Our bold new campaign: to protect twice as much wild space by 2023

22 Sep 2020

We are proud to announce our newest – and most ambitious – campaign: to double the amount of land we protect and steward across the province by 2023. Our friends at A for Adventure hosted a very special live-streamed online event to help us (and some special guests!) share this big news – you can watch the recording here or over on our facebook page.

Photo credit: Alison Chandler

There is much to feel discouraged about right now, from raging fires and unprecedented biodiversity loss to the continuing pandemic. But there has been one, unexpected shining light in these troubling times—and that is nature.

Nature has been the antidote to the stress, anxiety, and isolation of COVID-19 and other tragedies. People are rediscovering the joy that nature brings and appreciating being outdoors like never before. So what better time to take action to double our space for nature?

Maeve Boyne, Nature Trust volunteer and youth champion

12-year-old Nature Trust volunteer Maeve Boyne agrees. Recounting a recent trip to the 100 Wild Islands, she recalls, “It was so beautiful, peaceful and quiet, and we were the only ones there. We could only hear ourselves talking, and the birds singing. It was so amazing! We need to save more places just like that.”

But our wild spaces and treasured species are threatened. Recent reports herald yet another urgent alarm for global biodiversity, showing almost 70% declines in wildlife populations over the last 46 years. Here in Nova Scotia, many of our most important and treasured natural areas are privately owned and at risk of development. While we have been successfully conserving land in Nova Scotia for more than 25 years, we need to move much faster to save wild places – before it’s too late. So we are aiming to duplicate what we protected in our first 25 years, in just a few years—15,000 more acres by 2023.

Fortunately, major partners are also stepping up to support these efforts. The Government made an ambitious commitment to protect 17% of Canada’s lands by 2020 and 25% by 2025, and is working towards 30% by 2030. To get there, they have made the single-largest investment in nature conservation in Canadian history—an historic $1.3 billion investment in biodiversity. That includes the Canada Nature Fund—a program to encourage land trusts, Indigenous groups, and other community partners to be a big part of the solution.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson joined our announcement event via video (click image to watch)

We could not have contemplated such a big target without the vision, action and generous support of the Government of Canada. The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, recognized the Nature Trust’s contributions by video message during our live-streamed announcement: “I would like to congratulate the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and their partners on their conservation work in Nova Scotia. The East Coast is a beautiful part of the country, and the land and waters are important to the wildlife found there. By working together, on projects such as 100 Wild Islands, we are making progress toward our goal of protecting and enhancing biodiversity by conserving a quarter of the land and a quarter of the oceans in Canada by 2025.”

To accomplish this bold target of doubling protected areas, we are launching a twenty million dollar fundraising campaign. We aim to raise four million dollars from the public and leverage sixteen million in matching funds from major partners including the Government of Canada and the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust. Every donation will be matched 4:1, meaning a gift of $100 unlocks $400 more.

Areas targeted for protection include expanding signature land projects in the Mabou highlands, Wentworth Valley, St. Mary’s River, 100 Wild Islands and urban wildlands including the beloved Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes. The campaign will also add brand new protected areas, including coastal habitats and islands critical for birds, rare gypsum and old growth forest sites, and habitat for endangered wildlife. The targeted lands are not only ecologically important and diverse, but provide space for people to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

We’ve all been getting out to the beaches, trails and parks, enjoying nature now more than ever. And just imagine doubling our wild spaces – twice the hiking, paddling and fishing!

Video production by RPM Productions. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers for being part of this video: Dave and Seely Alder, Maeve Boyne, Blaine Carter, Alex Chandler, Anna Chandler, Mady Chandler, Camila Das Gupta, Chris Kennedy, Ron Kuwahara, Jan LaPierre, Roy Parker, and Chris Surette. And thank you to the videographers for the use of their footage: A for Adventure, Firefly Digital Media, Scott Leslie, Dave Stredulinsky, Len Wagg.

“It feels so good to be outside, to get out in nature,” adds Maeve. “But it also feels good knowing that we’re sharing these places with wildlife and doing our part to keep the plants and animals safe.”

We hope Nova Scotians, and everyone who loves Nova Scotia, will step up to help double our protected nature. Learn more about the exiting Twice the Wild Campaign.

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