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.
- 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
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/
Ben Russell – Communications Manager
Island Nature Trust