Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI – Cascumpec and Conway Sandhills

The Conway Sandhills, Prince Edward Island. (Photo by Joanna Hudgins)

The Conway Sandhills, Prince Edward Island. (Photo by Joanna Hudgins)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI (Mi’kmaq Confederacy) began working in partnership in 2008. Our recent work together has had a renewed sense of energy and direction. 

The Cascumpec and Conway Sandhills are one of NCC's prime areas of focus on Prince Edward Island. They are one of the most spectacular, unique, least disturbed and ecologically significant coastal dune ecosystem complexes in eastern Canada. NCC’s goal has been to conserve and steward the natural features of this unique area so that its ecological heritage survives now and into the future.

NCC officially started working in the Sandhills close to a decade ago. At that time, NCC and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI identified their shared conservation goal of protecting as much of the Sandhills complex as possible. Hog Island and the nearby Sandhills are very important to the Mi’kmaq people, both historically and today. In collaboration with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy and the Province of Prince Edward Island, NCC has been working to protect land here for the future.

This is an exciting time, as our renewed conservation work is recognizing and celebrating both the ecological importance of the area as well as its Mi’kmaq cultural significance.

Many species of shorebirds — including greater yellowlegs, semipalmated plover, semipalmated sandpiper, whimbrel and red knot — use both the north and south beaches for feeding during migration. Piping plover, a species at risk, use the Sandhills for nesting and fledging their young.

Since the closing of our first securement project here in 2011, NCC has acquired and protected 202 hectares (500 acres) on the Sandhills. We could not do this work without the support of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy, and we value Mi’kmaq knowledge, as it adds much to our understanding of these important lands.

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