Celebration set for successful protection of Lot 48

Following a highly successful fundraising campaign the Nature Conservancy of Canada is planning a celebration of the protection of Lot 48.

Nancy Newhouse (left) and daughter Megan Kinley just retuned from their own wilderness expedition as a part of the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Time For Nature 50th anniversary celebration.

Nancy Newhouse (left) and daughter Megan Kinley just retuned from their own wilderness expedition as a part of the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Time For Nature 50th anniversary celebration.

Following a highly successful fundraising campaign that culminated in the purchase and subsequent protection of the ecologically sensitive parcel of land known as Lot 48, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is planning on honouring all the groups that took part with a special celebration on Monday (July 23).

“It’s to celebrate the successful completion of the project, and to recognize the many players that have been involved,” said Nancy Newhouse, Canadian Rockies program manager for the NCC. “It’s also to take a moment to really sit and appreciate all the efforts that have been put into such a huge success story.”

The celebration will feature drummers and storytellers from the Ktunaxa Nation, local musicians and special guests, and is open to the public. However, as the event will take place on Lot 48 itself, all those planning to attend are asked to RSVP no later than Friday (July 20) by contacting the NCC via email at trish.blackstock@natureconservancy.ca or by calling 250-342-5521. The NCC is also asking those who plan to attend to also consider carpooling from Fairmont Hot Springs Resort to help reduce the amount of vehicle traffic at the site. The ceremony will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.

Newhouse said there is still plenty left to do on Lot 48. Beginning this month, crews will begin to catalogue the wildlife and vegetation contained within the area. Once this baseline inventory is complete, they can begin to formulate a comprehensive property management plan in conjunction with the Ktunaxa Nation Council, a process that is expected to take several years.

The NCC is also marking another success story this year alongside that of Lot 48, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with the Time For Nature campaign. The land conservation organization is “challenging Canadians to incorporate nature into their summer plans, and then to share those experiences, through the Time for Nature website: www.natureconservancy.ca/timefornature,” according to a June media release. NCC staff is leading the charge — many employees have recently returned from trips where they were told to turn off their cell phones and emails for a few days in order to reconnect with nature. Newhouse herself just retuned from a trip to Waterton, Alberta with members of her family and she said it was a great opportunity to recharge after a long fundraising campaign.

“We had to make a plan, and we had to document what we did… [the NCC] were very clear that we’re not on a vacation — we were specifically tasked to go out and enjoy nature,” Newhouse said. “It was an opportunity for the NCC as an organization to give their staff the gift of time to spend out and be recharged, so that we can remember why we do the work that we do.”

“At NCC, we believe that time outdoors is time well spent,” NCC president and CEO said in a release. “We like to say we create results you can walk on. This summer, through Time for Nature, we’re asking Canadians to get active and walk with us and enjoy nature’s benefits.”

Additionally, the NCC has been named the top environmental charity in Canada for the third year in a row by MoneySense Magazine. Using data obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency, various websites, and the charities themselves, MoneySense ranks Canada’s 100 largest charities each year according to their fiscal efficiency, fundraising efforts, reserve fund size, transparency and governance.

“We’re really proud of that designation,” Newhouse said. “We certainly take it very seriously, and I feel very honoured that people choose to invest their money in our work.”