It's new! The Mel and Camilla MacPhee Nature Reserve in Kingsboro

August 15, 2019
Souris, PEI


Donated wetland and forest provides habitat for rare plants and species at risk

Thanks to the generosity of an Island family, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved 91 hectares (226 acres) of rare wetland and hardwood forest in Kingsboro, near Souris. The ecologically significant site was donated for conservation by Camilla MacPhee and family, in memory of her husband, Souris business leader, Melvin MacPhee. 

Melvin MacPhee began working at age 13 in his parents’ grocery store, later called Clover Farm. In the 1980s, he developed the Souris Mall, becoming one of the larger local employers, and was widely regarded as a community-minded business leader. He was inducted into the PEI Business Hall of Fame in 2005. Melvin MacPhee died in 2010 at the age of 79.

The Mel and Camilla MacPhee Nature Reserve features a large undisturbed peat bog, a type of freshwater wetland that is rare on the Island. The peat bog is surrounded by an older forest of red maple, sugar maple and yellow birch, a combination of native hardwoods that is no longer common on PEI. The area provides habitat for eastern wood pewee (special concern) and Canada warbler (threatened), designated under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, as well as many provincially rare species of plants, such as herb-Robert and nodding trillium.

In addition to its rare features, the new nature reserve is valuable for conservation because it is located about halfway between East Baltic Bog and Basin Head Marine Protected Area, and creates a larger network of protected areas in eastern PEI. Peat bogs are significant ecosystems as they perform multiple functions: they provide habitat for plants and wildlife, purify drinking water, minimize flood risks and help address climate change by storing carbon.

This conservation project was completed with the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the Quick Start Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. Quick Start projects advance the Government of Canada’s international commitment to conserving at least 17 per cent of Canada’s terrestrial and inland water and 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020. A portion of this project was donated through the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax benefits for individuals or corporations donating ecologically significant land.

NCC would also like to thank other project contributors, including the Province of PEI, the PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund and the estate of Heather McLaren.


“At the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are thrilled to be conserving this special forest and bog habitat — one that is rare on PEI — and we are very grateful to the MacPhee family for this incredibly generous donation. I would also like to thank the federal government for its support of this conservation project through the QuickStart Program. This project represents a new natural area for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in PEI, and we are looking forward to expanding the area protected. We welcome the opportunity to work with any landowners wishing to conserve more land in Kingsboro.”  - Lanna Campbell, PEI program director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada

"With partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the generosity of donors like Camilla MacPhee and her family, we are making real progress towards our goal of doubling the amount of protected nature across Canada’s lands and oceans. This land donation will not only help to improve our environment, it will help make Prince Edward Island an even greater place to call home for all Islanders.” - Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada and MP for Cardigan

“My husband Mel dedicated his entire life to his family, his business and the people of Souris. Mel and I were fortunate to raise seven children in Souris. Our family is very pleased to have donated this beautiful forest and wetland to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, in Mel's memory.  Giving back to our community has always and will continue to be very important to me, as it was to Mel.  It gives me great peace of mind to know that the Melvin and Camilla MacPhee Nature Reserve will always be a safe haven for wildlife and a natural treasure for the community Mel loved and I love.” - Camilla MacPhee, Land donor


The Nature Conservancy of Canada 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, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved 31,000 hectares (77,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces. To learn more, visit

Quick Start is part of the Canada Nature Fund and Canada’s Nature Legacy, the single largest investment in nature conservation by a Canadian government. Quick Start funding supports projects building on the momentum of the Pathway to Target 1, an international commitment to conserve biodiversity. Funds were directed to provinces, territories, Indigenous governments and non-profit organizations to advance nearly-ready Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) and other protected and conserved areas.

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Kathryn Morse
Director of Communications - Atlantic Provinces

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