NCC Magazine - Winter 2023

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to shoulder


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.

6 Protecting


A protected area of

ecologically significant


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

program extension.

18 Some dreams do

come true

A childhood dream comes true

in Saskatchewan.

Digital extras

Check out our online magazine page with

additional content to supplement this issue,

at nccmagazine.ca.

Nature Conservancy of Canada

245 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 410 | Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 3J1

magazine@natureconservancy.ca | Phone: 416.932.3202 | Toll-free: 877.231.3552

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.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada Magazine is distributed to donors and supporters of NCC.


Trademarks owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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saving resources by choosing this paper.

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inks by Warrens Waterless Printing. This publication saved 163 trees and 54,252 litres of water*.




2 FALL 2022 natureconservancy.ca

PEI National Park.



Dear friends,

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,

Catherine Grenier

Catherine Grenier

President and CEO, NCC



Jacques Perrault is a

professional illustrator

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

d’Howard, Quebec.

Jacques illustrated the

map of the Tourbière

de Venise-Ouest Nature

Reserve on page 6.

John E. Marriott is

one of Canada’s premier

professional wildlife

photographers. He

prides himself on being

a conservation photographer

known for


wilderness scenes and

wild, free-roaming

animals in their natural

habitats. John photographed

the Canada

lynx on pages 12 and 13.


WINTER 2023 3




ground squirrel



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

true hibernators.


4 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca





Known by many

as gophers, Richardson’s

ground squirrels

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

they’re found:

Hopkins Conservation

Site, Alberta.

Black bear

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.

Wood frog

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



Montée Roy


Tourbière de


Nature Reserve

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

Tourbière de


Nature Reserve

Highway 202

Tourbière de


Nature Reserve



51e Rue O

For more information, visit natureconservancy.ca/veniseouest




-- Sentier du ruisseau


-- Sentier de la nature


• blue-spotted


• blue-winged teal

• bog fern

• eastern kingbird

• eastern phoebe

• eastern screech owl

★ Parking

✿ Interpretive


• gray treefrog

• hooded merganser

• rose-breasted


• wood duck

• wood frog



6 WINTER 2023






No leaves,

no problem

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.



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.



Dance partners

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.”






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

industry alike.

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.

O’Neill (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.


10 WINTER 2023


Malbaie Salt Marsh

sandbar (QC)

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.

Kwesawe’k/Oulton’s Island


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

Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq.

“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.

Visit natureconservancy.ca/oultonsisland.

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


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



Canada lynx

With its snowshoe-like paws and thick hair, this cat thrives in deep snow


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

New England.

What NCC

is doing to

protect habitat

for this species



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

Nature Conservancy

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

strategically acquired

properties here to provide

wildlife corridors for

wide-ranging mammals,

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

animal species.1


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.


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.


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

climate change.

Working with an organization like NCC

and donating their land ensures its protection,

says Griffin.

“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




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

to 2022

16 WINTER 2023 natureconservancy.ca

Restigouche River, New Brunswick


Voluntary conservation


Partner Spotlight


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.


Program extension

accelerates 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

get it.1


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




that sustains

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!



time to

protect nature

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

1,500-square-kilometre project

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.


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