Nature Conservancy of Canada Acquires Holman Island
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has acquired Holman’s Island, protecting a significant habitat near Summerside and an important part of PEI’s cultural history. Holman’s Island was the home of the Island Park Hotel, PEI’s first summer resort, established in 1872. The hotel burned in 1904 and since then, the island has naturally reverted to a refuge for wildlife and shorebirds.
Holman’s Island is 36 hectares (90 acres) and is located in Bedeque Bay, less than 2 kilometres from the Summerside wharf. Bedeque Bay is one of sixteen internationally-recognized Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in PEI.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada acquired the island from siblings Rodney Clark and Sue Kelly, who wanted to see Holman’s Island designated as a nature reserve and remain a “hotel for birds” in perpetuity.
Participating in the announcement today were Egmont MP Robert Morrissey, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Catherine McKenna, as well as representatives from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the community, and donors to the project.
PEI’s islands have been targeted for conservation by the Nature Conservancy of Canada because they support some of the most mature and untouched habitats in the province. NCC has assisted in the protection of ten of PEI’s 19 offshore islands. Holman’s Island features a 4-hectare (10-acre) salt marsh and 80 acres of mature Acadian forest, which is increasingly rare in the Maritimes.
Holman’s Island provides habitat for many species of birds including Atlantic Brant, Canada geese, and the endangered Red Knot. By protecting Holman’s Island from development, this area will continue to serve as an important refuge for birds, and ultimately contribute to the sustainability of waterfowl populations in Prince Edward Island and along the Atlantic Flyway.
This conservation project was supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program; the United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act; Joan and Regis Duffy Foundation; Cooke Insurance; Clearwater Fine Foods; and many local donors.
“NCC is very pleased to be able to preserve Holman’s Island as a “hotel for birds”. Its salt marsh and mature Acadian forest will provide a valuable refuge for wildlife—within view of downtown Summerside.”
Julie Vasseur, PEI Program Director with the Nature Conservancy of Canada
“Through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, our government is pleased to help protect Holman’s Island from future development. Besides its unique cultural history, the island provides important habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.”
Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“I want to thank the Clark family and congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada on this initiative. Together with the support of the Government of Canada, we are working to protect the ‘Hotel for Birds’ and conserve the natural beauty of Bedeque Bay for generations to come.”
Robert Morrissey, MP Egmont
• Tree species on the property include: Balsam Fir, Red Maple, White Birch, Trembling Aspen, and examples of rare Acadian forest species such as Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, and American Beech.
• Up to 2,000 Canada Geese and 1,000 Atlantic Brant have been observed on Holman’s during peak spring and fall migrations.
• The island is home to the Ovenbird, Black-throated Green Warbler and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Belted Kingfishers nest in the low cliffs along the shores of the island.
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 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved 28,000 hectares, (over 69,000 acres), in the Atlantic provinces.
For more information visit:www.natureconservancy.ca/pe
The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada to secure our natural heritage. Additionally, more than $400 million in matching contributions has been raised by NCC and its partners.
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