A legacy of conservation

John Lounds, president and chief executive officer, NCC (Photo by Mike Ford)

John Lounds, president and chief executive officer, NCC (Photo by Mike Ford)

This summer, former president and CEO, John Lounds, officially retires from NCC. Here are some highlights of accomplishments since he joined NCC in 1997. Thank you, John, for your vision and leadership in helping us accomplish these major milestones, and so much more!


Semipalmated sandpiper resting at high tide, Bay of Fundy, New-Brunswick (Photo by Robert McCaw)

Semipalmated sandpiper resting at high tide, Bay of Fundy, New-Brunswick (Photo by Robert McCaw)

Johnson’s Mills, New Brunswick

We continued to diversify our conservation work with new initiatives, such as our first public education and ecotourism centre at Johnson’s Mills, New Brunswick — one of North America’s most important stopovers for semipalmated sandpipers — allowing Canadians access to the annual migratory extravaganza while protecting habitat.



"Since 1989, our family's foundation has worked closely with NCC, collaborating on land conservation projects in every region of Canada. Under John’s leadership, NCC has become one of the world’s most effective and successful conservation organizations. John and his team are true Canadian conservation heroes. Congratulations John, and many, many thanks."

Garfield Mitchell, Director | Emma Adamo, Chair
Weston Family Foundation


Old Man on His Back, Saskatchewan

In 2003, NCC reintroduced 50 plains bison to the 5,300 hectare (13,000-acre) mixed grass prairie at Old Man on His Back and Heritage Conservation Area.


Waterton, Alberta

We announced a significant private conservation initiative, in partnership with local ranchers and the Weston Family Foundation and the Poole Family: the approximately 12,950-hectare (approximately 32,000-acre) Waterton Park Front Project in Alberta.

"I’ll never forget the day in 2007 when John Risley suggested NCC aim high with a $500-million campaign. John Lounds laughed and held his held his head in his hands. The Force for Nature Campaign raised considerably more than this and was closely followed by the record-breaking $750-million Landmark Campaign. John has always been up for a challenge, which he welcomes with humility and a smile on his face."

Laurie Thomson, Former Chair, NCC Board of Directors


Natural Areas Conservation Program

We announced a new public-private partnership, the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The Government of Canada set aside $225 million for the protection of natural areas. Under the program, $185 million were directly invested in NCC’s conservation program. In 2018, it became the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.

"I worked closely with John on the Force for Nature national campaign, which raised more than $500 million. Together, we travelled across the country to better understand the importance of protecting Canada’s nature. You are truly a Force de la Nature, for which we are all thankful."

Paul Desmarais Jr.,
Former Campaign Co-Chair,
Chairman of Power Corporation of Canada


Next Creek alpine lake (Photo by Steve Ogle)

Next Creek alpine lake (Photo by Steve Ogle)

Darkwoods, British Columbia

More than 800,000 hectares conserved

We announced the largest single private conservation initiative in Canadian history: the spectacular Darkwoods Conservation Area in British Columbia. The 55,000-hectare (136,000-acre) property shelters a wide abundance of wildlife, including grizzly bear and wolverine. Pristine water from alpine lakes feeds into 17 separate watersheds. Forests whose diversity rivals any in British Columbia thrive here.

"I have had the privilege of working with John in the conservation field for about 25 years. In that time, I have observed his passion for saving ecologically important places and his diplomacy in securing funding from individuals, corporations, foundations and governments. He is the ultimate, consummate ambassador for conservation in Canada."

Bill Caulfeild-Browne, Former Chair, NCC Board of Directors

"Collaborating with John and NCC on forest conservation efforts for almost a decade was one of the great pleasures of my time at TD Bank Group. John has a complete ability to understand the needs of his partners, in creating a win-win for both. He has created an incredible culture of collaboration and camaraderie while delivering with scientific rigour."

Karen Clarke-Whistler,
Former Chief Environment Officer, TD Bank Group (2008-2018)


Forest carbon project

We announced the largest forest carbon project to date in North America. Developed through a rigorous procedure involving numerous advisors, and meeting international standards, the trees are saving the forest; proceeds go back into the stewardship of Darkwoods in BC and other conservation projects.

"I am sure I have never met anyone more committed to their cause, nor more capable and determined to deliver on it, than John. I am a student of quality leadership, and it was simply wonderful to be able to watch him put those skills to work. It has been an honour and a privilege to work for and with him."

John Risley, Former campaign chair

Flathead River, BC (Photo by NCC)

Flathead River, BC (Photo by NCC)

Flathead River Valley, British Columbia

NCC and The Nature Conservancy (U.S.) announced a multi-million-dollar funding commitment to help remove major threats to British Columbia’s Flathead River Valley — a spectacular wilderness area that straddles the Canada-U.S. border. The Flathead supports 70 mammal species (16 carnivores), 270 bird species, 25 fish species and 1,200 species of vascular plants.


NCC celebrates 50 years of conservation successes with our partners and supporters.

Moose in Cookville, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Moose in Cookville, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Moose Sex, Nova Scotia

We launched our Moose Sex Project, which aims to protect habitat along the Chignecto Isthmus — a narrow band of land that connects Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada. This allows moose in New Brunswick (which are
common) to travel to Nova Scotia to find a mate (where they are endangered). Since species also cross borders and we are all interconnected, NCC is committed to conserving the long-term viability of wildlife populations not only in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but across eastern Canada and the United States.

"John Lounds has established thousands of permanent environmental legacies that will be cherished by generations of Canadians. I know first-hand as Premier, John’s can-do vision allowed Manitoba to join a three-party funding program to preserve many unique areas, including a significant  portion of the Pembina Hills. I know John led efforts to conserve a cross border portion of the Flathead River on behalf of Prime Minister Harper and President Obama."

Gary Doer,
Former Premier of Manitoba and Canada’s Ambassador to the United States


Cow and calf in Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Cow and calf in Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Waldron, Alberta

Many partners came together to conserve a provincial treasure for generations to come and help conserve Alberta’s ranching heritage. The Waldron will continue to be prime habitat for numerous species and an iconic landscape.

Kenauk, Quebec

NCC and Kenauk Nature announced a partnership for the conservation of the vast 26,000-hectare (64,250-acre) Kenauk property. The property once belonged to the famous Louis-Joseph Papineau.

"John Lounds is a visionary whose contribution to conservation in  Canada is remarkable. In Quebec, his leadership in the protection of the Kenauk property — 25,000 hectares — marked a  turning point in our aspirations: the possibility of pursuing and achieving bold and innovative projects. Most of all, John is a humanist, an inspiring leader, a calm, determined Force for Nature."

Nathalie Pratte, Former Chair, NCC Board of Directors


Tallurutiup Imanga, Nunavut

In June 2016, NCC, working with Shell Canada, returned oil and gas permits off Baffin Island to the federal government. This cleared the way for expanded boundaries for the new Tallurutiup Imanga Marine Conservation Area, now one of the largest in the world.

King Ranch, Alberta

NCC assisted the Waldron Grazing Co-operative in adding the very historic King Ranch to the largest conservation agreement in Canadian history. The conservation agreement on this significant stretch of working native grassland prevents further development in the area.


Nature Destinations

Launched in July 2017, this program invited Canadians to connect with a suite of 20 properties from coast to coast. Each  property has been specially selected to offer visitors the chance to experience the best of Canadian nature, with more properties rolling out in future years.


Birch River, Alberta

NCC protected 3,300 square kilometres of boreal forest in northeast Alberta. When added to neighbouring conserved lands, the area now measures 6.7 million hectares and forms the world's largest contiguous protected boreal forest.


Natural Heritage Conservation Program

NCC and its partners applauded a new federally funded $100-million program to safeguard important habitats for species at risk. The Natural Heritage Conservation Program matches donations from the private sector to establish and support privately protected areas in ecologically sensitive landscapes, from forests and endangered grasslands to wetlands and coastal regions.



NCC joined the Ktunaxa Nation, the Province of BC, the Government of Canada, community supporters and funding partners in  Cranbrook to celebrate the long-sought termination of development rights in the Jumbo Valley, in BC’s Central Purcell Mountains.

"Canadians for generations to come are beneficiaries of John’s vision and commitment. Under John’s leadership, NCC has fostered an enduring partnership with the Government of Canada, resulting in the conservation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of Canadian lands and waters."

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

John Lounds Fund

In honour of John Lounds, NCC is launching The John Lounds Future Conservation Leaders Fund. The fund will support the priority John believes matters most in our quest to safeguard Canada’s and the world’s precious spaces: tomorrow’s conservation leaders. To make a contribution, visit natureconservancy.ca/johnloundsfund or contact: Jackie Mersereau, Senior Development Officer, Planned Giving planned.giving@natureconservancy.ca | T: 1-877-231-3552 Ext. 2275

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