Nova Scotia Nature Trust | Nova Scotians Protecting Nova Scotia

Coastal Conservation

Great and Selig Islands: a Conservation Bargain

Photo by Department of Natural Resources

Susan Hauer, Ned Zimmerman, Bill Zimmerman

Hear Bill, Susan and Ned in a recent interview with CBC Radio’s Bob Murphy of Information Morning or, read more in a recent feature in the Chronicle Herald’s Nova Scotian.


Watch a video about this exciting campaign to protect Great and Selig islands


The Story...

The Nature Trust has a rare opportunity to permanently protect two spectacular coastal islands at the mouth of Medway Harbour, between Liverpool and Lunenburg along Nova Scotia’s rugged south shore.

Bill Zimmerman and Susan Hauer are the owners of these coastal treasures. Bill, Susan and their son Ned lived and played on Great Island and Selig Island for many years. During that time, a deep connection and profound respect for the natural character of these wind-whipped and salt-sprayed islands was formed. Their wish is for these islands to remain wild forever.

To make this vision a reality, the Nature Trust has launched a $200,000 fundraising campaign.

Bill and Susan’s generous donation of a large portion of the value of Selig Island and a permanent conservation agreement over Great Island enables us to protect both islands for less than one quarter of their market value!

Great Island will be one of the largest coastal islands ever protected in Nova Scotia. Together, Selig and Great Islands are home to salt marshes, tidal flats, and rugged rocky shore. Lying adjacent to important nesting habitat for the endangered piping plover, these islands represent a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the preservation of Nova Scotia’s Coastal Legacy

This tremendous conservation bargain requires your support to succeed. Your financial support is critical to ensuring this opportunity is not lost.

To help protect these islands, fill out our Donation Form, or donate online using



Bill Zimmerman, Ned Zimmerman
Photo by Irwin Barrett

Our Coastal Work

Alarmingly, less than five percent (approximately 600 kilometres) of Nova Scotia's coastal shoreline is formally protected. Ninety-five percent of the coast is in private ownership and these lands are under increasing threat from development. Areas we've long taken for granted as being publicly owned are being closed to public access and developed. The need to protect our important coastal habitats is urgent!

No one is more aware of this trend than Canadian literary icon and environmental advocate, Farley Mowat. Following the donation of land he made with his wife Claire in September 2007, to the Nature Trust, Mowat enthusiastically stepped forward as a patron of the Nature Trust. When asked about his reasons for supporting the Trust, Mowat commented "what the Nature Trust represents to me is the possibility of giving it all to what you believe in. I have great faith in them. I believe the Nature Trust is one of the only really effective organizations for conservation. They're young, they're vigorous, they're passionate, and god knows, the need for land conservation is enormous in Nova Scotia, particularly along the coasts."

The goal of the Nature Trust’s coastal conservation is to secure and steward forever, priority coastal lands in Nova Scotia. The Nature Trust has already made significant gains. We have secured eleven coastal properties, totaling over 1,200 acres. These "Forever Wild Conservation Lands" are critical to Nova Scotia's protected areas system. They include the breathtaking cliffs of Sight Point in the Mabou Highlands, Cape Breton; the panoramic views of Aspy Bay's Yellow Head, at the northern tip of Nova Scotia; the rugged wilderness of the eastern shore's Shelter Cove and Ship Rock Island; and one of the last undeveloped headlands on the south shore at Gaff Point. Our other coastal acquisitions can be viewed on the Nature Trust Property Explorer


Recent coastal efforts and successes

The Long Cove Conservation Lands

The Vogler's Cove Conservation Lands, in Lunenburg County, was generously donated to the Nature Trust by Mary Hunter in 2007. This 21-acre site boasts a diversity of coastal ecosystems and we are thrilled to add it to our network of coastal Conservation Lands.

Farley's Ark: The Farley and Claire Mowat Conservtion Lands

Shelter Cove Wilderness Sanctuary


Our sincere thanks go to all of the landowners, project funders, donors, volunteers and communities who have helped us succeed in our efforts to preserve the coast.

Most Recent Coastal Project Sponsors

Anonymous Donor