Island Nature Trust (INT) proudly announces an expansion to its 182-acre protected Crown Point – Wjikijek Natural Area in Alexandra with the generous contribution of the 117-acre Judson Salt Marsh Natural Area. This remarkable gift from the Judson family is a testament to their commitment to safeguarding an area of Prince Edward Island that’s been loved and cared for by their family for generations.
Corridors of Connectivity: The Importance of Expanding Protected Areas
Island Nature Trust’s mission depends on the acquisition of interconnected natural areas, protecting in perpetuity the landscapes that define Prince Edward Island. These sanctuaries offer shelter and habitat to a myriad of species while ensuring the sustenance of our natural resources, benefiting the Island’s entire community. The initial acquisition of Crown Point – Wjikijek Natural Area Crown Point headland in March 2020 was made possible through collective support from Environment Canada, the MapleCross Fund, and approximately 100 individual donations from Islanders, illustrating the power of collective action. Its protection was of paramount importance due to the development pressures of being near Charlottetown and Stratford. The rapid urban expansion in these areas highlights the urgency of securing and preserving natural habitats like Crown Point.
The Judson Family: A Pivotal Contribution
The Judson family’s decision to donate their land adds a new chapter to the Crown Point conservation story. Island Nature Trust approached the Judson family, recognizing that expanding the protection of this headland aligns with its mission to create a mosaic of interconnected natural areas, ensuring the ecological health of the Island’s landscapes and the well-being of its diverse species.
Island Nature Trust Executive Director, Bianca McGregor, stated, “The Judson’s legacy of keeping this land in their family and managing it over generations with intent to maintain it as a natural area exemplifies the spirit of Island Nature Trust’s mission. We’re honoured that the family has decided to allow us to continue this very important work. Joining this donated land with the previously purchased adjacent land, will ensure the continued natural integrity of the ecosystems and species that call Crown Point home.”
William Judson, representing the Judson family, shared his sentiments, saying, “My entire family has actively worked to protect the land and keep it in its natural state. When we were approached by INT, we decided the timing was right for us to donate the land to ensure its continued protection.”
A Lifelong Connection
William Judson continued, “My father and mother, Donald and Virginia Judson, purchased this land as part of the family farm in the late 1960s. We spent many years, while growing up, experiencing what the marsh had to offer – picking cranberries, hunting ducks in the fall, and playing in the marsh. We would follow the fox and racoon runs, catch minnows in buckets, and dissect owl pellets. We knew where every water hole was located, and we watched the changes in the marsh year after year.”
Left: Judson Salt Marsh Natural Area shown in Green. Other INT natural areas shown in orange. Salt marsh is pink, freshwater marsh is light blue, bog is brown, and sand dunes are yellow-tan.
A Landmark in Alexandra
Crown Point, located southeast of Stratford, PEI, is a relatively undeveloped coastal headland. It serves as a natural barrier protecting the rural communities of Alexandra and Pownal from the forces of storm surges, winds, and high spring tides. The salt marsh on the property is part of a wider band of coastal salt marsh that stretches along Hillsborough Bay from Stratford to Orwell.
A Cultural and Ecological Gem
Crown Point is not only an ecological treasure but also holds significant cultural history for both the Mi’kmaq and the Acadians. The area is believed to contain Mi’kmaq and Acadian burial grounds, along with evidence of Mi’kmaq camps and French battlegrounds.
The coastal forest on the Judson Salt Marsh Natural Area boasts mixed wood stands, including white spruce, trembling aspen, white birch, red maple, eastern larch, and American beech. A 3-acre island within Jardine’s Bay hosts a similar forest structure, with older hardwoods and established pit and mound topography. The presence of alder swamp along the salt marsh provides habitat for the federally at-risk Canada warbler.
L-R: Donors Tara, Oliver, Bridget, Isaac, William and Elliot Judson at the Judson Salt Marsh Natural Area in Alexandra
A Gift to Future Generations
The Judson family’s decision to donate this ecologically significant land highlights their deep connection to the Island’s history and natural heritage. Their donation will ensure the continued protection of Crown Point’s unique ecosystems.
William Judson reiterated, “This land has been part of my family’s life for generations, even before my parents purchased it in the 1960s. The Judson family has lived in the area for over 200 years. Stories have been passed down from generation to generation about the marsh and the families that made use of it.”
Land donations like the one from the Judson family secure the natural heritage of Prince Edward Island for generations to come. While financial contributions are critical for Island Nature Trust to continue its work, donating land is a powerful symbol of commitment to conservation. It is a message that echoes through time, safeguarding the Island’s ecological diversity.
The Judson family’s act of preserving their land ensures the continuity of the natural tapestry at Crown Point, and their contribution is an inspiration for all of us to continue protecting the precious environments that make Prince Edward Island unique.
Island Nature Trust is a membership-based, non-government, Canadian charity dedicated to land conservation in Prince Edward Island since 1979.
In a race against time, our mission is to preserve and steward forever a network of natural areas and wildlife habitats across PEI and bring together those who care about preserving PEI’s natural legacy for future generations.
We are a key provider of technical, science-based knowledge on land stewardship and wildlife in PEI for landowners, governments, and partner environmental groups.
We provide mentorship and employment opportunities to people committed to land stewardship, conservation research and wildlife monitoring who will continue building on the long tradition of Island Nature Trust as the premiere land trust on the Island.
Island Nature Trust
Ben Russell – Communications Manager