Sharon Downs (Photo courtesy of Sharon Downs)
Honouring the past to benefit the future
Growing up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, Sharon Downs remembers jumping in the family truck with her dad for the weekly 30-kilometre return trip to pick up the family’s drinking water.
Those moments were on her mind in 2018 when NCC introduced her to an 866-hectare (2,140-acre) property on the north shore of Buffalo Pound Lake. The area is home to native grasslands, which help filter the drinking
water for approximately one-quarter of the province’s population, including the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw.
“If you grew up on the Prairies, you know the importance of clean, accessible water,” Sharon says. She saw an opportunity to help NCC conserve the native grasslands, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, while honouring the memory of her parents, who taught her to appreciate the plants, birds and herds of pronghorn and deer that roamed their property.
“My parents made sure that nature was vital to our lives, that we not just enjoy it, but care for it as well.”
Sharon donated her family’s farmland to NCC, with the request that the land be sold and the revenue used for securement. Funds from the sale were used to help acquire the Buffalo Pound property, which was unveiled as a new conservation site in August.
It’s not the only time Sharon, now an Alberta resident, has invested in NCC. In 2017, she donated to help conserve the old-growth forests, open meadows and wetlands at Bunchberry Meadows, just outside of downtown
Edmonton. She has also included a bequest to NCC in her Will.
“If you care as much about nature as I do and see what’s going on in the world in terms of urban development, pollution and climate change, you have an obligation to stand up and do something,” she says. “It’s about giving back — something else my parents instilled in me.”
Sharon Downs is a generous supporter of the Landmark Campaign. Learn more about the campaign and what you helped accomplish, here >