A gift big enough for a nation

The Nature Conservancy of Canada secures important natural area in Prince Edward Island

CHARLOTTETOWN, June 23 /CNW/ - In honour of Canada's 143rd birthday the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), has secured 60 acres (24 hectares) of natural habitat near Tignish on Prince Edward Island. This important habitat of mature cedar forest and wetland is one of 10 Gifts to Canadians announced this week in celebration of Canada Day.

The property has a diverse forest, including an unusual mixture of mature Northern White Cedar and Balsam Poplar and 80-year-old Sugar Maple that has the capacity to evolve to old growth. The site also contains a provincially rare wooded swamp, offering excellent potential habitat for both Spotted Salamander and the Red-backed Salamander. Surrounding the swamp is an extremely rich assortment of common and rare herbaceous plants, mosses, lichens and songbirds. Evidence has been found of the once extirpated Pileated Woodpecker, which is now making a comeback in PEI. With some trees over 150 years old on the Pleasant View Cedars property, this forest is an important area to protect, as very few older-growth Acadian Forest habitats are left in PEI.

Partnership is at the heart of NCC's work. Many partners have come together to help secure the Pleasant View Cedars property, including the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture, the Province of Prince Edward Island and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. But this year, all 10 NCC Gifts to Canadians (one in each province), have also been made possible through the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program. This unique public-private partnership helps non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our country's diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.

QUOTES

"The acquisition of this incredible property, with its 150-year-old cedar trees and a rare wooded swamp, is a great accomplishment achieved thanks to the support of many partners," said Linda Stephenson, Regional Vice President for the Atlantic Region of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "This property represents one of the few older-growth Acadian Forests on Prince Edward Island and provides a safe haven for numerous species of flora and fauna, such as the once extirpated Pileated Woodpecker."

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations," said Minister Prentice. "Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

"On behalf of Islanders, I would like to thank the Nature Conservancy of Canada for the acquisition and protection of this ecologically significant site," said Prince Edward Island Agriculture Minister George Webster. "It is a very appropriate gift in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, that will contribute to the preservation of PEI's native biodiversity."

FACTS

    
    -   For a complete list of NCC's 10 Gifts to Canadians, click here.
    -   The 60-acre (24-hectare) Pleasant View Cedars woodland possesses a
        good variety of birds, including Northern Saw-whet Owl, Barred Owl,
        three species of woodpeckers and Northern Flicker. Thirteen species
        of warblers are possible breeders here as well.
    -   Pleasant View Cedars is located near Black Pond, southwest of the
        Village of Tignish.
    -   The Egmont Bay Focal Area, located in western PEI, supports Northern
        White Cedar, which is increasingly scarce in the Maritimes. Some of
        the trees on the Pleasant View Cedars property are approximately
        150 years old.
    -   In the last year NCC's work in Prince Edward Island has been made
        possible by the support of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Stewart
        McKelvey, PEI Mutual Insurance Co, The McCain Foundation, The EJLB
        Foundation and many individuals.
    -   The 10 Gifts to Canadians cover almost 13 square kilometres (more
        than three times the size of Stanley Park) and protect habitat for
        many species at risk
    -   Many of the protected properties provide vital links to larger
        landscapes, creating networks of protected areas that give species
        the room to move, survive and thrive, which is especially important
        in the face of climate change.
    -   Since its inception in 2007 the Natural Areas Conservation Program
        has helped NCC to conserve more than 342,500 acres (138,600
        hectares), protecting habitat for more than 79 species at risk.
    

LEARN MORE

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading private land conservation organization, working to protect our valuable natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.

Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) coast to coast and more than 4,150 acres (1,680 hectares) on Prince Edward Island. By investing in conservation we are ensuring that our natural world remains a home for wildlife, a haven for recreation and a vital resource that cleans the air we breathe and the water we drink. Through strong partnerships NCC works to safeguard our natural areas so that our children and grandchildren will have the chance to enjoy them. www.natureconservancy.ca

Gifts to Canadians details, click here (http://www.natureconservancy.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=ncc_work_impact_feature33). Download photos click here

SOURCE Nature Conservancy of Canada

For further information: For further information: Crystal Folkins, Manager of Communications, Atlantic Region, The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Tel.: 506.450.6010, 1.877.231.4400, Mobile: 506.292.5118, Crystal.Folkins@natureconservancy.ca

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Nature Conservancy of Canada

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