Port Joli, NS (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Port Joli, NS (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Picture-perfect Port Joli

Aerial view of Port Joli, NS showing its white sandy beach and aquamarine waters (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Aerial view of Port Joli, NS showing its white sandy beach and aquamarine waters (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

The south shore of Nova Scotia boasts some of the province’s premiere tourist destinations. The region showcases Nova Scotia as “Canada’s Ocean Playground.” You can wine and dine in quaint historic towns, snap photos of famous lighthouses and relax at seaside cottages and resorts. The same scenery that draws you, and developers, to the coast is home to sensitive habitats that endangered plants and animals rely on. The community relies on it too — an intact shoreline acts as a buffer, as it absorbs the brunt of intensifying storms and rising sea levels.

You can help protect ecologically important land and coastline by supporting the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) work in Port Joli.

Nestled in the heart of the South Shore, 170 kilometres southwest of Halifax, the area surrounding Port Joli is a bastion of protected land standing against the risk of overdevelopment. The aquamarine waters of the shallow sheltered ocean inlet lap up on white, sandy beaches and flow into eelgrass-covered salt marshes. Only a stone’s throw inland lie Acadian forest, freshwater wetlands and coastal barrens. The richness and diversity of Port Joli has caused locals and visitors to fall in love with the area and the life it supports.

Since 2006, donors, advocates and volunteers have supported NCC to create a large assembly of protected properties spanning the peninsula. The local community is in favour of protecting Port Joli’s wild side.

“[The] Nature Conservancy of Canada has been acquiring and caring for land on the Port Joli peninsula for 15 years. Thanks to past, present and future donors, these valuable lands, with their unique flora and fauna, will remain intact and undisturbed in their natural state. On behalf of Region of Queens Municipality, I offer my praise to the dedication that NCC has for this very special coastal and upland region of Nova Scotia.”  - Region of Queens Municipality Mayor Darlene Norman 


Port Joli, NS (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Port Joli, NS (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Port Joli’s significance is multifaceted. By contributing to this project, you are supporting:


  • Because of their sensitivity to pollutants, many lichens are indicators of air quality. This leads some to liken them to a canary in a coal mine. Port Joli’s wild spaces and clean, coastal air supports the growth of many lichens, including the globally rare boreal felt lichen. Read Nova Scotia Stewardship Manager for NCC, Doug van Hemessen’s blog post on how noticing the often overlooked lichens can enhance forest wandering.

Bird migration

  • Three federally established Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBS) surround the Port Joli area. Geese, ducks, plovers and more depend on returning annually to the same salt marshes and tidal flats for feeding and overwintering. As an MBS designation offers protection to the birds, but not their habitat, protecting nearby land is crucial for the health of these bird populations and their food source. Check out NCC: Migratory Bird Sanctuaries 101

Putting the puzzle together, together

Land conservation is like working on a jigsaw puzzle — it is most strategic to add pieces to existing sections, and it happens faster when done together. Thanks to your support, 11 pieces comprising 630 hectares (1,558 acres) are already conserved and under NCC’s care. Together with the adjacent Thomas Raddall Provincial Park, Port l’Hebert Nature Reserve, Port l’Hebert Provincial Park and nearby Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct National Park, more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) are protected.

Adjacent protected lands enable wildlife and biodiversity to thrive by allowing larger animals the space they need to roam, feed and mate. In turn, seeds and spores hitch rides on or in these animals and find new spots to grow. Adjoining protected properties also have increased resilience in the face of storms and erosion, which, in turn, protects communities inland. With your help, NCC can secure additional connecting parcels along the Port Joli peninsula.

As “puzzle pieces” of land become available, your donation goes toward purchasing and stewarding each new piece. Currently, a 110-hectare (271 acre) parcel is in the securement process and another 47 hectares (117 acres) plot is available. It costs $350,000 to acquire and manage these properties. You can make a difference and have your donation doubled through unlocking federal matching funds. This means that the immediate need is only $175,000.

Give today and help add the next pieces of the puzzle.

The bigger picture

Let’s dream bigger. With an estimated $500,000 more, the project at Port Joli can expand throughout the peninsula and beyond, expanding sensitive habitats and further fortifying the coastline.

To support this work, please contact Faith at 1-877-231-4400 ext. 3310 or atlantic@natureconservancy.ca.

NCC may direct all or a portion of gifts committed to this project to NCC’s provincial Stewardship Endowment Fund. Revenue generated by the Stewardship Endowment Fund provides for long-term management of properties. If this project becomes fully funded, your gift will be allocated to the next urgent priority in Nova Scotia


Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre is located within the heart of Port Joli. Founded in 2007 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation of the natural environment and local history, it works to promote and advance environmental conservation through research, instruction, literature and the arts. The organization is a stewardship partner of NCC’s as well as a neighbour to NCC conservation lands.


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