Big bluestem, Tall Grass Prairie, MB (Photo by NCC)

Big bluestem, Tall Grass Prairie, MB (Photo by NCC)

Earth Day: Positive news for Manitoba's natural environment

April 22, 2021
Winnipeg, MB


Nature Conservancy of Canada and Nature Manitoba work together for continued conservation in Manitoba's Tall Grass Prairie Preserve

To mark Earth Day, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing it has received a generous donation of 358 hectares (885 acres) from Nature Manitoba.

Earth Day is an important time to reflect on environmental actions around the planet. It is also the perfect time to celebrate these conservation lands, which are particularly important to biodiversity and species protection in Manitoba and are nationally significant.

In addition to supporting tall grass prairie, a habitat listed as endangered under Manitoba’s Endangered Species and Ecoystems Act, these lands also support 10 provincially and federally listed species at risk.

Of particular note are two of the seven Poweshiek skipperling habitat sites left in the country, a portion of the world’s largest population of western prairie white-fringed orchid, and a portion of Manitoba’s small white lady’s slippers. There are also seven other federally and provincially listed species.

Once covering 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres), less than one per cent of the original tallgrass prairie habitat remains in Manitoba. It is home to over 1,000 different species, including seven globally imperilled species.  

The lands have been donated to NCC, which has the conservation planning resources and expertise needed to maintain the ecological integrity of this vitally important area.

The Zita and Mark Bernstein Family Foundation, Nature Manitoba and other individual donors also provided financial support for the transfer of these conservation lands.


“I want to thank Nature Manitoba and its members for this donation and their vision. For many years, they have shown leadership in helping secure and steward this area by helping manage the lands and carrying out prescribe burns and controlled grazing, plant pulls, removing and relocating fences, paying property taxes and conducting tallgrass prairie education in schools. They remain a tremendous conservation partner and we share the same interest of having these species survive while allowing Manitobans to connect with nature in a respectful way.” - Kevin Teneycke, Regional vice-president, Nature Conservancy of Canada Manitoba's Region

"On behalf of all Nature Manitoba members, many of whom donated to the original purchase of these land, we are so pleased to transfer this important part of the tallgrass prairie habitat to the Nature Conservancy of Canada(NCC) so that it can be actively managed and protected in perpetuity. Nature Manitoba recognizes our members and the Habitat Committee, led by Marilyn Latta, who educated many Manitobans on the importance of saving the tall grass in the 1980s. Their efforts to inventory, raise funds, acquire and help manage these lands for the last 30 years made a wonderful contribution to conservation in Manitoba. We thank NCC for their commitment to continue this important work on the land we donated today. Nature Manitoba will continue to be an advocate for Manitoba's natural spaces, including valuable tall grass prairie." Sandy HayGlass, President, Nature Manitoba


•    The tallgrass prairie ecosystem once stretched from near present-day Winnipeg all the way south to Texas. Today, the largest intact blocks of tall grass prairie in Canada occur in the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.
•    The area supports a diversity of habitat types, including wet and dry tall grass prairie, marshes and fens, savannah and dense woodlands, riparian (riverbank) areas and rivers.
•    The Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is 4,695 hectares (11,602 acres) and comprised of many partners, including Nature Manitoba, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development – Wildlife and Fisheries Branch, and Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.
•    Nature Manitoba recently celebrated its 100th anniversary and has a long and rich history conserving this environmentally important area. Concerned about a loss of habitat in the tall grass prairie, Nature Manitoba spearheaded the Tall Grass Prairie Inventory Project in 1987. A two-year inventory was completed, which resulted in a report recommending 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of quality tallgrass prairie habitat be conserved. In 1989, the report guided the newly formed Manitoba government’s Critical Wildlife Habitat Program in the region. Nature Manitoba worked with the Manitoba Department of Natural Resources, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Habitat Canada to raise the funds needed to meet the original goal of purchasing and protecting 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of tall grass prairie, and has managed 358 hectares (885 acres) of Manitoba’s protected tall grass prairie since the early 1990s.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private 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 conserve 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

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Media Contact:

Christine Chilton
Community Relations Manager
(204) 942-7416

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