TransCanada volunteers enhance large pledge with work on Nature Conservancy’s wetland habitat.
In 2008, TransCanada made a visionary leadership gift in honour of its 50th anniversary, pledging $2.4 million to support conservation of critical wildlife habitat in Alberta and Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Friends of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
Since then, this significant gift has been leveraged with funds from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, along with many other supporters, resulting in a total conservation investment of $18.6 million. This has led to the conservation of 22,835 acres on 47 ecologically significant properties in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
TransCanada should be especially proud of the progress made on protecting prime wetland habitat along the Red Deer River in Alberta. As the sole private sector investor in the NCC’s Red Deer River Natural Area project, TransCanada’s support has led to nearly $8.1 million invested in conserving 14 high-priority properties.
This network of wetlands on private and Crown land plays a vital role in purifying water, preventing flooding, and providing homes for a wide variety of plants and animals including beaver, moose and dozens of bird species.
TransCanada staff also got their hands dirty on this important project, pitching in to help with some of the hard physical labour that nature conservation requires.
On a sunny, late-summer day last September, I joined a group of 35 TransCanada employees who volunteered their time to work on the Boote property near Pine Lake. The team spent time removing hazardous stretches of wire threatening wildlife, eradicating non-native caragana shrubs, and cleaning-up years of abandoned garbage and scrap metal.
By volunteering a single day of their time, they allowed us to accomplish priority restoration work that would have taken several days, if not weeks, of staff and contractor time.
The day culminated with the installation of a property sign announcing the conservation of 98 acres of prime wetland habitat. This seemingly simple act was an exciting moment for all of us because it represented years of hard work and collaboration coming to fruition.
It also marks the beginning of the long-term management and restoration of these lands.
It was so rewarding to see the look of satisfaction in the faces of those volunteers who said that they found it so meaningful to see, firsthand, where TransCanada’s support was going.
It was a perfect example of how NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program focuses on engaging volunteers in hands-on conservation projects out in nature. Volunteers who get involved not only have the opportunity to take part in meaningful conservation work with NCC, they also have the opportunity to experience and learn about some of the country’s most amazing natural landscapes firsthand.
I would like to take the opportunity to once again thank TransCanada for its dedication and support for protecting some of Canada’s most beautiful and fragile landscapes. We look forward to continuing our work with you in the future!
Guest Blog Post: Kailey Setter is a co-ordinator with Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Conservation Volunteers program in Alberta.