Artificial Intelligence for Island Community Conservation

In 2022 Island Nature Trust (INT) was awarded funding from RBC Foundation through RBC Tech for Nature to implement a technology-based project, “LandSteward: Artificial Intelligence for Island Community Conservation.” Through this project INT collaborated with Korotu Technology Inc. (Korotu) to create, launch, and pilot “LandSteward” – a cutting edge technology utilizing remote sensing data and artificial intelligence driven analysis tools to monitor changes in the landscape – allowing INT to explore ways that technology can help the organization achieve its vision of a network of protected areas across Prince Edward Island.

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Celebrating a true Island steward

Prince Edward Island has lost a great champion of our land and water with the passing of Dr. John Andrew of Charlottetown (East Royalty) on January 24th. John learned the importance of soil and water quality on the family’s multi-generational, mixed farm and Andrew’s Mills property. He used this knowledge and advocated for better stewardship, trail development, and enjoyment of nature in both Halifax and Charlottetown.

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2022 Bank Swallow Review

Bank swallows (Riparia riparia) are insectivorous songbirds with a distinctive dark brown breast band separating their brown upperparts from their white underparts. Known for their fast, agile flights, these small passerines can be seen buzzing acrobatically through the air along Prince Edward Island’s coasts during the spring and summertime. Bank swallows nest colonially in sandstone cliffs, till bluffs, high sand dunes, and sand pits. As they fly over nearby meadows, wetlands, and agricultural grasslands they forage on insects like beetles, wasps, bees, flying ants, and mayflies. Based on this feeding strategy, bank swallows belong to a guild of birds called aerial insectivores. Like many aerial insectivores, bank swallow populations in Canada are declining due to threats contributing to the loss of their breeding and foraging habitats: land use changes and associated agricultural intensification, and the practice of shoreline armouring. Bank swallow may also be indirectly impacted by pesticide use, which reduces the abundance and availability of their insect prey. In recognition of these threats, bank swallow was listed as a threatened species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2017. 

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Private Steward Jeanne Maki

Jeanne Maki under a beautiful beech tree on her property.

Jeanne Maki is one of the private land stewards that has taken the safekeeping of PEI’s natural areas into her own hands. Jeanne protected two forested properties in 2019 under the PEI Natural Areas Protection Act, the 40.5-acre Page and Maki Natural Area in Lewes and the 50-acre Jeanne Maki Natural Area in Iona. Jeanne has been a fixture in the conservation community for many years and was the 2020 recipient of the Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award for her significant work in increasing and improving natural areas in PEI. Here are a few thoughtful words from Jeanne about her choice to protect her land:

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Deroche Pond Celebration

2019 is a big year for Island Nature Trust and Nature PEI; it’s INT’s 40th anniversary and Nature PEI’s 50th. To celebrate, we hosted a joint event at one of INT’s oldest protected areas, the Deroche Pond Natural Area.

Various activities took place throughout the day, including: canoe trips across the pond, guided nature tours, and kids games.

A full schedule of the events and accompanying map is below!

Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award Recipients – 2019

Congratulations to Helen MacPhail and her brother in-law, Eric MacPhail, the recent recipients of the 2019 Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award!

The Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas award is an award program established by the Island Nature Trust to honour an individual, group, or agency who/which has made a significant contribution to the protection of natural areas in Prince Edward Island.

The MacPhails donated an 80-acre piece of mature Acadian Forest located in Elmwood to the Island Nature Trust in 2015. This was done through the Ecological Gifts Program administered by the Government of Canada which encourages owners of significant ecologically important land to donate it for conservation. The recipient was the Island Nature Trust who now holds the deed for this property. The land has subsequently been legally designated for protection under the Natural Areas Protection Act.

Senator Diane Griffin Presenting the Hon. J. Angus MacLean Award to Helen MacPhail
Senator Diane Griffin Presenting the Hon. J. Angus MacLean Award to Eric MacPhail

Past Winners of INT Awards


1987    Harold Jenkins – establishment of private waterfowl sanctuary.

1989    Col. Patrick & Ann Wootton – protection of Herring Island and Thomas Island.

1990    Hon. J. Angus MacLean – protection of an International Biological Program site on his property.

1991    Mike & Cathy Edward – protection of hemlock stands on their property, part of an IBP site.

1991    Piping Plover Partnership – Piping Plover protection program in the Prince Edward Island National Park: – Canadian Parks Service, – Parks & People Association, – Cavendish Tourist Association

1992    Col. Denny Hopping & Indian River Conservation Development Project – establishment of a nature trail and public education at the Indian River Wildlife Management Area.

1993    Gary Schneider & Macphail Woods Project – active management and educational programs at the Sir Andrew Macphail property, part of which is an International Biological Program site.

1994    Therese d’Amour – establishment of a private nature preserve and for public education.  A contributor to Island Nature Trust projects.

1995    Garry McAdam & Leo Hendricken of Georgetown Elementary Environmental Group for their work.

1996    Dave Biggar for all his work on the Trout River Natural Area, Prince County.

1997    Concerned Citizens of Eastern Kings for successfully preventing the peat mining of Baltic Bog.  Dan McAskill for his life time achievement for outstanding contributions to natural areas preservation.

1998    Dr. Ian MacQuarrie for his lifetime efforts towards protection of natural areas.

1999    Trout River Environmental Committee for work to restore wildlife & fish habitat along Trout River Watershed, Queens County.  Daryl Guignion for his lifetime efforts towards protection of natural areas.

2000    Garnet Buell of Murray River for protection of 100 acres of woodland and wetland.  Bruce Smith of Stratford for over two decades of conservation work on Prince Edward Island.

2001    George Webster for all the work on his land in Maple Plains.  Gary Griffin for conserving almost 100 acres of his land.  Ruth Enman for all her efforts in protecting Hermitage Creek.

2002    Dr. Doug Sobey for his classification of the Island’s forest system and Modhaicdh Farms for implementing a variety of good land stewardship initiatives.

2003    Hon. Gilbert Clements for his contributions to natural areas protection and legislation.

2004    The late Harvey Moore for establishing Moore Bird Sanctuary in Milltown Cross.

2005    Bruce Pigot for all his natural history conservation efforts over the last four decades.

2006    Sisters of St. Martha for creating a wetland just off Mt. Edward Rd. and Rosemary Curley for her lifetime efforts towards the protection of natural areas.

2007    TARRP for their outstanding work to ensure the Eagles Landing Tracadie Bog was protected under the PEI Natural Areas Protection Act.

2008    Diane Griffin for her lifetime efforts towards protection of natural areas.

2009    James & Barbara Munves for protecting two Natural Areas.

2010    No nominations received.

2011    Wendell M. Profitt of Charlottetown for many years of dedicated work for natural areas and Provincial Parks

2012    Dr. Douglas Sobey for his outstanding contribution to natural areas protection.

2013    Upton Farmland Trust for their work to permanently protect & manage green space in the Charlottetown area

2014    Charles Perret & Gloria McKinnon-Perret for donating 187 acres of land at Cable Head East to the Island Nature Trust

2015    Jackie Waddell for all her efforts towards protecting natural areas on PEI.

2016    Nature Conservancy – PEI Chapter & Julie Vasseur for protecting natural areas on PEI.

2017    Edward & Agnes Laughlin for donating their 20.4 acre property at Foley’s Pond in Kildare.

2018    Randy Dibblee for spearheading the mapping of wetlands with scores based on the wildlife values for Prince Edward Island.

Celebrating 40 Years

Greater yellowlegs at Tracadie Harbour by Shirley Gallant

Celebrating 40 Years of Conservation

2019 marks Island Nature Trust’s 40th Anniversary! To celebrate this milestone, Island Nature Trust hosted a very special fundraising event on May 10th. The event was held at the PEI Brewing Company and featured live entertainment, a buffet meal, silent auction items, and opportunities to sign up for some incredible workshops and nature-oriented experiences guided by knowledgeable Islanders that will be taking place throughout the year.

Congratulations to Pat McIntyre who won the draw for the stunning life-sized Great Blue Heron carving crafted by Dave Broderick of Alberton!