Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve, PEI  (photo by NCC)

Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve, PEI (photo by NCC)

Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve

Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve, PEI  (photo by NCC)

Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve, PEI (photo by NCC)

The missing piece of the puzzle

There is an opportunity to protect a piece of land located in the middle of the Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve. This 3.5-hectare (8.5-acre) property is the missing puzzle piece within the reserve.

Like the existing nature reserve, this new property is primarily forested, with a small remaining active agricultural field. The forest is a great example of an Acadian forest; home to black spruce, trembling aspen, balsam fir, white birch, and red maple. The predominance of large aspens creates an ideal wildlife habitat. Aspens are a favourite of cavity nesters and builders, such as woodpeckers. Once abandoned, these cavities are claimed as the new home of other nesting species, like flying squirrels.

Protecting this piece of land will build a larger protected area in Howe Bay. This will allow for better management of the area for the long term, decrease the chance of habitat fragmentation and eliminate the risk of potential future development.

For more information and to learn how you can help, please contact the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC) Atlantic Region at 1-877-231-4400 or atlantic@natureconservancy.ca.

Continue reading to learn more about why this area is so critically important and the ongoing work you can be a part of.

Connecting wildlife habitat in Howe Bay

First established in 2019, the Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve honours the memory of a cherished aunt. After losing her brothers during the 1918 influenza epidemic, Great Aunt Lizzie farmed the land on her own for decades. Her family generously donated the land to NCC to ensure its protection in Elizabeth’s name.

Elizabeth Walsh (photo courtesy of the family)

Elizabeth Walsh (photo courtesy of the family)

Located in King’s County, southeast of Souris, the reserve protects 12.5 hectares (31 acres) of Acadian forest, including 60- to 80-year-old aspen trees. While Acadian forest covers most of the Maritimes, finding pockets of old trees is difficult. The forests of PEI have undergone significant changes over the years. Due to conversion into farmland, much of the Island’s original forest has been lost. Protecting intact forests, such as in Howe Bay, provides important habitat for a wide range of species of plants and animals.

The Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve is in good company. The reserve is near two wildlife management areas protected by the Province of PEI. Conserving land within and around existing protected areas helps to create larger and safer habitat for wildlife.

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