NCC Magazine - Winter 2023

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WINTER <strong>2023</strong><br />

Shoulder<br />

to shoulder<br />


Sharing the path to conservation success with<br />

Canadians from all walks of life<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER 2021 1

WINTER <strong>2023</strong><br />


Nature Conservancy of Canada<br />

4 Deep snooze<br />

Learn about how<br />

some animals bear<br />

the Canadian winters.<br />

6 Protecting<br />

peatland<br />

A protected area of<br />

ecologically significant<br />

peatland.<br />

7 Tree ID<br />

Tips on identifying trees<br />

in the winter.<br />

7 Let’s dance<br />

The wild landscapes of the<br />

Yukon set the stage for dancing.<br />

8 A seat for everyone<br />

at the table<br />

In communities across the<br />

country, people of all<br />

backgrounds are working<br />

together to care for nature.<br />

12 Made for snow<br />

With its snowshoe-like paws<br />

and thick hair, Canada lynx<br />

thrives in deep snow.<br />

14 Puzzle pieces<br />

Diane Griffin on conserving<br />

Prince Edward Island land,<br />

piece by piece.<br />

16 Project updates<br />

Investing in tomorrow’s leaders;<br />

other effective area-based<br />

conservation measures; NHCP<br />

program extension.<br />

18 Some dreams do<br />

come true<br />

A childhood dream comes true<br />

in Saskatchewan.<br />

Digital extras<br />

Check out our online magazine page with<br />

additional content to supplement this issue,<br />

at nccmagazine.ca.<br />

Nature Conservancy of Canada<br />

245 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 410 | Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 3J1<br />

magazine@natureconservancy.ca | Phone: 416.932.3202 | Toll-free: 877.231.3552<br />

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (<strong>NCC</strong>) is the country’s unifying force for nature. We seek<br />

solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale,<br />

permanent land conservation. <strong>NCC</strong> is a registered charity. With nature, we build a thriving world.<br />

The Nature Conservancy of Canada <strong>Magazine</strong> is distributed to donors and supporters of <strong>NCC</strong>.<br />

TM<br />

Trademarks owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.<br />

FSC is not responsible for any calculations on<br />

saving resources by choosing this paper.<br />

Printed on Enviro100 paper, which contains 100% post-consumer fibre, is EcoLogo, Processed Chlorine Free<br />

certified and manufactured in Canada by Rolland using biogas energy. Printed in Canada with vegetable-based<br />

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



*<br />

2 FALL 2022 natureconservancy.ca

PEI National Park.<br />



Dear friends,<br />

Last December, Canada welcomed the world in Montreal for<br />

COP15. Dubbed the NatureCOP, this UN Biodiversity conference<br />

set the stage for what the world will work toward between now<br />

and 2030 to halt and reverse the loss of nature. The Nature Conservancy<br />

of Canada (<strong>NCC</strong>) was there, as part of the Canadian delegation, and in its<br />

own right as an accredited observer organization under the Convention<br />

for Biological Diversity. We actively participated, showcased <strong>NCC</strong> expertise<br />

and projects that deliver on-the-ground results, and voiced our ambition<br />

to achieve a nature-positive future. Already a reliable partner to all<br />

governments in Canada, <strong>NCC</strong> has a plan to protect and conserve more<br />

critical biodiversity habitats, faster, by partnering with the private sector<br />

and local communities. <strong>NCC</strong> also acknowledges the critical role of indigenous<br />

Peoples in meeting these goals, as they have protected and<br />

cared for the natural areas, plants and wildlife that have sustained them<br />

for millennia. When nature thrives, people thrive, and resilient landscapes<br />

require collaboration for long-term success!<br />

After participating in two weeks of intense discussions, <strong>NCC</strong> was<br />

thrilled to join the world in celebrating all delegates in the successful<br />

signing of a global agreement to protect the world’s biodiversity. The<br />

plan provides a framework for conservation organizations, individuals,<br />

governments and groups to deliver on its ambitious goals.<br />

We are committed to leading through innovation, enabling new ways<br />

to accelerate conservation through such means as supporting Indigenous<br />

Protected and Conserved Areas, other effective means of conservation<br />

and new sources of private investment in conservation.<br />

With <strong>NCC</strong>, you are accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada,<br />

which has global impact. This issue’s feature story explores what can<br />

happen when people from all sectors of society come together with<br />

a common vision of building a thriving world with nature. Together, we<br />

can, and must, do more. We need to find our collective footing and help<br />

each other activate solutions.<br />

We know there has never been a more important time for nature, nor<br />

a greater need for the mission of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Our<br />

strategic plan supports the Global Biodiversity Framework’s goals. We<br />

are already accelerating the pace of conservation, and are ready to do<br />

more, to build a thriving world with nature. Because when nature thrives,<br />

we all thrive.<br />

Thank you as always for your ongoing support,<br />

Catherine Grenier<br />

Catherine Grenier<br />

President and CEO, <strong>NCC</strong><br />

Featured<br />

Contributors<br />

Jacques Perrault is a<br />

professional illustrator<br />

and former art director<br />

at an advertising agency.<br />

He has illustrated several<br />

book series, including<br />

for Time-Life, Meredith<br />

and Sunset. He lives and<br />

works in Saint-Adolphe<br />

d’Howard, Quebec.<br />

Jacques illustrated the<br />

map of the Tourbière<br />

de Venise-Ouest Nature<br />

Reserve on page 6.<br />

John E. Marriott is<br />

one of Canada’s premier<br />

professional wildlife<br />

photographers. He<br />

prides himself on being<br />

a conservation photographer<br />

known for<br />

photographing<br />

wilderness scenes and<br />

wild, free-roaming<br />

animals in their natural<br />

habitats. John photographed<br />

the Canada<br />

lynx on pages 12 and 13.<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 3

COAST TO<br />

COAST<br />

Richardson’s<br />

ground squirrel<br />

Deep<br />

snooze<br />

Learn about five animals and how<br />

they bear the Canadian winters<br />

We often think of the saying “you snooze, you<br />

lose” as a missed opportunity, but in the case<br />

of certain animals, a good slumber is vital to<br />

their winter survival.<br />

Across the landscape, as the cold permeates and the<br />

days get shorter, the surrounding nature looks more still<br />

too. For some animals, their instinct is to enter a dormant<br />

state to conserve their bodily resources until spring.<br />

This is often referred to as hibernation, though not all<br />

animals that enter a state of dormancy in the winter are<br />

true hibernators.<br />


4 WINTER <strong>2023</strong> natureconservancy.ca


Richardson’s<br />

ground<br />

squirrel<br />

Known by many<br />

as gophers, Richardson’s<br />

ground squirrels<br />

have one of the longest<br />

hibernations of any<br />

animal in Canada.<br />

Adult males may enter<br />

hibernation as early<br />

as July and remain<br />

that way for as long<br />

as 210 days. Females<br />

and their young start<br />

their slumber a bit later,<br />

as the ground starts<br />

to freeze in the fall.<br />

They are not seen<br />

again until the snow<br />

and ice start to recede<br />

in March or April.<br />

Some of the places<br />

they’re found:<br />

Hopkins Conservation<br />

Site, Alberta.<br />

Black bear<br />

Contrary to popular belief, bears aren’t true<br />

hibernators; instead they go into torpor. Hibernation<br />

is characterized by a significant reduction in body temperature,<br />

heart rate, breathing rate and metabolic rate. Torpor is a lighter state<br />

of dormancy that typically doesn’t last as long as hibernation. Bears<br />

can wake up from torpor to drink water or give birth, and then go<br />

back to sleep!<br />

Some of the places they’re found:<br />

A couple of bears use <strong>NCC</strong>’s Nebo project in Saskatchewan regularly,<br />

including a female with cubs.<br />

Gartersnake<br />

A nice group huddle is how common<br />

gartersnakes, the most widespread of several<br />

species of gartersnakes found in Canada,<br />

like to get through the winter. While some<br />

snakes are solitary, gartersnakes congregate<br />

in a hibernaculum, a refuge used during<br />

a period of winter dormancy. For snakes, this<br />

dormancy is called brumation.<br />

Some of the places they’re found:<br />

Most <strong>NCC</strong>-protected areas in southern BC.<br />

Wood frog<br />

Pulling a duvet over your head is what many people do to “hibernate.” So<br />

do wood frogs, sort of! This species finds a crevice in a log or a thick pile<br />

of leaves and settles in for brumation. These frogs also have anti-freeze<br />

proteins to help them survive the deep cold of winter.<br />

Some of the places they’re found:<br />

Most wooded <strong>NCC</strong> properties from Outaouais to Gaspésie, Quebec.<br />

Little brown bat<br />

In late summer and fall, little brown bats migrate from their summer roosts to caves<br />

and mines, where they hibernate from October/November to March/April. Bats<br />

fly to caves and abandoned mines for hibernation, preferring the humid<br />

environment and above-freezing temperatures they provide. The conditions<br />

that bats favour for hibernacula are unfortunately similar to those that suit<br />

the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that<br />

causes bats to wake up more than usual in hibernation, which depletes<br />

their limited energy reserves. White-nose syndrome is responsible for<br />

massive declines in little brown bat populations.<br />

Some of the places they’re found:<br />

Little brown bats have the widest distribution of all bat species in<br />

Canada. <strong>NCC</strong> nature reserves throughout the Prairies provide important<br />

foraging and breeding habitat for this species.<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 5

BOOTS ON<br />


Montée Roy<br />

<br />

N<br />

Tourbière de<br />

Venise-Ouest<br />

Nature Reserve<br />

A protected area of ecologically significant<br />

peatland on the north shore of Lake Champlain<br />

The Tourbière de Venise-Ouest Nature Reserve is on the north<br />

shore of Lake Champlain, 70 kilometres southeast of Montreal.<br />

The Nature Conservancy of Canada-protected area covers<br />

380 hectares, including 80 per cent of the peatland in the reserve.<br />

The peatland here is home to several rare species and serves a<br />

number of important ecological roles, including helping to maintain<br />

the water quality of Missisquoi Bay (in the northern part of Lake<br />

Champlain) by filtering it as it passes through. The peatland also lessens<br />

the impact of the lake’s seasonal flooding, acting as a sponge that initially<br />

absorbs the overflow and then gradually releases it.<br />

As several plants and animals can only be found in peatlands<br />

due to the unique conditions these habitats provide, the peatland’s<br />

presence means greater biodiversity for an entire region. Around<br />

100 bird species, such as least bittern, and several species of mammals,<br />

amphibians and reptiles, such as painted turtle, can be found here.<br />

The peatland is also home to approximately 15 species at risk, one<br />

of which, bog fern, can only be found in two other places in Quebec.<br />

Conserving the peatland is vital for this species’ survival in the province.<br />

Year-round exploring here means more opportunity to connect<br />

with nature. In winter, visitors can strap on cross-country skis and<br />

meander along the snowy landscape. Spring flooding provides a new<br />

perspective on the role and importance of the property’s wetlands.<br />

In summer, the three-kilometre trail, rated easy, offers great views of<br />

the wetlands, so don’t forget your binoculars. And the forests on the<br />

northern part of the trail are a burst of stunning colours come fall.1<br />

Tourbière de<br />

Venise-Ouest<br />

Nature Reserve<br />

Highway 202<br />

Tourbière de<br />

Venise-Ouest<br />

Nature Reserve<br />

★<br />

Étang<br />

John<br />

51e Rue O<br />

✿<br />

For more information, visit natureconservancy.ca/veniseouest<br />

Lake<br />

Champlain<br />

LEGEND<br />

-- Sentier du ruisseau<br />

McFee<br />

-- Sentier de la nature<br />


• blue-spotted<br />

salamander<br />

• blue-winged teal<br />

• bog fern<br />

• eastern kingbird<br />

• eastern phoebe<br />

• eastern screech owl<br />

★ Parking<br />

✿ Interpretive<br />

Centre<br />

• gray treefrog<br />

• hooded merganser<br />

• rose-breasted<br />

grosbeak<br />

• wood duck<br />

• wood frog<br />



6 WINTER <strong>2023</strong><br />



CORNER<br />



No leaves,<br />

no problem<br />

Tips for tree identification in<br />

the winter months<br />

The distinctive leaves of many trees, such as sugar<br />

maple, can provide a sense of familiarity in spring<br />

and summer. As many trees shed their leaves in the<br />

fall, it can be more challenging to tell them apart.<br />

However, the clues are there — you just have to<br />

know what to look for. Grab a field guide, or an app<br />

like iNaturalist, and read on to become a winter<br />

tree ID pro.<br />

SHAPE<br />

To narrow down a tree<br />

species, start from a distance.<br />

Is the tree a conifer, generally<br />

keeping its needles all year,<br />

or is it deciduous, losing its<br />

leaves in the fall? If it’s deciduous, look at the shape<br />

of the tree. Do the branches spread outward from<br />

the trunk horizontally, or reach vertically toward the<br />

sky? Compare, for example, the narrow profile of<br />

a birch against the wide crown of an oak.<br />



Get up close and look at the<br />

tree’s twigs. Are the buds<br />

— the nubs that will turn into<br />

leaves — located opposite<br />

each other on the twig, or do<br />

they alternate? If there are no buds, look for scars<br />

where the leaves were. Opposite arrangements<br />

have buds or leaf scars in pairs at each node, such<br />

as maple and ash. Alternating arrangements have<br />

a single bud or leaf scar per node on alternating<br />

sides of the twig, and include poplar, oak and birch.<br />

If buds are present, compare their size, colour<br />

and texture against a field guide reference. Some<br />

easily identifiable buds include oak (clustered bud<br />

ends) and basswood (bright red buds).<br />

BARK<br />

Up close, tree bark can be<br />

identified by sight and touch.<br />

Is it white, grey or a darker<br />

brown/black? Does it feel<br />

smooth, coarse or flaky? With<br />

practice, the silver gleam of white birch or the<br />

reddish-brown of black cherry can become just as<br />

recognizable as their leaves.<br />


natureconservancy.ca/wintertreeguide<br />

Dance partners<br />

Gurdeep Pandher is bringing Bhangra to screens around the<br />

world. With the wild landscapes of the Yukon often setting<br />

the scene, nature dances along with him.<br />

Ispent my childhood on my family’s farm, which nurtured my deep and lifelong<br />

affinity for nature; a passion that weaves its way through my writing and dancing.<br />

Bhangra as a dance form was created out in nature in Punjab. Here in the<br />

Yukon, when I dance outside, it connects me to the roots of this dance form.<br />

I moved to Canada in 2006 from the small village of Siahar in Punjab, making<br />

my home in several cities across Canada, from Saskatoon to Whitehorse in 2011,<br />

where I live now. The Yukon is unlike any other place in Canada, with landscapes<br />

characterized by raw, quiet stretches of undisturbed nature. These wild spaces<br />

bring a peace and inspiration to me that translates through dance.<br />

The nature here is dancing 24/7, so when I dance, I feel like nature and I are<br />

together. It’s a companionship, and we are one. I carry this sentiment with me<br />

while I dance.<br />

I dance my way through life with an open mind and heart, both guided by the<br />

solace I find through my love for nature.<br />

I hope everyone can create joy in nature, carry it with them and then share it<br />

with the world.1<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 7

Waterton Park Front, Alberta<br />

8 WINTER <strong>2023</strong> natureconservancy.ca

Hand<br />

inhand<br />


In communities across the country, people of all<br />

backgrounds — industry, civil society, landowners,<br />

volunteers, Indigenous communities, business<br />

owners and governments — are working together to<br />

care for natural areas and the species that live in them<br />

BY Christine Beevis Trickett and Jensen Edwards<br />

When snow melts atop<br />

the peaks of the Rocky<br />

Mountains, droplets flow<br />

and form the great rivers<br />

that nourish and connect our communities.<br />

Nature, after all, knows no bounds.<br />

In southwest Alberta, tributaries tumble<br />

down from jagged peaks into rivers that<br />

weave east, through privately conserved<br />

working ranches and neighbouring national<br />

parks. Life here is protected for the long<br />

term, thanks to the vision of a former business<br />

executive and his family. Beyond, the<br />

rivers widen as they reach open prairie,<br />

where they nourish grasses and the thirsty<br />

cows and bison that graze these conserved<br />

landscapes, protected by livestock producers<br />

who are empowered by the investment of<br />

a large, private foundation.<br />

To the east, the great rivers then swell<br />

into the Great Lakes downstream. At their far<br />

reach, two landowners, so inspired by the provincially<br />

supported restoration efforts of the endangered<br />

oak savannah around them, donate<br />

their land, with the support of a government<br />

program, amplifying the impact of local conservation<br />

efforts. Nearby, an insurance firm<br />

teams up with conservationists to fund investment<br />

in finance tools to protect wetlands.<br />

Here, the water turns salty and is absorbed<br />

by the red sand and wetlands of an offshore<br />

island near PEI. This is where conservationists<br />

and the local Indigenous community,<br />

connected by a love of the land, are putting<br />

Reconciliation into action.<br />

Across these ecosystems, nature is bound<br />

together by migrating birds, drifting plant<br />

seeds, ranging mammals and flowing water.<br />

And just as each one plays a role in the<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 9

alance of biodiversity, so too do we. Nature<br />

needs us all to ensure its protection, now.<br />

For six decades, the Nature Conservancy<br />

of Canada (<strong>NCC</strong>) has collaborated with and<br />

mobilized individuals, communities, businesses<br />

and governments to achieve significant<br />

results. <strong>NCC</strong> brings together people<br />

who share a common purpose: to build a<br />

thriving world with nature. This collaborative<br />

approach to conservation empowers<br />

others, often from very different and sometimes<br />

unconventional backgrounds, to come<br />

together, think big and leverage innovation<br />

to deliver impact on the ground.<br />

Dawn Carr, director of strategic conservation<br />

for <strong>NCC</strong>, describes this approach to conservation<br />

as “whole of society.” She adds that<br />

the urgency and scale of the biodiversity and<br />

climate crises are so large that no single institution,<br />

government or community alone is<br />

able to ensure a thriving natural world. Only<br />

by working together will we be able to reset<br />

our relationship with nature.<br />

“There is a role for everyone across society<br />

to build a resilient natural world,” notes Carr.<br />

This approach is essential if <strong>NCC</strong> is to<br />

double its impact by 2030, and if it is to support<br />

Canada’s commitment to conserve 30 per<br />

cent of its lands and waters by the end of the<br />

decade to ensure a nature-positive future.<br />

<strong>NCC</strong> is poised to continue to deliver results<br />

and accelerate conservation by bringing<br />

together partners across sectors — from<br />

rangeland producers, to resource sector companies,<br />

foundations and corporations, individuals<br />

and communities, researchers and governments<br />

at all levels — to leverage innovative<br />

solutions to dealing with two of the<br />

world’s most pressing issues.<br />

“The urgency of the climate and biodiversity<br />

loss crises demands we do more, faster,”<br />

says Carr. “These kinds of collaborations<br />

bring not only more person power to address<br />

these issues. When individuals collaborate<br />

across sectors, deeper synergies are built<br />

that can propel new, innovative conservation<br />

models with deep, lasting impact.”<br />

In the next two pages, we celebrate a<br />

whole-of-society approach to conservation,<br />

with examples of what can happen when<br />

people from different walks of life work<br />

together to put nature first.<br />

“We know conservation requires all of us,”<br />

says Carr. “All of society — people, government,<br />

industry and more — needs to work<br />

together now to reverse biodiversity loss.”<br />






The Yarrow; Inset: Charlie Fischer.<br />

The Yarrow (AB)<br />

Once owned by a business executive, the late Charlie Fischer, this special project<br />

is being conserved thanks to the vision of his family, who collaborated with <strong>NCC</strong> to<br />

secure The Yarrow, in the Waterton Park Front area. “For our family, we feel we can<br />

honour Charlie’s vision for this beautiful location — a spectacular landscape, which<br />

he loved and wished to conserve — by ensuring it will thrive for generations,” reflects<br />

the Fischer-Cuthbertson family.<br />

<strong>NCC</strong>’s campaign to inspire Canadians from coast to coast to help secure this<br />

special project was kick-started with support from individuals, governments and<br />

industry alike.<br />

The Yarrow is <strong>NCC</strong>’s latest in a patchwork of numerous partnership projects in<br />

the Waterton Park Front. For over 30 years, <strong>NCC</strong> has collaborated with ranchers and<br />

landowners to care for more than 13,000 hectares in the area. Once conserved, The<br />

Yarrow will directly build on these efforts and support not only the species that live<br />

here, but also the health and well-being of the region’s headwaters, the security of<br />

food production and the protection of nature’s beauty for generations. Help make this<br />

project a reality at TheYarrow.ca.<br />

O’Neill project, ON.<br />

O’Neill (ON)<br />

The O’Neill project is what happens when you make friends<br />

with neighbours. Landowners John O’Neill and his late partner<br />

Colin had volunteered for years, restoring the native<br />

ecosystems on the property next door, which happened to<br />

be <strong>NCC</strong>’s Hazel Bird Nature Reserve. They saw the impact<br />

<strong>NCC</strong>’s work could have on their own land too.<br />

“After Colin’s death in 2013, the issue of what to do with<br />

the land became more urgent for me,” reflects O’Neill. “Donating<br />

the land to <strong>NCC</strong> during my lifetime seemed a logical<br />

solution: it would allow <strong>NCC</strong> to begin rehabilitation now,<br />

rather than later, and it will give me the pleasure of watching<br />

that progress over the upcoming years.”<br />

O’Neill’s donation, through the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program,<br />

grew the reserve by one-third, multiplying <strong>NCC</strong>’s conservation efforts in Ontario’s<br />

endangered oak savannahs.<br />

With the help of volunteers like O’Neill and support from Ontario’s Greenlands Conservation<br />

Partnership, <strong>NCC</strong> is caring for this rare ecosystem by planting native grasses<br />

and wildflowers and conducting prescribed burns. <strong>NCC</strong> plans to expand the trail network<br />

from the Hazel Bird Nature Reserve onto the neighbouring O’Neill property, further<br />

connecting these conserved lands and expanding the impact of these efforts.<br />


10 WINTER <strong>2023</strong><br />


Malbaie Salt Marsh<br />

sandbar (QC)<br />

<strong>NCC</strong> and the local community in Percé,<br />

Quebec, have joined with a number of<br />

groups, including provincial and federal<br />

government, industry and private donors,<br />

and more, to forge a powerful partnership<br />

that is holding back the sands of the Malbaie<br />

Salt Marsh against erosion. Thanks<br />

to the economic support of these groups,<br />

and the toiling hands of volunteers, the<br />

health of the marsh is now secured.<br />

Through this extensive partnership<br />

project, volunteers have planted hundreds<br />

of trees and grasses and set up 18 sand<br />

catchers to stabilize and restore dunes<br />

along the sandbar affected by erosion.<br />

The partnership has also supported the<br />

construction of viewing platforms, beach<br />

access ramps and a 1.2-kilometre trail for<br />

visitors to walk and cycle along the marsh.<br />

Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar, QC.<br />

Kwesawe’k/Oulton’s Island, PEI.<br />

Kwesawe’k/Oulton’s Island<br />

(PEI)<br />

Conservation achieved through collaboration<br />

with Indigenous Peoples is an important<br />

form of Reconciliation. The Epekwitnewaq<br />

Mi’kmaq and <strong>NCC</strong> are taking steps that work<br />

toward this shared goal. Working with the<br />

community, <strong>NCC</strong> is leading efforts to secure<br />

the land. <strong>NCC</strong> and the community will then<br />

care for the land for the next five years. The<br />

island will eventually be returned to the<br />

Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq.<br />

“Our people have always been guardians<br />

of the natural world, and we are pleased to<br />

continue that tradition while partnering with<br />

like-minded organizations such as <strong>NCC</strong>. Collaboration<br />

on conservation with Indigenous<br />

people is both valuable and essential for all,”<br />

says Darlene Bernard, Lennox Island First<br />

Nation Chief & Epekwitk Assembly of Councils<br />

Co-Chair. “The Mi’kmaq have occupied<br />

Epekwitk for over 12,000 years, and our deep<br />

cultural roots and relationship to the lands<br />

and waters are forever entrenched. We look<br />

forward to protecting and conserving this important<br />

part of Epekwitk together for generations<br />

to come.” Help make this project a reality.<br />

Visit natureconservancy.ca/oultonsisland.<br />

Tenh Dzetle Conservancy<br />

(BC)<br />

Located in northwestern BC in Tahltan<br />

territory, the land was originally proposed<br />

to be part of Mount Edziza Provincial<br />

Park but was not included at the time<br />

due to challenges resolving mineral<br />

claims. A partnership between the Tahltan<br />

Central Government, the Province of British<br />

Columbia, Skeena Resources Limited,<br />

<strong>NCC</strong> and BC Parks Foundation led to the<br />

removal of all mineral tenures in the area.<br />

This was a critical step in providing for<br />

the full protection of the land’s cultural<br />

and ecological values.<br />

“Mount Edziza and the surrounding<br />

area has always been sacred to the<br />

Tahltan Nation. The obsidian from this<br />

portion of our territory provided us<br />

with weaponry, tools and trading goods<br />

that ensured our Tahltan people could<br />

thrive for thousands of years,” says<br />

Chad Norman Day, president of Tahltan<br />

Central Government, who sees this<br />

as an initiative we can all take pride in.<br />

“I am so relieved and thrilled that<br />

Mount Edziza is better protected for<br />

our future generations.”1<br />


Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative (AB/SK/MB)<br />

A deep love of working landscapes, with a focus on sustainability and longevity, is the common bond that connects<br />

ranchers, conservation groups and donors. “When these groups collaborate, their unique perspectives and diverse<br />

backgrounds spark new approaches, propelling innovation in land use and conservation,” reflects Tamara Carter,<br />

director, prairie grassland conservation at <strong>NCC</strong>. “Their shared values underpin a common vision of producing healthy<br />

and nutritious foods in a sustainable manner that prioritizes environmental stewardship on working landscapes, for<br />

today and for future generations.”<br />

The Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative – Stewardship Investment Program is a multi-year collaboration<br />

(2021–2024) to celebrate, steward and protect one of Canada’s most ecologically valuable and threatened ecosystems:<br />

native prairie grasslands. Through this initiative, the Weston Family Foundation is bringing together<br />

a diverse group of individuals and organizations to accelerate the adoption of sustainable approaches to help<br />

conserve grasslands and improve farm sustainability and viability.<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 11



Canada lynx<br />

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


12 WINTER <strong>2023</strong><br />



These seldom-seen creatures are<br />

smaller than cougars and slightly larger<br />

than bobcats. Canada lynx has a short tail, long<br />

back legs and prominent ear tufts. Its large paws<br />

are covered in thick coarse hair and its toes spread<br />

out and function like snowshoes, helping<br />

it travel and hunt in deep snow. Since Canada<br />

lynx cannot run fast, it must stalk and ambush prey<br />

from a close distance.<br />

In winter, its coat is light grey and its ear tufts<br />

and tail tip are black. In summer, its much<br />

shorter coat is reddish-brown.<br />

RANGE<br />

Canada lynx can be found in<br />

intact forests across Canada and<br />

Alaska. Its distribution stretches<br />

south of the Canadian border<br />

through the Rocky Mountains, in<br />

American states surrounding the<br />

Great Lakes and northern<br />

New England.<br />

What <strong>NCC</strong><br />

is doing to<br />

protect habitat<br />

for this species<br />



The overall Canadian population<br />

is secure, though it has declined in<br />

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In<br />

Canada, the biggest threat to Canada lynx<br />

is trapping, along with the decline of<br />

snowshoe hare populations, the lynx’s<br />

main prey. In southern parts of its<br />

range, habitat loss and degradation<br />

threaten this species.<br />


Canada lynx generally inhabit<br />

forested areas, favouring boreal<br />

forests with dense undercover. That<br />

said, this species, being a carnivore<br />

and partial to snowshoe hares, can<br />

be found in other types of<br />

habitat with suitable prey.<br />

HELP OUT<br />

Help protect habitat for<br />

species at risk at<br />

natureconservancy.ca/<br />

donate.<br />

One of the ways the<br />

Nature Conservancy<br />

of Canada (<strong>NCC</strong>) is<br />

addressing the habitat<br />

needs for lynx is through<br />

conservation work in<br />

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.<br />

<strong>NCC</strong> has been working<br />

on Cape Breton Island<br />

since 1971, and has<br />

strategically acquired<br />

properties here to provide<br />

wildlife corridors for<br />

wide-ranging mammals,<br />

such as Canada lynx. The<br />

properties include diverse<br />

Wabanaki (Acadian) forest<br />

and a wetland supporting<br />

a provincially significant<br />

group of rare plants.<br />

By providing habitat<br />

connectivity, <strong>NCC</strong> is<br />

helping maintain biological<br />

diversity and reduce<br />

the loss of plant and<br />

animal species.1<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 13


NATURE<br />

Pieces<br />

of a puzzle<br />

Diane Griffin on conserving Prince Edward Island land, piece by piece<br />


14 WINTER <strong>2023</strong> natureconservancy.ca

Senses can unlock memories, and the peppery<br />

smell of bayberries transports Diane Griffin to<br />

a rainy July day at Greenwich Beach on Prince<br />

Edward Island’s north shore.<br />


Griffin was a university summer student, cataloguing the plant and<br />

animal species found around Greenwich Beach’s pristine sand dunes<br />

and wetlands. It was the start of a long career with a focus on conservation,<br />

but she was feeling like a drowned rat, writing on soggy<br />

paper while water ran off her raincoat into her rubber boots. Despite<br />

the weather, Greenwich Beach left an impression on her.<br />

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, this area is so special,’” says<br />

Griffin. “I’d never seen anything like it.”<br />

Years later, she found herself taking the Lieutenant Governor<br />

of Prince Edward Island on a nature tour of Greenwich Beach, now<br />

a part of PEI National Park.<br />

Griffin recently joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (<strong>NCC</strong>’s)<br />

Atlantic Region board of directors, bringing with her years of experience<br />

working in municipal, provincial and federal governments, as<br />

well as non-profits. She is a former senator for PEI, serving from<br />

2016 to 2022.<br />

Her passion has always been land conservation, as a valuable<br />

legacy for the future.<br />

Growing up on a PEI dairy farm meant she had an early introduction<br />

to what grew in the area. “There were the weeds, but it was<br />

a great start,” laughs Griffin. She joined her local 4H club and learned<br />

more, steering her toward an education in botany.<br />

After working in conservation in Alberta and PEI, Griffin served<br />

as PEI’s deputy minister for Fisheries and Environment. In 2008,<br />

she joined <strong>NCC</strong> as the PEI program director. She later was a town<br />

councillor for Stratford, PEI.<br />

Conservation is of crucial importance for<br />

biodiversity, but the benefits for people’s<br />

physical and mental well-being of having<br />

a natural space is just as important.<br />

Canada’s most densely populated province, PEI has been extensively<br />

impacted by human activity. While working with <strong>NCC</strong>, Griffin<br />

looked for opportunities to conserve small parcels of land as part of<br />

a larger whole.<br />

Thinking about it like a jigsaw puzzle, Griffin says, “You know<br />

what the picture looks like on the cover. Getting those pieces in,<br />

that’s the work.” Griffin believes restoration strategies will become<br />

more important in returning land to its natural state and helping<br />

to connect those pieces.<br />


Canada’s target of conserving 30 per cent of its lands and oceans by<br />

2030 presents an opportunity for individual landowners to have an<br />

impactful role in conversation and supporting biodiversity, says Griffin.<br />

“They love the land they’ve got. Maybe it has wetlands, maybe<br />

it has a forest, or sand dunes. All these natural features that are of<br />

interest — and great wildlife habitat. They’re wanting to keep the<br />

land the way it is,” she says.<br />

Greenwich Beach, PEI National Park.<br />

Natural areas across PEI, including Greenwich<br />

Beach and all of <strong>NCC</strong>’s projects on the<br />

island, experienced significant impact from<br />

Hurricane Fiona and are under long-term<br />

repair and clean up. Severe weather events<br />

are increasing in frequency as a result of<br />

climate change.<br />

Working with an organization like <strong>NCC</strong><br />

and donating their land ensures its protection,<br />

says Griffin.<br />

“I think a lot of people are interested in<br />

leaving something that will be a legacy for future<br />

generations,” she says. “And the natural<br />

lands they have is one way they can do that.”<br />

Griffin acknowledges the crucial importance<br />

of conservation for biodiversity, while<br />

also noting the benefits for people’s physical<br />

and mental well-being.<br />

“Especially in an urban environment<br />

with traffic and noise, to get to an area<br />

where it’s green, the water is flowing and<br />

there are trails to walk, to slow down the<br />

pace of one’s life...the mental health aspect<br />

is huge,” says Griffin.<br />

While she has no intention of slowing<br />

down, Griffin looks back on a life spent<br />

promoting conservation, and a memory of<br />

where it all began.<br />

“Every time I go to Greenwich, I still<br />

have to rub some bayberry leaves between<br />

my fingers for that smell.”1<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 15



1<br />

Investing in tomorrow’s leaders<br />


1<br />

THANK YOU!<br />

Your support has made these<br />

projects possible. Learn more at<br />

natureconservancy.ca/where-we-work.<br />

3<br />

2<br />

The Nature Conservancy of Canada's (<strong>NCC</strong>'s) Weston Family<br />

Conservation Science Fellowship Program supports and trains<br />

graduate students to become next-generation leaders in applied<br />

conservation science. Research by Fellows supports the conservation<br />

and management of important natural areas and biodiversity across<br />

Canada, with a focus on <strong>NCC</strong> lands and priority research questions. We<br />

welcomed three students in 2022:<br />

Amy Wiedenfeld is studying the population dynamics of at-risk plant<br />

species in southern Ontario, which may inform rare plant conservation<br />

and reintroduction. She has always had an innate love of plants and wants<br />

to dispel the misperception that they are uninteresting. She is a PhD student<br />

at the University of Lethbridge.<br />

Brielle Reidlinger is studying the impact of grassland management<br />

activities (grazing) on songbird communities. This project combines her<br />

experience growing up in a ranching community with her passion for<br />

birds and grassland conservation. She is a masters of science student at<br />

the University of Saskatchewan.<br />

Jessica Sánchez-Jasso is examining the effectiveness of grassland<br />

management activities for maintaining suitable habitat for two endangered<br />

butterflies. With experience studying butterflies in Mexico, she<br />

looks forward to continuing to do what she loves: applied conservation<br />

research. She is a PhD student at the University of Winnipeg.<br />

This program is made possible through the support of the Weston Family<br />

Foundation.<br />


Win/Win<br />

I was raised on the banks of the<br />

Assiniboine River in Winnipeg. [When<br />

I was young,] my dad would teach<br />

me the difference between the snow<br />

tracks of a squirrel, a rabbit and a fox,<br />

and it inspired my passion for Mother<br />

Nature. I have concluded that all<br />

species are at risk for one reason, and<br />

that is the loss of habitat. The Nature<br />

Conservancy of Canada gives us an<br />

opportunity to save the bears, the<br />

butterflies, the fish and their habitats,<br />

all at the same time. Their work is driven<br />

by extensive research, and it has<br />

been my privilege to have served on<br />

<strong>NCC</strong>’s board and walked some incredible<br />

properties in my home province<br />

with staff and researchers. What a<br />

great feeling to stand on a property<br />

that you know will be the same for<br />

your great grandchildren. I call that<br />

a definite win/win.<br />

Left to right: Jessica Sánchez-Jasso, Brielle Reidlinger, Amy Wiedenfeld.<br />

~ Bob Williams,<br />

board member from 2013<br />

to 2022<br />

16 WINTER <strong>2023</strong> natureconservancy.ca

Restigouche River, New Brunswick<br />

2<br />

Voluntary conservation<br />


Partner Spotlight<br />


Thanks to the leadership of J.D. Irving Limited (JDI), nearly 10,000 hectares of privately held Acadian<br />

forest, coastline and dunes in New Brunswick will be recognized as an other effective area-based<br />

conservation measure (OECM). The announcement of this initiative was made at <strong>NCC</strong>’s international<br />

panel discussion during the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal. During the event,<br />

Gaining Ground by Investing in Conservation, global experts joined in to share solutions as leadership<br />

and investment opportunities to accelerate the nature agenda.<br />

These lands are some of the province’s most unique and biodiverse areas, including the Irving Nature<br />

Park in west Saint John, Bouctouche Dunes, Ayers Lake and the headwaters of the Miramichi and Restigouche<br />

rivers. They provide habitat for animals like pine marten and endangered piping plover. OECMs<br />

are areas that provide conservation benefits but are not managed primarily for the protection of nature.<br />

For the last 20 years, the area has been managed with the intent of long-term conservation through<br />

JDI’s voluntary conservation areas program. The project is a concrete example of a whole-of-society<br />

approach to accelerating conservation.<br />

3<br />

Program extension<br />

accelerates conservation<br />


Thanks to the extension of Environment and Climate Change<br />

Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP),<br />

<strong>NCC</strong> will be conserving at least an additional 130,000 hectares<br />

of priority natural habitat over the next three years.<br />

Lands protected and cared for by <strong>NCC</strong> under the NHCP<br />

will continue to provide benefits for species at risk and migratory<br />

birds, and ensure the health and connectedness of natural systems.<br />

<strong>NCC</strong> commits to mobilizing support across all sectors — private<br />

citizens, Indigenous communities, landowners, governments, industry<br />

— in a whole-of-society approach to halting and reversing<br />

the loss of nature. By engaging everyone <strong>NCC</strong> will match funds<br />

from the Government of Canada with non-federal sources to maximize<br />

impact and protect the spaces that Canadians cherish.1<br />

Lonetree Lake, Saskatchewan<br />

In 2020, UNIQLO made a<br />

commitment to support <strong>NCC</strong><br />

in accelerating conservation<br />

and protecting natural habitats<br />

from coast to coast to coast.<br />

UNIQLO donates the equivalent<br />

of 50 per cent of the proceeds of<br />

every paper bag sold in its stores<br />

throughout Canada to <strong>NCC</strong>.<br />

These bags are made of 40 per<br />

cent post-consumer waste,<br />

furthering conservation efforts.<br />

A clothing company with<br />

Japanese roots that began its<br />

operations in Canada in 2015,<br />

its local and global initiatives<br />

are designed to foster a better<br />

future for our planet and<br />

society. With the support of its<br />

in-store paper bag program,<br />

UNIQLO provides <strong>NCC</strong> with the<br />

resources needed to exceed<br />

ambitious conservation goals.<br />

UNIQLO's commitment to <strong>NCC</strong><br />

helps protect Canada's biodiversity,<br />

now and into the future.<br />

natureconservancy.ca<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong> 17

CLOSE<br />


Wild dreams come true<br />

By Matthew Braun, <strong>NCC</strong> program director in Saskatchewan<br />

Wildlife encounters during my rural Saskatchewan<br />

childhood were rare. That’s why I remember, pretty<br />

vividly, a school trip to the boreal transition forests<br />

of Prince Albert National Park, about two hours north of my<br />

home. The bus driver spotted a black bear on the edge of the<br />

road, which would have been my closest contact with something<br />

really wild. Even then, just the idea of a bear was exciting<br />

enough to sear the memory into my brain.<br />

Fast forward to 2016, when my work managing some of the<br />

Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (<strong>NCC</strong>’s) forested properties<br />

in Saskatchewan had me crashing through a property on the<br />

edge of the Touchwood Hills.<br />

While meandering the property, we stumbled on (almost literally!)<br />

a pit dug by the crew that cleared the original property<br />

right-of-way. We noticed a large hole in the side of the pit in this<br />

otherwise relatively flat portion of the property. Despite having<br />

seen plenty of bears by this time in my career, I’d still never<br />

seen an actual bear den before, and I always assumed (hoped?)<br />

they were a little more exotic than a hole in the side of a hole.<br />

Once we finally agreed this could only be a bear den, we had<br />

to decide who had to stick their head in to see if anyone was<br />

home. I honestly don’t remember who put their head through<br />

the cobwebbed entrance, but it was pretty exciting even when<br />

it was obvious it was abandoned. It was a chilly fall day, and we<br />

didn’t see any wildlife the rest of the day.<br />

A couple of years later, I was alone on the property. It was<br />

close to the middle of one of the hottest field days I’ve had.<br />

I was crashing around with my eyes on the ground looking for<br />

the shrubs, flowers and any signs of soil disturbance to help<br />

me describe the ecosystem.<br />

I don’t remember exactly what tipped me off and caused me<br />

to put my head up. But when I did, I noticed two black bear<br />

cubs being chased up a tree by a mama bear looking as irritable<br />

as I felt, but with a bit more muscle to back it up.<br />

I don’t want to give people the impression that I wasn’t taking<br />

appropriate precautions. As she clacked her teeth at me, warning<br />

me to stay back, I fumbled in my pocket for my camera to<br />

take what would have been the closest/coolest bear photo yet.<br />

I managed one blurry photo of a shrub. She and I went our separate<br />

ways, and I didn’t even get a decent picture.<br />

I decided to conduct the rest of my assessments on a different<br />

part of the property. Later, I startled a moose and ended<br />

up dodging an imaginary animal crashing through the woods<br />

(it was still hot, and my brain had given up) by wading through<br />

a thigh-deep slough as a shortcut to my vehicle to finish my<br />

day. It doesn’t seem like enough to say that we manage some<br />

pretty cool lands with unexpected benefits, or that you should<br />

be careful what you wish for as a kid, because you just might<br />

get it.1<br />

PETE RYAN.<br />

18 WINTER <strong>2023</strong> natureconservancy.ca

LET YOUR<br />


DEFINE<br />

YOUR<br />

LEGACY<br />

Your passion for Canada’s natural spaces defines your life; now it can define<br />

your legacy. With a gift in your Will to the Nature Conservancy of Canada,<br />

no matter the size, you can help protect our most vulnerable habitats and the<br />

wildlife that live there. For today, for tomorrow and for generations to come.<br />

Order your free Legacy Information Booklet today.<br />

Call Marcella at 1-877-231-3552 x 2276 or visit DefineYourLegacy.ca

YOUR<br />

IMPACT<br />

Conservation<br />

that sustains<br />

a way of life<br />

Globally rare and iconic tall<br />

grass prairies are quickly<br />

disappearing. In Manitoba,<br />

you are contributing to saving<br />

this endangered ecosystem<br />

within an hour of Winnipeg at<br />

Interlake. The 2,700-hectare<br />

Lake Ranch sustains not only<br />

species at risk and expansive<br />

wetlands, but also continues<br />

to feed and foster the prairie<br />

lives that depend on it.<br />

Thank you for all you do for nature in Canada!<br />

Record<br />

response<br />

time to<br />

protect nature<br />

At more than twice the size<br />

of Toronto, Boreal Wildlands<br />

was conserved thanks to<br />

thousands of supporters<br />

like you in just five months,<br />

making it the largest private<br />

land conservation project<br />

in Canada’s history! This<br />

1,500-square-kilometre project<br />

harbours more than 100 lakes<br />

and 1,300 kilometres of rivers,<br />

streams and shoreline as well<br />

as natural corridors for species<br />

at risk. Your conservation of<br />

this area means its forests and<br />

wetlands can remain important<br />

carbon sinks and continue<br />

to absorb vast amounts of<br />

greenhouse gas emissions.<br />


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