Mon­sef, Land Trust talk con­ser­va­tion

The Peterborough Examiner - - Front Page - JA­SON BAIN EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment is build­ing a net­work of ex­perts to carry out work made pos­si­ble by a $500 mil­lion fund for con­ser­va­tion part­ner­ships in the 2018 fed­eral bud­get, Peter­bor­ough-Kawartha MP Maryam Mon­sef said Thurs­day.

Mon­sef vis­ited the Kawartha Land Trust Dance Na­ture Sanc­tu­ary on Pre­ston Rd. north­west of Lake­field to lead a brief dis­cus­sion on con­ser­va­tion in­vest­ments and rec­og­nize the “mon­u­men­tal” work of staff and vol­un­teers.

It was com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the fed­eral cab­i­net and the Kawartha Land Trust and other mem­bers of the Green Bud­get Coali­tion that made the $1.9 bil­lion al­lo­ca­tion to con­ser­va­tion efforts a re­al­ity, Mon­sef told those gath­ered.

“You helped make that hap­pen. Thank you so much,” she said.

Asked how fund­ing could help the group do its job bet­ter, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mike Hen­dren pointed out that the land trust move­ment re­mains young in Canada, the groups are a key part of the con­ser­va­tion puzzle.

Land trusts con­serve the en­vi­ron­ment by ac­cept­ing donations of land and/or in­ter­ests in land and work­ing to en­sure they are cared for, in per­pe­tu­ity.

Fund­ing will help the group take a “huge leap” is it works to dou­ble its port­fo­lio of pro­tected lands in the next five years, Hen­dren told t hose gath­ered. “And we are well on our way to reach­ing that goal.”

Canada aims to achieve Aichi Tar­get 11 from the Con­ven­tion on Bi­o­log­i­cal Di­ver­sity stat­ing that 17 per cent of ter­res­trial and in­land wa­ter ar­eas must be per­ma­nently pro­tected by 2020 for na­ture to sus­tain bio­di­ver­sity, he pointed out.

The cur­rent rate for On­tario is 10.5 per cent, mean­ing there is much more work to be done, Hen­dren said, adding that gov­ern­ment can’t do ev­ery­thing on its own. “We need to be a part of the mix to work with pri­vate landown­ers.”

Af­ter a walk­ing tour of the scenic 100-acre prop­erty se­cured from Alice Sharpe – the first prop­erty ac­quired by the land trust – Mon­sef echoed the same sen­ti­ment. “These part­ner­ships are key to our suc­cess.”

Neil Hay­ward, a vol­un­teer on the trust’s land se­cure­ment com­mit­tee, pointed out that the cost of con­ser­va­tion efforts mount quickly and hav­ing the gov­ern­ment pro­vide re­sources “re­ally helps us do our job.”

Mon­sef asked Keith Knott of Curve Lake First Na­tion why he feels it is im­por­tant to vol­un­teer with and sup­port the land trust.

“I’m al­ways in­ter­ested in mov­ing for­ward on some­thing,” he said, ex­plain­ing how heart­warm­ing it is when cit­i­zens give up land to that na­ture can be en­joyed in the fu­ture. “Walk­ing on ground like this feels like walk­ing on air … you feel like you be­long there.”

Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be able to en­joy more prop­er­ties like the mix­ture of grass­land, wet­lands and for­est on Pre­ston Rd., Knott said. “I’m ex­cited to be a part of this or­ga­ni­za­tion. Great things lie ahead.”

Sharpe, who bought the prop­erty in 1967 and con­tin­ues to live there, said she ini­tially looked to do­nate the land be­cause she didn’t want it turned into a gravel pit. She ac­knowl­edged she has given fam­ily her­itage away to en­sure its pro­tec­tion.

“I hope it’s an ex­am­ple for some­body else … this is an sig­nif­i­cant piece of land that should be pro­tected be­cause of its wa­ter,” she said.

Af­ter re­mov­ing in­va­sive species from the land last year, vol­un­teers last week­end planted na­tive trees and shrubs such as oak and black cherry trees, vol­un­teer and sum­mer stew­ard­ship tech­ni­cian Pa­tri­cia Wil­son said.

Fauna on the pri­vate prop­erty in­cludes deer and even a beaver who is re­spon­si­ble for higher wa­ter lev­els than usual, said vol­un­teer and lead stew­ard John Lazure.

Formed in 2001, Kawartha

Land Trust has 14 prop­er­ties to­talling more than 3,300 acres with a do­nated and value of $8.9 mil­lion.

The non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion and regis­tered char­ity em­ploys four staff who are sup­ported by dozens of vol­un­teers who logged more than 7,000 hours last year, de­vel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor Tara King said.

NOTE: The group is hold­ing a cleanup and tree plant­ing at John Earle Chase Me­mo­rial Park near Gan­nons Nar­rows in Trent Lakes on Satur­day at 10 a.m.

JA­SON BAIN/EX­AM­INER

Peter­bor­oughKawartha MP Maryam Mon­sef eyes marsh­land dur­ing a tour of the Kawartha Land Trust Dance Na­ture

Sanc­tu­ary on Pre­ston Rd.

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