Buote family donates legacy upland hardwood forest in New Glasgow

It’s a crisp fall morning. The leaves crunching under our feet betray the silence as Rowena Lawlor and Faren Buote accompany me into the Buote Heritage Woods Natural Area in New Glasgow. The stand of old white pine trees greeting us at the entrance to the trail have a stoic presence. The forest is looking unusually skeletal for this time of year thanks to the recent destruction of Hurricane Fiona. Only a few isolated red and amber patches are visible, indicating some leafed branches were spared the intense winds that tore through the rest of the canopy not long ago.

‘This is the spot where my siblings and I came across a large owl last year,’ says Rowena, one of eight siblings who – as a family – donated the woods to Island Nature Trust in 2021. Her voice crackles with emotion. ‘Walking together in the woods it suddenly appeared ahead of us in the trees. It felt like the owl was our mother Clarice proudly looking down on us. She would have been so happy to know that this land is now protected, forever’.

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Thanking nature in the wake of Hurricane Fiona

‘It could have been worse!’ This is the sentiment lingering in the minds of many Islanders after Hurricane Fiona hit the Island as a powerful post-tropical storm on September 23-24, 2022. Those who saw iconic sand dunes disappear and swaths of forested areas flattened by the winds witnessed the immediate impacts of one of the most damaging events in recent Island history. Nevertheless, the team at Island Nature Trust is striving for a more positive outlook and a regenerative way forward that can give hope to all Islanders.

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Fluttery new beer launched by Lone Oak Brewery in partnership with INT aims to raise awareness for the endangered Monarch butterfly

On Thursday, July 21, 2022, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced that the Monarch butterfly has been place on the international endangered list. Coincidentally, Lone Oak Brewery in partnership with Island Nature Trust are today launching a limited-edition beer in tribute of the iconic species.

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Island Nature Trust showcases never-before-seen drone footage of recently acquired natural areas ahead of fundraising campaign relaunch

To celebrate the record-breaking success of last years Saving Our Island campaign, the Trust is launching a series of short videos revealing a birds-eye view and first glimpse of the natural areas acquired in 2021. The purchase of these ecologically rich properties was only made possible because of the generosity of Islanders. The first episode, is available at https://islandnaturetrust.ca/match/

Since April 2021, The Trust has nearly tripled its yearly acquisitions by securing 21 ecologically sensitive properties across PEI. In that time, 1,822 acres of natural area were secured. This continues an impressive growth trajectory, which has seen the 40-year-old Trust acquire over a third of its total natural areas within three years.

Through the Saving Our Island campaign – first launched in September 2021 – the Trust asked Islanders to help connect PEI’s patchwork landscape by either donating their land to Add A Patch or giving cash to Match A Patch, to see their contribution quadrupled by the Trust’s conservation partners. Funds raised allowed the Trust to continue its mission to strategically secure a corridor of natural areas across PEI. Lastly, Mend A Patch used cash donations to ensure the long-term stewardship of the Trust’s acquired natural areas.

1,304 acres were purchased by INT in 2021-22 and a further 518 acres donated thanks to the generosity of the Island community.

Ecosystem Services: A standout feature of these ecologically important acquired areas is the plethora of benefits they provide to Islanders, not just nature. Crucially, the carbon sequestration potential of large forest blocks, wetland and marshland present in recent acquisitions are a natural defence to the rising effects of climate change.

The acquisitions, made possible from last years Match A Patch campaign, will all be protected in perpetuity under the PEI Natural Areas Protection Act and include:

  • Wji’kijek – MapleCross Natural Area: This property is an expansion to the Crown Point Wji’kijek Natural Area in Alexandra and hosts coastal Krummholz forest and a freshwater marsh that once connected to Jardines bay. The parcel’s edge contains coastal bluffs that supports one of INT’s focus species-at-risk, the bank swallow. Crown Point is associated with considerable cultural signifigance. Wji’kijek translates to “the place where stumps are found.”
  • MapleCross – Morell River Riparian Zone Natural Area: Comprising of three connective properties that are an addition to the many protected areas along the Morell River. This waterway has been recognized for its ecological and cultural significance, reflected with a 60-meter conservation zone along much of its length. These new parcels are a haven for songbirds and spring ephemerals that lie at the water’s edge.
  • Midgell River Riparian Zone Natural Area: This is an addition to adjoining protected lands that make up the Martinvale – Corraville Wildlife Management Area. This headwater forest is dominated by mature black spruce, and supports a large number of rare species, including the nationally at-risk Eastern wood pee-wee.
  • Nebraska Creek Riparian Zone Natural Area: This property is an addition to the Trust’s natural areas within the Miscouche bog region, which is known for rare species richness and carbon sequestration potential. Also within the parcel is lowland forest passing through Nebraska Creek and a coastal salt marsh that borders Grand River.

Five parcels were donated to Add A Patch to be protected in perpetuity. The largest of which is a 268-acre property donated by the MacKay family in 2021. The ecologically diverse area sits next to Strang Road in Prince County and features a sizeable block of carbon sucking peatland and bog. The habitat is known to support Canada warbler, while housing several uncommon, tracked flora such as royal fern, Vermont blackberry, white fringed orchid and rose pogonia.

The property was donated to the Island Nature Trust under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.

Land donor Gordon MacKay said that while the tax incentives offered by the Ecogift program were appealing, his family were ‘incredibly grateful to see their land protected for the benefits of both people and nature.’

Considering the impact of increased development and looming effects of climate change, Gordon believes that it was just the right time to donate his family’s land to the Trust. He adds, ‘knowing that our donation of land will continue to provide benefits to the Island community in the face of global biodiversity loss and trusting that the land will be preserved in its natural state forever is comforting to our family.’

The ecologically diverse property was named the Jean and Stewart MacKay Natural Area after Gordon’s parents and features a bog bordered with a rare stand of jack pine dominates the eastern parcel, while the western parcel supports red maple and black spruce lowland mixed wood forest and feeds groundwater through seeps to Dalton’s Brook. These parcels form a large block proximate to protected public land in the Haliburton Ironwood Natural Area and Locke Rd Jack Pine Woodland Natural Area.

The undisturbed nature of the peatlands within the eastern parcel allows for continued carbon sequestration in an area of western Prince Edward Island experiencing dramatic loss of stored carbon through forest conversion to agriculture.

Island Nature Trust just surpassed the 7,800-acre mark for protected natural areas and has a goal to acquire another 2,000 acres in 2022.

The Trust has developed conservation alliances with the Province of PEI and Ontario based, MapleCross Fund to relaunch the Saving Our Island campaign. Through these partners, we are excited to announce every dollar donated to the campaign will be tripled! Our goal is to raise $150,000, which will be matched by both conservation partners, allowing us to dedicate over $450,000 to Island land conservation.

Islanders can learn more about the campaign and donate online at https://islandnaturetrust.ca/patchwork/

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Island Nature Trust is a membership-based, non-government, Canadian charity dedicated to land conservation in Prince Edward Island since 1979. We envision a future where P.E.I. has a network of protected, robust natural areas championed by knowledgeable, engaged Islanders.

We envision a network of protected natural areas across PEI sustained by the love and generosity of Islanders today for the enjoyment of Islanders and wildlife tomorrow.

Quick Facts

  • Ecological Gift – Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program provides a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature and leave a legacy for future generations. It offers significant tax benefits to landowners who donate land or a partial interest in land to a qualified recipient, by providing exemption from capital gains tax.
  • To learn more about the Ecological Gifts Program, please visit http://www.ec.gc.ca/pde-egp/.
  • Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits to humans provided by the natural environment and from healthy ecosystems. Such ecosystems include, for example, agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems. Healthy, functioning ecosystems offer services like natural pollination of crops, clean air, extreme weather mitigation, and human mental and physical well-being

Learn More

268 acre land donation announcement: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/mackay-family-donates-268-acre-lowland-forest-and-wetland-to-add-a-patch/

Fundraising success for land acquisition targets: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/campaign_success/

An introduction to Ecosystem Services: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/introduction-to-ecosystem-services/

INT Quarterly Magazine: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/magazine/

Saving Our Island campaign: www.islandnaturetrust.ca/patchwork

MapleCross: https://maplecross.ca/


Ben RussellCommunications Manager
Island Nature Trust

MacKay Family Donates 268 Acre Lowland Forest and Wetland to Add a Patch

Last year, five parcels were donated to the Add a Patch campaign to be protected in perpetuity. The largest of these properties was donated by the MacKay family in 2021 – sitting next to Strang Road in Haliburton, Prince County – it features a sizeable area of carbon absorbing peatland and bog. The habitat is known to support Canada warbler, while housing several uncommon, tracked flora such as royal fern, Vermont blackberry, white fringed orchid and rose pogonia.

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Island Nature Trust announces first major campaign fundraising success as conservation partners quadruple donations from Islanders

The Trust’s Saving Our IsLAND matching campaign reaches $600K, thanks to public support and new collaborations with MapleCross and the Province of PEI

February 28th 2022: Island Nature Trust and the Province of PEI’s mission to protect 7% of PEI by 2030 and become the first province in Canada to reach Net Zero, took a significant step forward today.

The Saving Our Island campaign launched in September 2021, with a deadline for 1st March 2022 to raise $150,000 for the long-term protection of PEI’s remaining native forests, has now been reached.

On the back of new conservation alliances with the Province of PEI, MapleCross Fund based in Ontario and an anonymous benefactor – pledges from the matching partners will allow the total to grow from $150,000 to $600,000.

Over the last year, campaign funds have enabled INT to double the yearly acreage of acquisitions for ecologically sensitive land in PEI. In this period, INT secured 2175 acres of natural area, which is the largest amount of land secured over twelve-months in he Trust’s 40-year history.

Thanks to the success of the campaign, a recent addition to Crown Point – Wji’kijek Natural Area in Alexandra, which expands a coastal migratory flyway for shore birds, a rare 37-acre home to spawning Atlantic Salmon in Bangor, 200 acres of riparian forest along the culturally significant Midgell River (Elm Road), and a 65-acre parcel of rare cedar and white ash forested wetland in Miscouche will all be protected in perpetuity under the Natural Areas Protection Act. The two Natural Areas in Alexandra and Bangor are due be formally named by MapleCross later in the year.

“It is truly remarkable to see the Trust’s first ever major fundraising campaign succeed on so many levels. We have new partners who are committed for the long term and the response from Islanders who have stood up in support is heart warming. However, with natural areas estimated to cost on average of $1000 per acre or more, and eight years left to save up to an additional 35,000+ acres to meet initial targets, all of Prince Edward Islands conservation partners really need to ramp up annual acreage amounts put under protection.” – Bianca McGregor, Executive Director at Island Nature Trust

Inspired by campaign messaging and encounters with passionate and knowledgeable INT supporters, Isobel Ralston & Jan Oudenes of MapleCross committed matching funds in the Fall of 2021 on the understanding that Islanders would come together in support of the campaign and raise the $150,000 seeding amount by 1st March 2022.

MapleCross Fund was launched in 2017 to provide funds to Canadian land trusts on a mission to preserve and steward land in perpetuity. With their investment, MapleCross posed the question; “will Islanders respond and help protect what lies in their own backyards?”

“The locals really must get involved. It shows that a campaign is worthwhile, and our future investment will be also dependent on whether the community is engaged and contributing. So, we may get on board with a project but if there’s a lack of support from locals, we then ask ourselves, is it really worth investing in this Trust again?” – Isobel Ralston & Jan Oudenes, MapleCross

Islanders profoundly answered that question today with $150,000 donated by 303 individuals.

Following a public appeal to raise the remaining $20,000 for the Match A Patch Campaign in early February of this year, Judy Profitt, a 7th generation Islander from Brackley donated $5000 to the Saving Our Island: Match A Patch campaign:

“The matching campaign was very attractive to me. Since the impact is amplified by major benefactors, I feel my donation isn’t stuck in a bubble. For someone who cares deeply about their Island, how often do opportunities – to make a real difference – like this present themselves?’

“My father, Wendell Profitt was a passionate about protecting PEI’s native forests. Up until his death in 2017, he worked tirelessly for the protection of natural sites through his employment for many years with the PEl Government as well as through his volunteer activity with the Island Nature Trust. He would have been incredibly heartened to see the Province of PEI standing together with INT to protect these forests” says Judy.”

“We are pleased to work alongside the Island Nature Trust as they further their mission to protect land on PEI,” said Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, Steven Myers. “Our approach to reaching net zero has to consider all factors, and land use and protection is a major priority.”

Having just surpassed the 7000-acre mark for INT protected Natural Areas – the trust intends to ramp up its mission to help secure thousands of acres more by the end of the decade.

“This campaign isn’t the end. it’s the beginning of a process. If we can raise $600,000 in five months, imagine what we can raise in eight years!’ exclaims INT Executive Director, Bianca McGregor.

The takeaway according to Bianca: “This is a success hinged on the support from today’s Islanders that will resonate with future generations. Donations from Islanders are now being leveraged by growing alliances with investors and partners. This marriage will ensure the long-term survival of our Island and I speak on behalf of our all of our matching partners in humbly thanking everyone that participated.”

Images & Video

Photographs available on request


Island Nature Trust is a membership-based, non-government, Canadian charity dedicated to land conservation in Prince Edward Island since 1979. We envision a future where P.E.I. has a network of protected, robust natural areas championed by knowledgeable, engaged Islanders.

We envision a network of protected natural areas across PEI sustained by the love and generosity of Islanders today for the enjoyment of Islanders and wildlife tomorrow.

Learn More

Website article: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/campaign_success/

INT Spring Newsletter: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/wp-content/uploads/March-2022-INT-Quarterly-Newsletter-compressed.pdf

Saving Our Island campaign: https://islandnaturetrust.ca/patchwork/

MapleCross: https://maplecross.ca/


Ben RussellCommunications Manager
Island Nature Trust