Government of Canada Celebrates Canada's 1000th Ecogift in Manitoba—Over 150,000 Hectares of Wildlife Habitat Conserved since 1995

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MN, June 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Candice Bergen, Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, today celebrated Canada's 1000th Ecogift south of Austin, Manitoba. This Ecogift consists of 59 hectares of prairie grassland and aspen parkland that is ideal habitat for a large variety of birds. The land is also in the core range of the endangered northern prairie skink, Manitoba's only lizard.

"It is a great honour to recognize Canada's 1000th Ecogift in southern Manitoba and mark the success of the Ecological Gifts Program since its creation in 1995," said MP Bergen. "Over the past 18 years, Canadians have donated over 150,000 hectares of private land valued at approximately $630 million. With this program, Canadians can take real action to protect and conserve our country's ecosystems for present and future generations. I encourage other land owners to consider the Ecogift Program as it would be wonderful to protect more land, especially native prairie lands."

Since 1995, Canada's Ecological Gifts Program has encouraged private landowners to conserve ecologically sensitive land by donating it to a qualified recipient. Donors not only have the comfort of knowing that their cherished piece of nature will be cared for in the future, but they also receive significant income tax benefits.

"The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation is a proud partner in the Ecological Gifts Program and we will be responsible for conserving this prairie Ecogift in perpetuity," said John Whitaker, Chairperson of the Manitoba Heritage Habitat Corporation. "Working to conserve Canada's natural legacy through partnerships is what we do."

"Donating a perpetual conservation easement on this land has been a very rewarding experience," said Karl Gerrand, one of the private property donors of Canada's 1000th Ecogift. "It feels good to know that this land will remain undeveloped forever, and that future generations will be able to enjoy a natural untouched wilderness that past generations have taken for granted."

"One of the reasons I have valued having the land and want to protect it for the future is because of the opportunity it has provided for my children to be exposed to the natural environment and the educational opportunities it has provided me as a parent," said Trevor Pizzey, the other private property donor of Canada's 1000th Ecogift. "Regardless of the season, observation of the natural environment is a great way for any of us to learn something new."

For more information on the Ecological Gifts Program please visit Environment Canada's website at

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada at

SOURCE: Environment Canada

For further information:

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment

Media Relations
Environment Canada

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