First of its kind donation sees American family return forest and wetland back to Islanders

A game-changing cross-border partnership between Island Nature Trust and American Friends of Canadian Conservation – launched to help American landowners donate their land for conservation purposes – is celebrating its first win.

American ownership is approximately 3.5% of the total land on PEI, yet for many years, American landowners interested in donating land for conservation purposes have experienced disproportionate legal and financial barriers. However, thanks to INT and American Friends initiative forged in 2018, significant tax relief is now secured for American donors.

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Trail Cameras Stolen from INT Natural Area in Georgetown

Stolen Trail Cameras - Georgetown

Our natural area in Georgetown, PE has recently been subject to a variety of illegal and unwanted activity, including trees being cut down, bonfires, camping, and significant activity by motorized vehicles (dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles). This property is protected under the PEI Natural Areas Protection Act (NAPA) – which disallows these activities due to the negative impacts on flora and fauna.

To reduce these harmful actions, as well as monitor for wildlife, one of our conservation guardians set up four trail cameras on July 19th. When our conservation guardian went to collect the trail cameras to check the footage, three of the trail cameras were missing (presumed stolen), with the remaining trail camera turned to face the opposite direction. When he checked the footage, he found that within an hour of setting up the trail camera dirt bikes appeared on the trail, and by later that afternoon our trail camera had been turned off. In addition, our natural area signs had been removed and destroyed.

Our team at Island Nature Trust is very disappointed by these actions. We work hard to protect natural areas across the Island for the benefit of both Islanders and wildlife; to see this blatant disrespect for our natural area and property is quite disheartening.

We rely on our conservation guardians to be our ‘feet on the ground’ as we work to protect and steward over 6,000 acres across PEI with a limited staff. If you live in the Georgetown area and are interested in volunteering as a conservation guardian for this property, we would love to hear from you! If you are interested in helping in other ways, we are seeking donations to cover the cost of replacing signs, cameras and installing motorized vehicle barriers at trail entrances.  

Thank you to all of you who support us and help us work for wildlife!

-Island Nature Trust

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An Introduction to Ecosystem Services

By Janell Smith

What are ecosystem services and why are they important?

Ecosystem services are the benefits that nature provides to humans and are often categorized into provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural. You may be most familiar with provisioning ecosystem services – including food from forests, fields, and oceans; lumber for timber and firewood; drinking water; and even natural gas and oil. Other provisioning services include plants for clothing and materials, as well as natural medicines.

Regulating services provided by natural ecosystems include climate regulation, pollination, purification of water, erosion control, flood control, and carbon storage. Supporting services include the processes that often go unseen but are fundamental to human health, such as soil formation, nutrient cycling, and water cycling. Cultural services are the non-material benefits provided by nature through spiritual enrichment, inspiration, recreation, and aesthetic value (as you can see, ecosystem services are vital to our everyday lives!). As with all life, the categories of ecosystem services are interconnected. For example, fruit trees (provisioning service) rely on the soil (supporting service) and pollination (regulating service) to thrive.

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Trail Code of Care

Here at the Trust, we are ready to greet the long-awaited arrival of summer and we welcome you to venture out to one of natural areas. While we understand people’s need to immerse themselves in the natural environment, it is crucial to do so while being mindful of our responsibilities to Island wildlife.

Please read, download or print our Island Nature Trust – Trail Code of Care before venturing out to one of our natural area trails.

Our Trails

Jenkins Complex Natural Area

Kildare Forest Natural Area

Barbara Green Natural Area

INT is celebrating spring by teaming up with PEI liquor stores for the ‘Let’s Protect Our Island’ campaign

From left: Helena Villard, Manager of Queen Street liquor store, Darlene Compton, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Control Commission and Bianca McGregorExecutive Director of Island Nature Trust. Pictured at the Queen Street liquor store in Charlottetown.

After a one-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘Lets Protect Our Island’ collaboration between Island Nature Trust and the PEI Liquor Control Commission is now entering its fifth year. The campaign running from April 1st to May 18th with participating suppliers of beer, wine and spirits donating up to $1 from their sales of participating products at PEILCC retail outlets to Island Nature Trust. Signage promoting this initiative – including the featured products – can be found in all 18 PEI Liquor retail outlets across the province.

Participating products are marked with the Island Nature Trust logo, such as this brand new ‘Beacon Blonde’ beer by Gahan.

The pandemic has restricted Islanders’ access to the rest of the world but reintroduced us to the beauty in the landscape just outside our doors. Collectively, we have recognized the tremendous benefits that interacting with natural spaces have on our physical and mental health. Now there is an opportunity to invest in those lands that have kept us grounded in one of the hardest years many of us have experienced. Two donations of properties in 2020 in Indian River and New Glasgow brings the total Island Nature Trust natural areas with existing trail systems to seven. This year’s LCC funding drive will allow the Trust to maintain and steward our trails in addition to hosting education and engagement opportunities. As we face another summer of restricted travel, this focus for the year’s collaboration with the PEILCC will provide benefit to the people of PEI as well as the land.

Campaign funds will go towards stewarding existing natural areas with public access trails, such as the Kildare Forest Natural Area in Huntley.
Students from Westisle School help to clean up the perimeter of Kildare Forest Natural Area. The property is one of seven INT natural areas that contain public trails.

Island Nature Trust is committed to investing in the future of Islanders by working to protect natural landscapes in PEI. Since 2016, funds from the initiative have helped Island Nature Trust protect over 1,600 acres of forest, wetlands and coast in PEI. The commitment doesn’t end when Island Nature Trust acquires the land but continues in the form of wise and active stewardship of those protected natural spaces.

We and our children directly benefit from the ecological services these natural areas provide with clean water, clean air and an environment resilient to climate change. As our property portfolio increases so do our costs for responsible land management, public trails stewardship, effective communication with Island communities and education and collaboration with user groups.

“The contribution of this 5-year funding campaign with LCC to land conservation in PEI has helped us significantly accelerate our protection program. We are full of plans to make this summer a great time for Islanders to reconnect with the Island’s beautiful natural landscapes.” Megan Harris, Director of Conservation

INT logo’s will be adorned on signage situated on the liquor store aisles of participating products.
Queen Street liquor store manager Helena Villard shows INT Executive Director, Bianca McGregor an example of a popular participating productWoodbridge’s range of wines.