 3
Learn about five animals and how
they bear the Canadian winters
We often think of the saying “you snooze, you
lose” as a missed opportunity, but in the case
of certain animals, a good slumber is vital to
their winter survival.
Across the landscape, as the cold permeates and the
days get shorter, the surrounding nature looks more still
too. For some animals, their instinct is to enter a dormant
state to conserve their bodily resources until spring.
This is often referred to as hibernation, though not all
animals that enter a state of dormancy in the winter are
ALAMY STOCK PHOTO.
4 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca
TOP TO BOTTOM: ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; MIKE CRANE; MIKE DEMBECK; WALTER LATTER; CORY OLSON; MIKE DEMBECK; ALAMY STOCK PHOTO.
Known by many
as gophers, Richardson’s
have one of the longest
hibernations of any
animal in Canada.
Adult males may enter
hibernation as early
as July and remain
that way for as long
as 210 days. Females
and their young start
their slumber a bit later,
as the ground starts
to freeze in the fall.
They are not seen
again until the snow
and ice start to recede
in March or April.
Some of the places
Contrary to popular belief, bears aren’t true
hibernators; instead they go into torpor. Hibernation
is characterized by a significant reduction in body temperature,
heart rate, breathing rate and metabolic rate. Torpor is a lighter state
of dormancy that typically doesn’t last as long as hibernation. Bears
can wake up from torpor to drink water or give birth, and then go
back to sleep!
Some of the places they’re found:
A couple of bears use NCC’s Nebo project in Saskatchewan regularly,
including a female with cubs.
A nice group huddle is how common
gartersnakes, the most widespread of several
species of gartersnakes found in Canada,
like to get through the winter. While some
snakes are solitary, gartersnakes congregate
in a hibernaculum, a refuge used during
a period of winter dormancy. For snakes, this
dormancy is called brumation.
Some of the places they’re found:
Most NCC-protected areas in southern BC.
Pulling a duvet over your head is what many people do to “hibernate.” So
do wood frogs, sort of! This species finds a crevice in a log or a thick pile
of leaves and settles in for brumation. These frogs also have anti-freeze
proteins to help them survive the deep cold of winter.
Some of the places they’re found:
Most wooded NCC properties from Outaouais to Gaspésie, Quebec.
Little brown bat
In late summer and fall, little brown bats migrate from their summer roosts to caves
and mines, where they hibernate from October/November to March/April. Bats
fly to caves and abandoned mines for hibernation, preferring the humid
environment and above-freezing temperatures they provide. The conditions
that bats favour for hibernacula are unfortunately similar to those that suit
the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that
causes bats to wake up more than usual in hibernation, which depletes
their limited energy reserves. White-nose syndrome is responsible for
massive declines in little brown bat populations.
Some of the places they’re found:
Little brown bats have the widest distribution of all bat species in
Canada. NCC nature reserves throughout the Prairies provide important
foraging and breeding habitat for this species.
WINTER 2023 5
A protected area of ecologically significant
peatland on the north shore of Lake Champlain
The Tourbière de Venise-Ouest Nature Reserve is on the north
shore of Lake Champlain, 70 kilometres southeast of Montreal.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada-protected area covers
380 hectares, including 80 per cent of the peatland in the reserve.
The peatland here is home to several rare species and serves a
number of important ecological roles, including helping to maintain
the water quality of Missisquoi Bay (in the northern part of Lake
Champlain) by filtering it as it passes through. The peatland also lessens
the impact of the lake’s seasonal flooding, acting as a sponge that initially
absorbs the overflow and then gradually releases it.
As several plants and animals can only be found in peatlands
due to the unique conditions these habitats provide, the peatland’s
presence means greater biodiversity for an entire region. Around
100 bird species, such as least bittern, and several species of mammals,
amphibians and reptiles, such as painted turtle, can be found here.
The peatland is also home to approximately 15 species at risk, one
of which, bog fern, can only be found in two other places in Quebec.
Conserving the peatland is vital for this species’ survival in the province.
Year-round exploring here means more opportunity to connect
with nature. In winter, visitors can strap on cross-country skis and
meander along the snowy landscape. Spring flooding provides a new
perspective on the role and importance of the property’s wetlands.
In summer, the three-kilometre trail, rated easy, offers great views of
the wetlands, so don’t forget your binoculars. And the forests on the
northern part of the trail are a burst of stunning colours come fall.1
51e Rue O
For more information, visit natureconservancy.ca/veniseouest
-- Sentier du ruisseau
-- Sentier de la nature
SPECIES TO SPOT
• blue-winged teal
• bog fern
• eastern kingbird
• eastern phoebe
• eastern screech owl
• gray treefrog
• hooded merganser
• wood duck
• wood frog
LEFT TO RIGHT: MONIQUE LÉTOURNEAU; FRANÇOIS VILLENEUVE; NCC;
ROBERT MCCAW. MAP: JACQUES PERRAULT.
6 WINTER 2023
Tips for tree identification in
the winter months
The distinctive leaves of many trees, such as sugar
maple, can provide a sense of familiarity in spring
and summer. As many trees shed their leaves in the
fall, it can be more challenging to tell them apart.
However, the clues are there — you just have to
know what to look for. Grab a field guide, or an app
like iNaturalist, and read on to become a winter
tree ID pro.
To narrow down a tree
species, start from a distance.
Is the tree a conifer, generally
keeping its needles all year,
or is it deciduous, losing its
leaves in the fall? If it’s deciduous, look at the shape
of the tree. Do the branches spread outward from
the trunk horizontally, or reach vertically toward the
sky? Compare, for example, the narrow profile of
a birch against the wide crown of an oak.
ILLUSTRATION: BELLE WUTHRICH. PHOTO: PETER MATHER.
TWIGS AND BUDS
Get up close and look at the
tree’s twigs. Are the buds
— the nubs that will turn into
leaves — located opposite
each other on the twig, or do
they alternate? If there are no buds, look for scars
where the leaves were. Opposite arrangements
have buds or leaf scars in pairs at each node, such
as maple and ash. Alternating arrangements have
a single bud or leaf scar per node on alternating
sides of the twig, and include poplar, oak and birch.
If buds are present, compare their size, colour
and texture against a field guide reference. Some
easily identifiable buds include oak (clustered bud
ends) and basswood (bright red buds).
Up close, tree bark can be
identified by sight and touch.
Is it white, grey or a darker
brown/black? Does it feel
smooth, coarse or flaky? With
practice, the silver gleam of white birch or the
reddish-brown of black cherry can become just as
recognizable as their leaves.
Gurdeep Pandher is bringing Bhangra to screens around the
world. With the wild landscapes of the Yukon often setting
the scene, nature dances along with him.
Ispent my childhood on my family’s farm, which nurtured my deep and lifelong
affinity for nature; a passion that weaves its way through my writing and dancing.
Bhangra as a dance form was created out in nature in Punjab. Here in the
Yukon, when I dance outside, it connects me to the roots of this dance form.
I moved to Canada in 2006 from the small village of Siahar in Punjab, making
my home in several cities across Canada, from Saskatoon to Whitehorse in 2011,
where I live now. The Yukon is unlike any other place in Canada, with landscapes
characterized by raw, quiet stretches of undisturbed nature. These wild spaces
bring a peace and inspiration to me that translates through dance.
The nature here is dancing 24/7, so when I dance, I feel like nature and I are
together. It’s a companionship, and we are one. I carry this sentiment with me
while I dance.
I dance my way through life with an open mind and heart, both guided by the
solace I find through my love for nature.
I hope everyone can create joy in nature, carry it with them and then share it
with the world.1
WINTER 2023 7
Waterton Park Front, Alberta
8 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca
In communities across the country, people of all
backgrounds — industry, civil society, landowners,
volunteers, Indigenous communities, business
owners and governments — are working together to
care for natural areas and the species that live in them
BY Christine Beevis Trickett and Jensen Edwards
When snow melts atop
the peaks of the Rocky
Mountains, droplets flow
and form the great rivers
that nourish and connect our communities.
Nature, after all, knows no bounds.
In southwest Alberta, tributaries tumble
down from jagged peaks into rivers that
weave east, through privately conserved
working ranches and neighbouring national
parks. Life here is protected for the long
term, thanks to the vision of a former business
executive and his family. Beyond, the
rivers widen as they reach open prairie,
where they nourish grasses and the thirsty
cows and bison that graze these conserved
landscapes, protected by livestock producers
who are empowered by the investment of
a large, private foundation.
To the east, the great rivers then swell
into the Great Lakes downstream. At their far
reach, two landowners, so inspired by the provincially
supported restoration efforts of the endangered
oak savannah around them, donate
their land, with the support of a government
program, amplifying the impact of local conservation
efforts. Nearby, an insurance firm
teams up with conservationists to fund investment
in finance tools to protect wetlands.
Here, the water turns salty and is absorbed
by the red sand and wetlands of an offshore
island near PEI. This is where conservationists
and the local Indigenous community,
connected by a love of the land, are putting
Reconciliation into action.
Across these ecosystems, nature is bound
together by migrating birds, drifting plant
seeds, ranging mammals and flowing water.
And just as each one plays a role in the
WINTER 2023 9
alance of biodiversity, so too do we. Nature
needs us all to ensure its protection, now.
For six decades, the Nature Conservancy
of Canada (NCC) has collaborated with and
mobilized individuals, communities, businesses
and governments to achieve significant
results. NCC brings together people
who share a common purpose: to build a
thriving world with nature. This collaborative
approach to conservation empowers
others, often from very different and sometimes
unconventional backgrounds, to come
together, think big and leverage innovation
to deliver impact on the ground.
Dawn Carr, director of strategic conservation
for NCC, describes this approach to conservation
as “whole of society.” She adds that
the urgency and scale of the biodiversity and
climate crises are so large that no single institution,
government or community alone is
able to ensure a thriving natural world. Only
by working together will we be able to reset
our relationship with nature.
“There is a role for everyone across society
to build a resilient natural world,” notes Carr.
This approach is essential if NCC is to
double its impact by 2030, and if it is to support
Canada’s commitment to conserve 30 per
cent of its lands and waters by the end of the
decade to ensure a nature-positive future.
NCC is poised to continue to deliver results
and accelerate conservation by bringing
together partners across sectors — from
rangeland producers, to resource sector companies,
foundations and corporations, individuals
and communities, researchers and governments
at all levels — to leverage innovative
solutions to dealing with two of the
world’s most pressing issues.
“The urgency of the climate and biodiversity
loss crises demands we do more, faster,”
says Carr. “These kinds of collaborations
bring not only more person power to address
these issues. When individuals collaborate
across sectors, deeper synergies are built
that can propel new, innovative conservation
models with deep, lasting impact.”
In the next two pages, we celebrate a
whole-of-society approach to conservation,
with examples of what can happen when
people from different walks of life work
together to put nature first.
“We know conservation requires all of us,”
says Carr. “All of society — people, government,
industry and more — needs to work
together now to reverse biodiversity loss.”
SCAN FOR A FULL
LIST OF PEOPLE
TO MAKE THESE
The Yarrow; Inset: Charlie Fischer.
The Yarrow (AB)
Once owned by a business executive, the late Charlie Fischer, this special project
is being conserved thanks to the vision of his family, who collaborated with NCC to
secure The Yarrow, in the Waterton Park Front area. “For our family, we feel we can
honour Charlie’s vision for this beautiful location — a spectacular landscape, which
he loved and wished to conserve — by ensuring it will thrive for generations,” reflects
the Fischer-Cuthbertson family.
NCC’s campaign to inspire Canadians from coast to coast to help secure this
special project was kick-started with support from individuals, governments and
The Yarrow is NCC’s latest in a patchwork of numerous partnership projects in
the Waterton Park Front. For over 30 years, NCC has collaborated with ranchers and
landowners to care for more than 13,000 hectares in the area. Once conserved, The
Yarrow will directly build on these efforts and support not only the species that live
here, but also the health and well-being of the region’s headwaters, the security of
food production and the protection of nature’s beauty for generations. Help make this
project a reality at TheYarrow.ca.
O’Neill project, ON.
The O’Neill project is what happens when you make friends
with neighbours. Landowners John O’Neill and his late partner
Colin had volunteered for years, restoring the native
ecosystems on the property next door, which happened to
be NCC’s Hazel Bird Nature Reserve. They saw the impact
NCC’s work could have on their own land too.
“After Colin’s death in 2013, the issue of what to do with
the land became more urgent for me,” reflects O’Neill. “Donating
the land to NCC during my lifetime seemed a logical
solution: it would allow NCC to begin rehabilitation now,
rather than later, and it will give me the pleasure of watching
that progress over the upcoming years.”
O’Neill’s donation, through the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program,
grew the reserve by one-third, multiplying NCC’s conservation efforts in Ontario’s
endangered oak savannahs.
With the help of volunteers like O’Neill and support from Ontario’s Greenlands Conservation
Partnership, NCC is caring for this rare ecosystem by planting native grasses
and wildflowers and conducting prescribed burns. NCC plans to expand the trail network
from the Hazel Bird Nature Reserve onto the neighbouring O’Neill property, further
connecting these conserved lands and expanding the impact of these efforts.
TOP TO BOTTOM: BRENT CALVER; FISCHER FAMILY; CHELSEA MARCANTONIO/NCC STAFF.
10 WINTER 2023
Malbaie Salt Marsh
NCC and the local community in Percé,
Quebec, have joined with a number of
groups, including provincial and federal
government, industry and private donors,
and more, to forge a powerful partnership
that is holding back the sands of the Malbaie
Salt Marsh against erosion. Thanks
to the economic support of these groups,
and the toiling hands of volunteers, the
health of the marsh is now secured.
Through this extensive partnership
project, volunteers have planted hundreds
of trees and grasses and set up 18 sand
catchers to stabilize and restore dunes
along the sandbar affected by erosion.
The partnership has also supported the
construction of viewing platforms, beach
access ramps and a 1.2-kilometre trail for
visitors to walk and cycle along the marsh.
Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar, QC.
Kwesawe’k/Oulton’s Island, PEI.
Conservation achieved through collaboration
with Indigenous Peoples is an important
form of Reconciliation. The Epekwitnewaq
Mi’kmaq and NCC are taking steps that work
toward this shared goal. Working with the
community, NCC is leading efforts to secure
the land. NCC and the community will then
care for the land for the next five years. The
island will eventually be returned to the
“Our people have always been guardians
of the natural world, and we are pleased to
continue that tradition while partnering with
like-minded organizations such as NCC. Collaboration
on conservation with Indigenous
people is both valuable and essential for all,”
says Darlene Bernard, Lennox Island First
Nation Chief & Epekwitk Assembly of Councils
Co-Chair. “The Mi’kmaq have occupied
Epekwitk for over 12,000 years, and our deep
cultural roots and relationship to the lands
and waters are forever entrenched. We look
forward to protecting and conserving this important
part of Epekwitk together for generations
to come.” Help make this project a reality.
Tenh Dzetle Conservancy
Located in northwestern BC in Tahltan
territory, the land was originally proposed
to be part of Mount Edziza Provincial
Park but was not included at the time
due to challenges resolving mineral
claims. A partnership between the Tahltan
Central Government, the Province of British
Columbia, Skeena Resources Limited,
NCC and BC Parks Foundation led to the
removal of all mineral tenures in the area.
This was a critical step in providing for
the full protection of the land’s cultural
and ecological values.
“Mount Edziza and the surrounding
area has always been sacred to the
Tahltan Nation. The obsidian from this
portion of our territory provided us
with weaponry, tools and trading goods
that ensured our Tahltan people could
thrive for thousands of years,” says
Chad Norman Day, president of Tahltan
Central Government, who sees this
as an initiative we can all take pride in.
“I am so relieved and thrilled that
Mount Edziza is better protected for
our future generations.”1
TOP TO BOTTOM: STEPHEN DESROCHES; DANIEL THIBAULT; BRENT CALVER.
Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative (AB/SK/MB)
A deep love of working landscapes, with a focus on sustainability and longevity, is the common bond that connects
ranchers, conservation groups and donors. “When these groups collaborate, their unique perspectives and diverse
backgrounds spark new approaches, propelling innovation in land use and conservation,” reflects Tamara Carter,
director, prairie grassland conservation at NCC. “Their shared values underpin a common vision of producing healthy
and nutritious foods in a sustainable manner that prioritizes environmental stewardship on working landscapes, for
today and for future generations.”
The Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative – Stewardship Investment Program is a multi-year collaboration
(2021–2024) to celebrate, steward and protect one of Canada’s most ecologically valuable and threatened ecosystems:
native prairie grasslands. Through this initiative, the Weston Family Foundation is bringing together
a diverse group of individuals and organizations to accelerate the adoption of sustainable approaches to help
conserve grasslands and improve farm sustainability and viability.
WINTER 2023 11
With its snowshoe-like paws and thick hair, this cat thrives in deep snow
JOHN E. MARRIOTT.
12 WINTER 2023
These seldom-seen creatures are
smaller than cougars and slightly larger
than bobcats. Canada lynx has a short tail, long
back legs and prominent ear tufts. Its large paws
are covered in thick coarse hair and its toes spread
out and function like snowshoes, helping
it travel and hunt in deep snow. Since Canada
lynx cannot run fast, it must stalk and ambush prey
from a close distance.
In winter, its coat is light grey and its ear tufts
and tail tip are black. In summer, its much
shorter coat is reddish-brown.
Canada lynx can be found in
intact forests across Canada and
Alaska. Its distribution stretches
south of the Canadian border
through the Rocky Mountains, in
American states surrounding the
Great Lakes and northern
is doing to
for this species
JOHN E. MARRIOTT.
The overall Canadian population
is secure, though it has declined in
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In
Canada, the biggest threat to Canada lynx
is trapping, along with the decline of
snowshoe hare populations, the lynx’s
main prey. In southern parts of its
range, habitat loss and degradation
threaten this species.
Canada lynx generally inhabit
forested areas, favouring boreal
forests with dense undercover. That
said, this species, being a carnivore
and partial to snowshoe hares, can
be found in other types of
habitat with suitable prey.
Help protect habitat for
species at risk at
One of the ways the
of Canada (NCC) is
addressing the habitat
needs for lynx is through
conservation work in
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
NCC has been working
on Cape Breton Island
since 1971, and has
properties here to provide
wildlife corridors for
such as Canada lynx. The
properties include diverse
Wabanaki (Acadian) forest
and a wetland supporting
a provincially significant
group of rare plants.
By providing habitat
connectivity, NCC is
helping maintain biological
diversity and reduce
the loss of plant and
WINTER 2023 13
of a puzzle
Diane Griffin on conserving Prince Edward Island land, piece by piece
14 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca
Senses can unlock memories, and the peppery
smell of bayberries transports Diane Griffin to
a rainy July day at Greenwich Beach on Prince
Edward Island’s north shore.
ALAMY STOCK PHOTO.
Griffin was a university summer student, cataloguing the plant and
animal species found around Greenwich Beach’s pristine sand dunes
and wetlands. It was the start of a long career with a focus on conservation,
but she was feeling like a drowned rat, writing on soggy
paper while water ran off her raincoat into her rubber boots. Despite
the weather, Greenwich Beach left an impression on her.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, this area is so special,’” says
Griffin. “I’d never seen anything like it.”
Years later, she found herself taking the Lieutenant Governor
of Prince Edward Island on a nature tour of Greenwich Beach, now
a part of PEI National Park.
Griffin recently joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s)
Atlantic Region board of directors, bringing with her years of experience
working in municipal, provincial and federal governments, as
well as non-profits. She is a former senator for PEI, serving from
2016 to 2022.
Her passion has always been land conservation, as a valuable
legacy for the future.
Growing up on a PEI dairy farm meant she had an early introduction
to what grew in the area. “There were the weeds, but it was
a great start,” laughs Griffin. She joined her local 4H club and learned
more, steering her toward an education in botany.
After working in conservation in Alberta and PEI, Griffin served
as PEI’s deputy minister for Fisheries and Environment. In 2008,
she joined NCC as the PEI program director. She later was a town
councillor for Stratford, PEI.
Conservation is of crucial importance for
biodiversity, but the benefits for people’s
physical and mental well-being of having
a natural space is just as important.
Canada’s most densely populated province, PEI has been extensively
impacted by human activity. While working with NCC, Griffin
looked for opportunities to conserve small parcels of land as part of
a larger whole.
Thinking about it like a jigsaw puzzle, Griffin says, “You know
what the picture looks like on the cover. Getting those pieces in,
that’s the work.” Griffin believes restoration strategies will become
more important in returning land to its natural state and helping
to connect those pieces.
LEAVING A LEGACY
Canada’s target of conserving 30 per cent of its lands and oceans by
2030 presents an opportunity for individual landowners to have an
impactful role in conversation and supporting biodiversity, says Griffin.
“They love the land they’ve got. Maybe it has wetlands, maybe
it has a forest, or sand dunes. All these natural features that are of
interest — and great wildlife habitat. They’re wanting to keep the
land the way it is,” she says.
Greenwich Beach, PEI National Park.
Natural areas across PEI, including Greenwich
Beach and all of NCC’s projects on the
island, experienced significant impact from
Hurricane Fiona and are under long-term
repair and clean up. Severe weather events
are increasing in frequency as a result of
Working with an organization like NCC
and donating their land ensures its protection,
“I think a lot of people are interested in
leaving something that will be a legacy for future
generations,” she says. “And the natural
lands they have is one way they can do that.”
Griffin acknowledges the crucial importance
of conservation for biodiversity, while
also noting the benefits for people’s physical
and mental well-being.
“Especially in an urban environment
with traffic and noise, to get to an area
where it’s green, the water is flowing and
there are trails to walk, to slow down the
pace of one’s life...the mental health aspect
is huge,” says Griffin.
While she has no intention of slowing
down, Griffin looks back on a life spent
promoting conservation, and a memory of
where it all began.
“Every time I go to Greenwich, I still
have to rub some bayberry leaves between
my fingers for that smell.”1
WINTER 2023 15
Investing in tomorrow’s leaders
Your support has made these
projects possible. Learn more at
The Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) Weston Family
Conservation Science Fellowship Program supports and trains
graduate students to become next-generation leaders in applied
conservation science. Research by Fellows supports the conservation
and management of important natural areas and biodiversity across
Canada, with a focus on NCC lands and priority research questions. We
welcomed three students in 2022:
Amy Wiedenfeld is studying the population dynamics of at-risk plant
species in southern Ontario, which may inform rare plant conservation
and reintroduction. She has always had an innate love of plants and wants
to dispel the misperception that they are uninteresting. She is a PhD student
at the University of Lethbridge.
Brielle Reidlinger is studying the impact of grassland management
activities (grazing) on songbird communities. This project combines her
experience growing up in a ranching community with her passion for
birds and grassland conservation. She is a masters of science student at
the University of Saskatchewan.
Jessica Sánchez-Jasso is examining the effectiveness of grassland
management activities for maintaining suitable habitat for two endangered
butterflies. With experience studying butterflies in Mexico, she
looks forward to continuing to do what she loves: applied conservation
research. She is a PhD student at the University of Winnipeg.
This program is made possible through the support of the Weston Family
BOBOLINK: JASON BANTLE. PORTRAITS COURTESY BOB WILLIAMS, JESSICA SÁNCHEZ-JASSO, BRIELLE REIDLINGER, AMY WIEDENFELD.
I was raised on the banks of the
Assiniboine River in Winnipeg. [When
I was young,] my dad would teach
me the difference between the snow
tracks of a squirrel, a rabbit and a fox,
and it inspired my passion for Mother
Nature. I have concluded that all
species are at risk for one reason, and
that is the loss of habitat. The Nature
Conservancy of Canada gives us an
opportunity to save the bears, the
butterflies, the fish and their habitats,
all at the same time. Their work is driven
by extensive research, and it has
been my privilege to have served on
NCC’s board and walked some incredible
properties in my home province
with staff and researchers. What a
great feeling to stand on a property
that you know will be the same for
your great grandchildren. I call that
a definite win/win.
Left to right: Jessica Sánchez-Jasso, Brielle Reidlinger, Amy Wiedenfeld.
~ Bob Williams,
board member from 2013
16 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca
Restigouche River, New Brunswick
HARE: ALAMY STOCK PHOTO. LONETREE LAKE: GABE DIPPLE. RESTIGOUCHE RIVER: J.D. IRVING, LIMITED.
Thanks to the leadership of J.D. Irving Limited (JDI), nearly 10,000 hectares of privately held Acadian
forest, coastline and dunes in New Brunswick will be recognized as an other effective area-based
conservation measure (OECM). The announcement of this initiative was made at NCC’s international
panel discussion during the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal. During the event,
Gaining Ground by Investing in Conservation, global experts joined in to share solutions as leadership
and investment opportunities to accelerate the nature agenda.
These lands are some of the province’s most unique and biodiverse areas, including the Irving Nature
Park in west Saint John, Bouctouche Dunes, Ayers Lake and the headwaters of the Miramichi and Restigouche
rivers. They provide habitat for animals like pine marten and endangered piping plover. OECMs
are areas that provide conservation benefits but are not managed primarily for the protection of nature.
For the last 20 years, the area has been managed with the intent of long-term conservation through
JDI’s voluntary conservation areas program. The project is a concrete example of a whole-of-society
approach to accelerating conservation.
Thanks to the extension of Environment and Climate Change
Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP),
NCC will be conserving at least an additional 130,000 hectares
of priority natural habitat over the next three years.
Lands protected and cared for by NCC under the NHCP
will continue to provide benefits for species at risk and migratory
birds, and ensure the health and connectedness of natural systems.
NCC commits to mobilizing support across all sectors — private
citizens, Indigenous communities, landowners, governments, industry
— in a whole-of-society approach to halting and reversing
the loss of nature. By engaging everyone NCC will match funds
from the Government of Canada with non-federal sources to maximize
impact and protect the spaces that Canadians cherish.1
Lonetree Lake, Saskatchewan
In 2020, UNIQLO made a
commitment to support NCC
in accelerating conservation
and protecting natural habitats
from coast to coast to coast.
UNIQLO donates the equivalent
of 50 per cent of the proceeds of
every paper bag sold in its stores
throughout Canada to NCC.
These bags are made of 40 per
cent post-consumer waste,
furthering conservation efforts.
A clothing company with
Japanese roots that began its
operations in Canada in 2015,
its local and global initiatives
are designed to foster a better
future for our planet and
society. With the support of its
in-store paper bag program,
UNIQLO provides NCC with the
resources needed to exceed
ambitious conservation goals.
UNIQLO's commitment to NCC
helps protect Canada's biodiversity,
now and into the future.
WINTER 2023 17
Wild dreams come true
By Matthew Braun, NCC program director in Saskatchewan
Wildlife encounters during my rural Saskatchewan
childhood were rare. That’s why I remember, pretty
vividly, a school trip to the boreal transition forests
of Prince Albert National Park, about two hours north of my
home. The bus driver spotted a black bear on the edge of the
road, which would have been my closest contact with something
really wild. Even then, just the idea of a bear was exciting
enough to sear the memory into my brain.
Fast forward to 2016, when my work managing some of the
Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) forested properties
in Saskatchewan had me crashing through a property on the
edge of the Touchwood Hills.
While meandering the property, we stumbled on (almost literally!)
a pit dug by the crew that cleared the original property
right-of-way. We noticed a large hole in the side of the pit in this
otherwise relatively flat portion of the property. Despite having
seen plenty of bears by this time in my career, I’d still never
seen an actual bear den before, and I always assumed (hoped?)
they were a little more exotic than a hole in the side of a hole.
Once we finally agreed this could only be a bear den, we had
to decide who had to stick their head in to see if anyone was
home. I honestly don’t remember who put their head through
the cobwebbed entrance, but it was pretty exciting even when
it was obvious it was abandoned. It was a chilly fall day, and we
didn’t see any wildlife the rest of the day.
A couple of years later, I was alone on the property. It was
close to the middle of one of the hottest field days I’ve had.
I was crashing around with my eyes on the ground looking for
the shrubs, flowers and any signs of soil disturbance to help
me describe the ecosystem.
I don’t remember exactly what tipped me off and caused me
to put my head up. But when I did, I noticed two black bear
cubs being chased up a tree by a mama bear looking as irritable
as I felt, but with a bit more muscle to back it up.
I don’t want to give people the impression that I wasn’t taking
appropriate precautions. As she clacked her teeth at me, warning
me to stay back, I fumbled in my pocket for my camera to
take what would have been the closest/coolest bear photo yet.
I managed one blurry photo of a shrub. She and I went our separate
ways, and I didn’t even get a decent picture.
I decided to conduct the rest of my assessments on a different
part of the property. Later, I startled a moose and ended
up dodging an imaginary animal crashing through the woods
(it was still hot, and my brain had given up) by wading through
a thigh-deep slough as a shortcut to my vehicle to finish my
day. It doesn’t seem like enough to say that we manage some
pretty cool lands with unexpected benefits, or that you should
be careful what you wish for as a kid, because you just might
18 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca
Your passion for Canada’s natural spaces defines your life; now it can define
your legacy. With a gift in your Will to the Nature Conservancy of Canada,
no matter the size, you can help protect our most vulnerable habitats and the
wildlife that live there. For today, for tomorrow and for generations to come.
Order your free Legacy Information Booklet today.
Call Marcella at 1-877-231-3552 x 2276 or visit DefineYourLegacy.ca
a way of life
Globally rare and iconic tall
grass prairies are quickly
disappearing. In Manitoba,
you are contributing to saving
this endangered ecosystem
within an hour of Winnipeg at
Interlake. The 2,700-hectare
Lake Ranch sustains not only
species at risk and expansive
wetlands, but also continues
to feed and foster the prairie
lives that depend on it.
Thank you for all you do for nature in Canada!
At more than twice the size
of Toronto, Boreal Wildlands
was conserved thanks to
thousands of supporters
like you in just five months,
making it the largest private
land conservation project
in Canada’s history! This
harbours more than 100 lakes
and 1,300 kilometres of rivers,
streams and shoreline as well
as natural corridors for species
at risk. Your conservation of
this area means its forests and
wetlands can remain important
carbon sinks and continue
to absorb vast amounts of
greenhouse gas emissions.
TOP: THOMAS FRICKE. BOTTOM: ANDREW WARREN.