A birthday gift big enough for a nation



    Nature Conservancy of Canada announces 10 Gifts to Canadians

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is
celebrating Canada Day with the protection of ten natural treasures across the
country. Leading up to July 1, NCC is announcing the conservation of one
ecologically significant property in each province - Gifts to Canadians in
time for the country's 141st birthday. Many of the gifts provide habitat for
rare or endangered species, and vital links to larger landscapes. Together the
10 properties total approximately 33.5 square kilometres (8,279 acres or 3,350
hectares).
    This is the seventh year NCC has presented Gifts to Canadians as part of
the organization's mission to celebrate and protect Canada's biodiversity for
future generations.
    "I can't think of a better birthday gift for a country as spectacular as
Canada," says John Lounds, President and CEO of NCC. "Our nation is known
around the world for its inspiring landscapes and diverse wildlife. What
better gift for Canadians than ensuring a natural legacy?"
    This year a number of the Gifts to Canadians have been secured with
support from the Government of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation
Program. Launched in March 2007 with an investment of $225 million, the
program aims to accelerate and enhance the efforts of the Nature Conservancy
of Canada and other groups to protect precious natural areas for the
long-term.
    "The Government of Canada is taking real action to protect Canada's
natural treasures," said Canada's Environment Minister John Baird. "Last year,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $225 million in partnership with the
Nature Conservancy of Canada to work with them and help preserve priceless
parts of our great country. The announcement to protect precious lands across
Canada is just one more example that this government is taking real and
aggressive action to preserve our natural heritage."

    NCC's Gifts to Canadians for Canada Day 2008 are:

    Ocean Blue, British Columbia - This property at the mouth of the Campbell
River on Vancouver Island provides a link to important salmon spawning
habitat. NCC has been working in the area for a number of years to restore an
industrial site to its former natural glory.

    Sandstone Ranch, Alberta - This site on the North Fork of the Milk River
is home to some of the finest remaining native grasslands. It provides habitat
for rare grassland birds such as Ferruginous Hawk, Sprague's Pipit, Prairie
Falcon, and Sharp-tailed Grouse.

    Mather Lake, Saskatchewan - Native grasslands and wetlands are key
features of this property. It provides habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds
and shorebirds, including many species at risk such as Loggerhead Shrike,
Piping Plover and Burrowing Owl.

    Senderewich Property, Manitoba - The property stretches along the Shell
River, forming a wildlife corridor that connects Riding Mountain National Park
to Duck Mountain Provincial Park. This is vital to wide-ranging mammals such
as Gray Wolf, Moose, Black Bear, elk and cougar.

    Frontenac Arch Property, Ontario - This is a place where forests of the
Canadian Shield and the lower Great Lakes overlap, and it results in a
remarkable diversity of ecosystems and species. The Arch also provides
important links between Algonquin Park to the north and the Adirondacks to the
south. Securing this property protects habitat for a diversity of rare
reptiles and forest birds, and provides habitat for wide-ranging species.

    Mount Brock Property, Quebec - This property is part of a bigger
cross-border project undertaken by NCC and partners in the Green Mountains of
Vermont. The rich territory is covered by a mature maple grove with beautiful
century-old trees. Moose, Bobcat, and Black Bear all travel this important
wildlife corridor.

    Johnson's Mills, New Brunswick - NCC has added critical habitat to the
Johnson's Mills Shorebird Reserve. This is one of the most important resting
sites for shorebirds in the area.

    Three Bridges Brook, Nova Scotia - This property is just kilometres from
Halifax and adds significantly to the Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake
Provincial Wilderness Area, which covers almost 21,000 acres (8,498 hectares).
The property is important for its size and mature forests.

    North Enmore, Prince Edward Island - NCC has acquired important coastal
habitat along the Percival River on the PEI side of the Northumberland Strait.
The property will continue to be an important refuge for migratory birds.

    Sandy Point, Newfoundland and Labrador - This coastal habitat features
sand dunes and salt marshes, which are uncommon along Newfoundland's rugged,
rocky shoreline and sheer cliffs. It is also critical habitat for the
nationally endangered Piping Plover.

    Land conservation contributes to the health of the environment and the
well-being of all Canadians in several ways: it conserves large tracts of
representative habitat and wilderness; it protects natural ecosystems that are
at risk and enhances the habitat of species at risk; it provides large
protected areas that help species to cope with climate change; and it
preserves the deep attachment of Canadians to the natural world.
    "Land conservation is a sustainable solution to a clean environment and a
healthy world," adds Lounds. "By designing and managing networks of protected
areas, we fulfil our national and global responsibility to protect our natural
treasures, today and for the future."

    The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a national non-profit conservation
organization that works with landowners to protect Canada's natural habitats.
Its plan of action is to build partnerships and develop creative conservation
solutions with individuals, corporations, community groups, conservation
groups and government bodies. Since 1962, NCC and its supporters have helped
to protect close to 2 million acres (809,371 hectares) of ecologically
significant land across Canada.

    Regional Background Sheets available

    Photos available on request





For further information:

For further information: Jane Gilbert, Chief Communications Officer,
Nature Conservancy of Canada - National Office, (416) 932-3202 ext. 295,
media@natureconservancy.ca

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Nature Conservancy of Canada

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