Family donates 65-hectare site to Nature Conservancy of Canada
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing a new conservation site southwest of Edmonton. Located near the hamlet of Winfield, in the county of Wetaskiwin, the 65-hectare (160-acre) property has been generously donated for conservation by the Brown family.
A memorial stone was erected on the site — name the Winfield property — in memory of the former landowners, Aron and Lydia Brown, and for the pioneers of the Winfield area.
The Winfield property was purchased by Aron Brown in 1958 and has been in the family for two generations. It was Aron and Lydia’s son, Jack, who made the decision to donate the land to NCC so it could be conserved for the long term as a legacy to his parents.
The Winfield property consists of mixedwood forest, grassland and a wetland. These ecosystems provide habitat for the species that live in and move through the area.
The primarily willow and alder forests provide cover and a food source for moose, porcupine and many bird species.
The project protects habitat for several Species at Risk Act-listed birds, including Sprague’s pipit (threatened), Canada warbler (threatened), short-eared owl (special concern) and loggerhead shrike prairie subspecies (threatened). Also found in this region are three amphibians of special concern: western tiger salamander, western toad and northern leopard frog.
Wetlands on the Winfield property support various waterfowl and amphibians, and provide ecological services, such as storing water and mitigating flooding in the surrounding community.
The property contains American larch trees, also known as tamarack, which are uncommon in this area. While this species appears like an evergreen in the summer, its needle-like leaves turn bright yellow before falling in the autumn.
Located near both Buck Lake and Pigeon Lake, the site is within 10 kilometres of two other NCC conservation projects, one Ducks Unlimited project and three Alberta Parks natural areas.
This conservation project was made possible by the generosity of the Brown family and funding from the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund.
Photos and video of the property can be found here.
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is extremely grateful for this generous donation from the Brown family. This property has been in the family for multiple generations, and we will continue to steward for it with the same dedication as the Brown family has.”
– Tom Lynch-Staunton, Regional Vice President, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“This property was purchased by my father in 1958, and it’s a personal reminder of where I grew up and a legacy for my parents. I think my father would be very pleased that it’s being conserved with NCC, and I know they’ll take good care of it.”
– Jack Brown, member of the land donor’s family
“By working with partners like Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Brown family, we are protecting our iconic natural environment in Alberta and across the country. Through the Canada Nature Fund, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of its oceans by 2025, and creating a cleaner, healthier future for our children and grandchildren.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
This property is near a provincial survey area for sharp-tailed grouse, a medium-sized chicken-like bird. This provincially designated sensitive species often prefers open grassy plains but may be found throughout the boreal forest.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading private, not-for-profit land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. In Alberta, 445,000 hectares (1.1 million acres) of the province’s most ecologically significant land and water has been conserved. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program come from the Canada Nature Fund and are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
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