The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced that the Ecological Gifts Program has reached an important milestone: Canadians have donated over one billion dollars’ worth of ecologically sensitive land for the purpose of conservation since 1995. Between the generosity of Canadians and the commitment of the Government to nature protection, we are making progress towards conserving a quarter of lands and a quarter of oceans in Canada by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030.
Over 1,600 ecological gifts have been donated across Canada, protecting more than 213,000 hectares of wildlife habitat, including for many species at risk.
The $1-billion milestone was reached with the most recent project in Frontenac County, Ontario, thanks in part to two generous neighbours who donated adjacent parcels of land to the Land Conservancy for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, resulting in the creation of a 171-hectare nature reserve in southern Ontario. The nature reserve protects remarkably diverse habitats that include mixed-age coniferous/deciduous forests, thin-soiled grassy ridgetops, rock outcrops and small cliffs, and a wide-array of wetlands including fens, marshes, swamps, vernal pools, a large creek, and two large ponds. To date, 965 unique species have been identified within the nature reserve, including multiple species at risk such as Midland Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Blanding’s Turtle, Eastern Wood Pewee, Five-lined Skink and Monarch.
For over twenty-five years, the Ecological Gifts Program has provided a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature and leave a legacy for future generations. Many of these ecological gifts contain areas of national or provincial significance, rich in biodiversity, and home to some of Canada’s iconic species at risk.
Donations range from family land legacies to corporations in British Columbia donating covenants on forested land in the Gulf Islands and Atlantic communities pulling together to preserve treasured coastal habitat. Each ecological gift, no matter the size, contributes to the creation of a network of protected areas that reaches across every region in Canada and is a true reflection of the value individual Canadians place on the importance of protecting nature.