Happy Birthday Canada!



    The Nature Conservancy of Canada saves Precious Island in Nova Scotia

    HALIFAX, June 24 /CNW/ -

    News

    As a big birthday gift to all Canadians, the Nature Conservancy of Canada
(NCC) today announces that a precious island along Nova Scotia's eastern coast
is saved for the enjoyment of future generations.
    Situated at the eastern tip of Martinique Beach approximately 30
kilometres from Halifax, Bayers Island is a 79-acre island located within
Musquodoboit Harbour. For NCC, it is considered the third of the "triple
crown" group of islands off of Martinique Beach requiring protection in this
special area. Bayers Island is an archipelago formed of three main islands
connected by barrier beaches. In 2000 and 2001, NCC secured the other two
islands in the area- Francis Nose Island & Gunner Island. The protection of
Bayers Island was a vital link in the protection of the Musquodoboit Harbour's
internationally significant coastal habitat.
    This sizeable land acquisition was achieved with the help of concerned
individuals, corporations, foundations and conservation organizations. NCC's
partners for this land acquisition include Ducks Unlimited Canada in
conjunction with the EJLB Foundation, ExxonMobil Canada Ltd., Fred & Elizabeth
Fountain, Government of Canada, Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, The
Shaw Group and many individuals.
    The announcement is part of NCC's eighth annual Gifts to Canadians
celebration. In the lead-up to Canada Day, events will be held from coast to
coast to celebrate this lasting natural legacy for all Canadians. Together the
10 Gifts to Canadians total just over 556 square kilometres - that's an area
slightly bigger than the Island of Montreal.
    The acquisition and long-term care of all 10 properties is made possible
thanks to the support of NCC's many partners, including the NCC-Government of
Canada Natural Areas Conservation Program. This unique public-private
partnership helps non-profit non-government organizations secure ecologically
sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our country's diverse ecosystems,
wildlife and habitat.

    Quotes

    "As we approach our nation's birthday, we need to ensure future
generations will be able to enjoy Canada's natural beauty" said Linda
Stephenson, Regional Vice President of NCC Atlantic Region. "Since 2000, NCC
has been working to secure this important habitat near Halifax. Today is a
very exciting day for us as we announce the completion of the 'triple crown'
group of Martinique Islands and their natural state is forever protected."

    "I am proud to mark the second anniversary of the Natural Areas
Conservation Program, a great partnership between the Government of Canada and
non-government conservation organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy of
Canada, that has yielded concrete results with the conservation of important
lands across our country," said Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice.
"This is a great example of what public-private partnerships can achieve when
sharing the same objectives of preserving and protecting Canada's
Environment."

    "I am pleased this expenditure from the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land
Legacy Trust is helping to protect our coastal lands," said Nova Scotia's
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. "The Nature Conservancy of Canada is
helping the province meet its goal of protecting 12 percent of our land base
by 2015".

    "Bayers Island is a key property in the securement of the globally
significant Musquodoboit Harbour Outer Estuary, and the provincially
significant Martinique Beach. The Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust is
pleased to have supported the conservation of this important ecosystem, and
applauds the Nature Conservancy of Canada for providing a land legacy for all
Nova Scotians and Canadians," said Karen Beazley, Chair, Nova Scotia Crown
Share Land Legacy Trust.

    "Hard-working Canadians from every walk of life helped us to protect
these lands. This is our chance to give something back. Through our Gifts to
Canadians, NCC recognizes the great conservation work being done. It's our way
of saying thank you. What better gift for Canadians than to ensure a lasting
natural legacy?" John Lounds, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of
Canada.

    
    Facts

    -   NCC has already protected more than 1,097-acres in Musquodoboit
        Harbour. NCC acquired Francis Nose Island in 2000 and Gunner Island
        in 2001, Bayers Island completes the protection of the "triple
        crown" group of islands. Musquodoboit Harbour is a tidal inlet,
        largely enclosed by a barrier sand beach and many forested islands.

    -   The 4,756-acre Musquodoboit Harbour Outer Estuary was designated as a
        Ramsar Site in 1987. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an
        intergovernmental treaty signed by 158 countries enlisted in a global
        effort to ensure the conservation of world-class wetlands.

    -   Its diverse coastal habitat types support huge congregations of
        Canada Geese (i.e. 8,000 geese during spring migration).

    -   It is also a fall migration stop for over 3,000 Green Winged Teal and
        hosts a winter population of over 2,000 American Black Ducks, which
        represents 1 percent of the global population of this species.

    -   The endangered Piping Plover also nests and breeds on Martinique
        Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Nova Scotia.

    -   Situated off the eastern tip of Martinique Beach, Bayers Island is a
        continuation of Martinique Beach's tidal/cobble beach/dune habitat
        complex.

    -   The Island's coastal forest of Spruce and Balsam Fir are ideal for
        bird species such as Osprey, Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron, while
        its surrounding mudflats and eelgrass beds support vast numbers of
        staging waterfowl.
    

    Learn More

    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 over 2 million
acres (809,371 hectares) of ecologically significant land across Canada and
over 18,500 acres (7,486 hectares) in Nova Scotia. Visit
www.natureconservancy.ca

    
    Great media opportunities available.
    Stunning still photography and B-roll available.
    





For further information:

For further information: Crystal Folkins, Communications Manager,
Atlantic Region, 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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