Give the gift of habitat conservation

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Nature Conservancy of Canada offers Gifts of Canadian Nature

The paws of the Canada lynx, large and furred, act like snowshoes, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. As part of the organization’s Gifts of Canadian Nature fundraiser, a certificate acknowledging the protection of lynx habitat will be issued to anyone donating $120 on behalf of someone else this Christmas.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking you to consider a different kind of holiday gift for the people on your list.

Under the Gifts of Canadian Nature program (, you can pledge $40 to $400 to the protection of habitat, of Canadian plants and wildlife, in the name of another.

A gift of $40 is being recognized as protecting one acre of general habitat, while higher increments will be acknowledged as protecting recognized animal species. A $120 donation, for example, is recognized under the program as protecting one acre of lynx habitat.

For each donation, a certificate will be issued to the person on whose behalf the donation is made.

Any amount welcome

While there are set amounts for the Christmas fundraising program, donations of any amount are always welcomed by the organization, said Alicia Billard, the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s major gifts officer for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Billard, from Port au Choix, said donations through the Gifts of Canadian Nature program will be responded to with both the personalized certificate and a 2013 Nature Conservancy of Canada calendar.

The calendar will be issued to any donors, from around the world, and features a photo of Sandy Point in Newfoundland and Labrador on its cover. The picture is by Aiden Mahoney.

Save a shopping trip

Gifts of Canadian Nature are perfect gifts, Billard said, since the donations will go towards conservation programs but also save a shopping trip.

“Folks, this time of year, struggle to figure out what can I give this person. They have everything. And what can I give them that’s going to be meaningful, so that I’m not throwing my money away? And we offer that,” she said, “through our Gifts of Canadian Nature.”

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has offices in St. John’s and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The organization is steward for about 12,200 acres of property in this province, the majority in Western Newfoundland.

The Grassy Place near Robinsons River, Lloyd’s River and the Grand Codroy River Estuary are just a few of the conservancy’s holdings.

“We do have properties in Maddox Cove, Torbay and we’re doing a little more work up around Eastern Newfoundland,” Billard said.

The acquisition of the property in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove is a more recent one, having been announced in May of this year. The oceanfront holding covers 11 acres, including sections of the “fog forest.”

Aside from protecting property, the organization has undertaken study of provincial lands.

This year marked the final year of a three-year endeavour to produce the first “conservation blueprint” for Labrador. Essentially, by collecting scattered environmental information and adding fresh data, the result is meant to be a compendium covering everything from the breeding grounds for waterfowl to sensitive areas for Labrador’s caribou herds - a valuable, practical resource for the public and political decision-makers alike, as hydro projects, roads, new mines and other developments are proposed.

The project data is now being transferred into an interactive online tool, to make the information as accessible to people as possible.

Organizations: Canadian Nature, Newfoundland and Labrador.Billard

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Port au Choix Sandy Point Happy Valley Goose Bay Western Newfoundland.The Grassy Place Robinsons River Maddox Torbay Eastern Newfoundland Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove

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