Errol A. MacEwen Nature Reserve, St. Peters Harbour, PEI (Photo by NCC)

Errol A. MacEwen Nature Reserve, St. Peters Harbour, PEI (Photo by NCC)

Critical bird habitat on Gulf of St. Lawrence protected by donation to NCC

August 24, 2012
St. Peters Harbour, PEI


Beach, woodland and wetland habitat donated by family in brother’s honour

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has obtained a land donation within the Canavoy Beaches Important Bird Area at St. Peters Harbour, 40 kilometres east of Charlottetown. The 34 acres (14 hectares) contain a beautiful and popular public beach area, as well as important woodland and wetland habitat. 

The donation of the Errol A. MacEwen Nature Reserve was announced today with a sign unveiling on the beach by NCC staff, MacEwen family members, National Revenue Minister Gail Shea, and other local dignitaries. 

The land’s shoreline borders the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The sandy north shore of St. Peters Harbour has been a nesting site for piping plover with varying degrees of success. Piping plover is listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. The property supports numerous song birds, osprey, bald eagle, and various shorebirds such as semipalmated plover, sanderlings, greater yellowlegs, black-bellied plover, ruddy turnstone and semipalmated sandpipers.

The conservation of this property was made possible thanks to the generous donation by MacEwen family members in memory of their late brother. The property was donated under Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. Over $50,000 in funding was also raised to cover long-term management including monitoring and species assessments, as well as surveys, appraisals and legal fees.

Major contributions were made by the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and Mountain Equipment Co-op. The Nature Conservancy of Canada would also like to thank additional donors including  the Joan and Regis Duffy Foundation, the Sobey Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Canada and community residents, some of whom wish to remain anonymous.


"We sincerely thank the family for entrusting us with this beautiful natural area," said Diane Griffin, Nature Conservancy of Canada program manager in Prince Edward Island. "NCC has a great track record of helping protect St. Peter’s Lake Run and other sites across the island. We believe this ecological gift is a testament to those efforts and NCC’s vision to protect natural spaces for our children and grandchildren."

"We wanted to do something special in honour of our late brother, Errol," indicated Garry MacEwen. "This land has been in our family for generations and is special to us, so it seemed a good fit to work with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve this land in Errol’s memory."

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program," said Environment Canada Minister Peter Kent. "With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our country’s ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations."

"I am so pleased to see the natural areas of Prince Edward Island being protected in this way. It is a gift to all Islanders when the beauty and conservation of our beaches, woodland and wetlands are preserved for future generations," said Egmont MP and National Revenue Minister Gail Shea.

MEC CEO David Labistour said, "PEI's Canavoy Beaches hold important ecological and recreational values, and we are proud to assist NCC in its efforts to ensure that the area is conserved for the piping plover, other sea and shore birds, as well as Islanders and visitors alike."

About the Partners:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (over 1 million hectares), coast to coast. NCC has now helped protect 4,534 acres (1,838 hectares) on Prince Edward Island.  For more information visit:

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been entrusted to lead the program and has committed to raising matching funds for each federal dollar received.

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