Majestic mountains, expansive grasslands, powerful rivers, vast forests and rugged coastlines – Canada's natural splendour and diversity are core to our national identity.
Although many people think of the country's natural lands as boundless and untamed, Canada's most productive, biologically rich lands are under threat of being lost forever, says John Lounds, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
"Most Canadians live and work in the southern regions of the country, near the U.S. border. This narrow strip is also habitat for more than 80 per cent of Canada's at-risk terrestrial and freshwater species," he explains.
These highly threatened landscapes are vital to Canada's ecological integrity and its clean water and air. To help protect them, today and for generations to come, NCC launched its largest-ever campaign for conservation in 2007. Called A Force for Nature, the campaign set ambitious goals, including raising $500 million over five years.
The campaign began with the Government of Canada's investment in conservation through the $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP), which is administered by NCC; NCC pledged to more than match this sum with private funds and land donations.
Thanks to unprecedented support from all sectors, NCC recently announced that campaign contributions have exceeded the $500-million target. "This is thanks to all the committed Canadians – including government, corporations, foundations, organizations and individuals – who came forward to help us build a true force for nature," says Mr. Lounds.
Guided by extensive scientific research, NCC identified priority natural areas critical to the preservation of Canada's natural diversity. Within these areas, NCC has conserved over 752,000 acres (304,324 hectares) across the country. "Nationally or provincially significant lands providing habitat for at-risk species took priority, as did land that allows wildlife to move between areas of habitat, giving them the space to survive and thrive," says Mr. Lounds. In addition to NCC's achievements, NCC worked with partner organizations under the NACP to conserve additional lands, bringing the total accomplishment over the campaign period to more than 875,000 acres (354,100 hectares).
The campaign also focused on land management – a critical component for land conservation. Once NCC secured each property, plans were developed to monitor and care for its natural features to ensure its health and resiliency for the long term.
NCC's land management work is always ongoing, says Mr. Lounds. "We are extremely grateful to all the Canadians who stepped forward. By working together, we have made great progress toward our goal of saving and protecting our land – the most exceptional resource this country possesses."
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Thanks to unprecedented support from all sectors, NCC recently announced that campaign contributions have exceeded the $500-million target.
ways to give: corporate giving
NCC works with corporate partners across a wide variety of industries to advance conservation in Canada. If your company has been considering an investment in environmental protection, you can turn to NCC as your biodiversity investment adviser. For nearly 50 years, NCC has pursued a non-confrontational and pragmatic approach to partnerships, grounded in leading conservation science.
To learn more or to discuss partnership opportunities with an NCC representative, visit www.natureconservancy.ca/partnership or call 1-800-465-0029.