Nature Conservancy of Canada (Alberta)
Alberta and The North
Tel: (403) 262-1253
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada's leading national land conservation organization. We are a private, non-profit group that partners with corporate and individual landowners to achieve the direct protection of our most important natural treasures through property securement (donation, purchase, conservation agreement and the relinquishment of other legal interests in land) and long-term stewardship of our portfolio of properties.
Since 1962, NCC and our partners have helped to conserve more than 2 million acres (over 800,000 hectares) of ecologically significant land nationwide.
* We work in a non-confrontational manner.
* We respect and promote nature’s own processes of growth, succession and interaction.
* We recognize the need to create avenues for people to sustain themselves and live productively while conserving biological diversity.
History “Canada’s uniqueness lies in the fact that there is still time — not much, but some — in which to take action toward the preservation of representative samples of wilderness forever. Few countries in the world still have these opportunities; therein lies the uniqueness of Canada.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) was founded almost 50 years ago by a group of committed citizens acting together to protect Canada’s precious places through private action. That vision has since yielded results that Canadians can walk on: tracts of rare native grasslands, majestic centuries-old forests, precious coastal and wetland habitats, all teeming with beautiful and rare wildlife.
Since 1962, NCC has protected more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) of land across the country.
It was in Toronto in the early 1960s that a group of committed individuals, members of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, realized that unless action was taken soon to protect natural spaces, the accelerating rhythms of a booming economy would soon consume much of the most ecologically significant land in Canada.
In November 1962, the Government of Canada issued letters patent for the establishment of a private science-driven not-for-profit corporation to be called the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), with the purpose of acquiring ecologically important lands and protecting them in perpetuity. Its founders were Bruce Falls, Aird Lewis, Antoon deVos, David Fowle, Bill Gunn and John Livingston.
Although NCC’s work focused initially on southern Ontario, it was intended from the outset that the organization should become national in scope. The 1970s saw NCC expanding its work into British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, followed by Saskatchewan in the 1980s. In the 1990s, NCC's conservation work in Alberta extended to Northern Canada.
As NCC expanded across the country, it also expanded its understanding of Canada’s conservation challenges and the contributions it could make. This was supported by an opening up of the public understanding of environmental issues that took place in the 1980s, helping to build support for a radical new conservation concept among ecologists and land use planners. Instead of restricting its attention solely to the conservation of single properties, NCC began to embrace the idea of doing ecological planning on a landscape scale.
The shift was epitomized by a bold NCC initiative in Quebec called "Un fleuve, Un parc" (One River, One Park), which sought to incorporate 200 of the most biologically rich islands in the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago. This project helped to establish a conservation model for other landscape-scale projects throughout the country, such as the 27,000-acre (10,927-hectare) Waterton Park Front Project in Alberta (one of the largest private conservation initiatives in Canadian history) and the Bay of Fundy in Atlantic Canada, where NCC is a leading partner in an initiative to protect the critical staging and feeding grounds for millions of migrating shorebirds. In December 2003, NCC reintroduced 50 Plains Bison to its prairie flagship project, Old Man on his Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area.
Today, landscape ecological assessment, or ecoregional planning, is a central element in NCC’s commitment to a science-based conservation program. Its professional science team has published a series of Conservation Blueprints to determine which are the highest-priority sites for conservation in each ecoregion. To date, NCC has completed Conservation Blueprints for Canada’s southern ecoregions, where the human footprint is heaviest and where conservation is most urgent.
NCC and its partners have made great strides to preserve this country’s natural masterpieces, but the job is nowhere near finished. Protecting the best of natural Canada is an ongoing challenge; one that requires a continued commitment and determination to ensure that all of Canada’s important natural places receive the protection they deserve.
NCC will continue its efforts to meet this challenge.