Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve, PEI  (photo by NCC)

Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve, PEI (photo by NCC)

Nature Conservancy of Canada protects small parcel of land with big role in wildlife protection on PEI

June 15, 2021
Howe Bay, Prince Edward Island


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the protection of a small but significant forested site near Souris.

The charitable land trust has conserved a 3.5-hectare (8.5-acre) site in Howe Bay. The former farming homestead is rectangular and is the missing piece of the puzzle needed to complete NCC’s Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve. The land purchase creates a cohesive nature reserve, preventing the area from being fragmented into smaller pieces.

NCC’s Elizabeth Walsh Nature Reserve is strategically located near the Sailor’s Hope Bog and Grove Pine/Big Brook Wildlife Management Areas protected by the Government of Prince Edward Island. This area of eastern Kings County is one of the least populated areas on PEI and contains large intact forest corridors.

This new property is home to a mix of Acadian forest tree species, such as black spruce, trembling aspen, balsam fir, white birch and red maple. The large aspens provide ideal habitat for cavity nesters and builders, such as downy woodpecker and hairy woodpecker. These large trees are then used by other cavity-dwelling species, such as red squirrel and northern-flying squirrel. Birds that can be found here include black-capped chickadee and red-breasted nuthatch, black-throated green warbler, ovenbird and Swainson’s thrush.

This land conservation project was made possible by the generosity of private donors, the Hewitt Foundation, Echo Foundation, PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund and funding from the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. The property will be placed under PEI’s Natural Area Protection Act, which legally protects lands from all future development.


“Thanks to the generous support of our donors and partners, the Nature Conservancy of Canada was able to secure the missing puzzle piece for this nature reserve. A lot of wildlife needs uninterrupted forest habitat to thrive, so the more cohesive blocks of protected area we can create, the better. NCC is pleased to be protecting parts of PEI’s natural heritage for wildlife, and humans to enjoy, for the long term.”
– Lanna Campbell, PEI program director Nature Conservancy of Canada

“Our natural environment is at the very heart of who we are here on Prince Edward Island. I’m very pleased that we’re purchasing more land to protect in Howe Bay, and it’s another important step towards our goal of conserving a quarter of both our land and our oceans by 2025.”
- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Member of Parliament for Cardigan


• 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 in Elizabeth’s name. The reserve protects 12.5 hectares (31 acres) of Acadian forest, including 60- to 80-year-old aspens. While Acadian forest covers most of the Maritimes, pockets of old trees are rare.


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 protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, with more than 32,979 hectares (81,494 acres) in the Atlantic provinces. 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 are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.

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