Happy Birthday to Canada from the Nature Conservancy of Canada

    Nature Conservancy of Canada presents 814 acres as a gift to Atlantic

    FREDERICTON, June 30 /CNW/ - In celebration of Canada's birthday, the
Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) gave all Canadians a special gift that will
last a lifetime. A total of 814 acres of critical habitat have been conserved
in Atlantic Canada so that future generations can always enjoy Canada's
natural beauty.
    "The 2008 Gifts to Canadians is a present from NCC to all people living
in this great country. It's a celebration of Canada's natural beauty,
biodiversity, and the need to protect it," said Linda Stephenson, Regional
Vice President for NCC Atlantic Region. "Here in Atlantic Canada our gifts to
Canadians will protect mature forest, salt marsh, and habitat for some of our
most vulnerable residents, like the Piping Plover." The 2008 Gifts to
Canadians include: a 727-acre property near Halifax, NS, a 64-acre property 45
kilometres from Summerside, PEI, a 4-acre property near Dorchester, NB, and a
19-acre property in Bay St. George's, NL.
    The Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick properties have
been secured with support from the Government of Canada under the Natural
Areas Conservation Program. Launched by the Government of Canada in March
2007, the program aims to accelerate and enhance the efforts of NCC and other
groups to protect precious natural areas for the benefit of current and future
    "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
Atlantic Canada is just one more example that our Government is taking real
and aggressive action to preserve our natural heritage."
    The announcements are part of NCC's seventh annual Gifts to Canadians
celebration. In the lead-up to Canada Day, NCC is presenting 10 Gifts across
the country, one from each province. These landscapes represent NCC's ongoing
mission to conserve the country's biodiversity from coast to coast, and to
leave a lasting natural legacy. This year's Gifts total approximately 33.5
square kilometres. Each of the Gifts to Canadians provides habitat for rare or
endangered species. Once a property is secured, NCC develops detailed land
stewardship plans to ensure that the site's natural integrity is maintained
and protected for the long term.
    These Gifts to Canadians have been made possible by the support of
thousands of concerned individuals, corporations, foundations and other
conservation organizations across the country. Many of the properties have
been conserved in partnership with other organizations, including the federal
and provincial governments, whose work NCC gratefully acknowledges.

    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 nearly 2 million acres (809,371 hectares) of ecologically
significant land across Canada.

    For more information please visit www.natureconservancy.ca.

                       Backgrounder on each property:

    Sandy Point, Newfoundland and Labrador -
    In Newfoundland and Labrador, NCC has acquired a 19 acre (eight hectare)
property on Sandy Point Island in St. George's Bay, on the southwest coast of
Newfoundland. The property adds to the 35 acres (14 hectares) already
protected by NCC on Sandy Point Island. The coastal habitat found here, with
its sand dunes and salt marshes, is uncommon, because much of Newfoundland's
coast consists of rugged, rocky shoreline and sheer cliffs.

    North Enmore, Prince Edward Island -
    NCC has acquired 64 acres (25 hectares) along the Percival River on the
PEI side of the Northumberland Strait. The area encompasses important coastal
habitats, including the largest and deepest unbroken tract of salt marsh on
the island. The acquisition of this property ensures the habitat will continue
to be an important refuge for migratory birds and ultimately contribute to the
sustainability of waterfowl populations in PEI and the Atlantic Flyway.

    Three Bridges Brook, Nova Scotia -
    The acquisition of 727 acres (294 hectares) surrounded by the
Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Provincial Wilderness Area will ensure that no
development or logging takes place here, protecting almost 21,000 acres (8,498
hectares) of continuous forest only kilometers from Halifax. The property is
important for its size and mature forests, but is perhaps most significant for
its contribution to protecting viable ecological corridors for future

    Johnston's Mills, New Brunswick -
    This year, NCC has added critical habitat to the Johnson's Mills
Shorebird Reserve. The newly acquired 4 acres (2 hectares) adds to the
existing 312 acres (125 hectares) protected in Johnson's Mills. Although small
in size, the beach directly in front of Johnson's Mills is one of the most
important resting sites for shorebirds in the area. This land adds to the
buffer zone that is crucial to the ecological integrity of Johnson's Mills and
will ensure that no further development occurs here.

    Stunning still photographs available via FTP.

For further information:

For further information: Crystal Folkins, Communications Manager,
Atlantic, The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Phone: (506) 450-6010, Cell: (506)
292-5118, Crystal.Folkins@natureconservancy.ca, www.natureconservancy.ca/at

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