The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) encourages you to visit one or more of its properties and connect with nature.
NCC is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast.
Sage and Sparrow
With its rolling hills of bluebunch wheatgrass and sagebrush, pocket wetlands and dry ponderosa pine forests, the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offers a mosaic of habitats to explore. Abutting the Canada-U.S. border near Osoyoos, these grasslands are one of Canada’s most endangered ecosystems and offer refuge for dozens of species at risk.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of these incredible grasslands. In addition to panoramic views, lucky hikers might be treated to the sights of Lewis’s woodpecker, up to seven species of sparrow, burrowing owl and half-moon hairstreak butterfly.
The Weston Family
Tall Grass Prairie
The Weston Family Tall Grass Prairie Interpretive Centre is nestled within the heart of the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, just 80 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg. It provides a unique opportunity to visit one of the rarest ecosystems in North America: the tall grass prairie. The area is home to more than 1,000 species. Visitors can learn about the tall grass prairie ecosystem through on-site exhibits or as part of a guided tour.
Located on Nova Scotia’s popular South Shore, Gaff Point is a pristine, spectacularly beautiful headland consisting of impressive cliffs, conifer forest, heaths and grasslands. The rustic trails of this nature preserve wind through cool, quiet forests and along the ever-changing edge of the sea. The beauty and accessibility of Gaff Point make it a favoured destination for local residents and visitors alike.
One of the best-known sites in the Canadian Badlands, Nodwell-Horseshoe Canyon is located in central Alberta, just 17 kilometres west of Drumheller. It features three unique habitats: the prairie, the wooded coulee slopes and the badlands.
Many plant and animal species have adapted to the badlands’ harsh environment. Visitors to Horseshoe Canyon might see several species of cactus, prairie crocus, sage, bluebirds, garter snakes and mule deer.
Backus Woods, Ontario
In 2010, NCC was successful in conserving Backus Woods through the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Located 20 minutes southwest of Simcoe and 35 minutes south of Tillsonburg, the property features more than 21 kilometres of trails and over 90 interpretive panels. Visitors may see some of Ontario’s oldest living trees, as well as a diversity of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Thomas Island is located within Murray Harbour, near the village of the same name. If you’re looking for a new place to kayak, try visiting this hidden haven. The harbour is great for bird watching, photography or picnicking on the beach.
MADDOX COVE, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Located near Petty Harbour on the Cape Spear Path, approximately a 15-minute drive south of St. John’s, NCC’s Maddox Cove property boasts coastal coniferous forest dominated by balsam fir and black spruce. The award-winning East Coast Trail runs through the property, allowing visitors to hike and experience the rugged beauty and spectacular marine life along Newfoundland’s coastline
Stark Coulee is almost 1,300 acres (520 hectares) of native mixed prairie grasslands located in the Qu’Appelle Valley, just a 30-minute drive northwest of Moose Jaw. This conservation area links Lake Diefenbaker to Buffalo Pound Lake, which supplies water to 25 per cent of the province’s residents.
Stark Coulee is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Many grassland and migratory bird species can be viewed here, along with endangered loggerhead shrike, Sprague’s pipit and burrowing owl. These lands are also home to the endangered leopard frog, bigmouth buffalo fish and the narrow-leaved plantain.
Named in honour of a generous donor, the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve is located 60 kilometres from Montreal in Quebec’s Laurentians. The reserve’s escarpments are a refuge for more than 80 per cent of all bird species recorded in Quebec, including peregrine falcon. Visitors might see rare plants such as purple clematis or Holboell rockcress, and vulnerable species like smooth green snake and pickerel frog.
Learn about Alfred-Kelly via the reserve’s interpretive panels. The reserve is open year-round for hiking, and for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
JOHNSON’S MILLS SHOREBIRD RESERVE AND INTERPRETIVE CENTRE, NEW BRUNSWICK
Located a half-hour drive southeast of Moncton, this globally important shorebird reserve is a destination for nature lovers, birding enthusiasts, photographers and travel writers. NCC operates a seasonal interpretive centre that includes a viewing area so visitors can enjoy the spectacular migration of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds without disturbing them as they feed and rest on the beaches.
Every year, from July to Sep- tember, these tiny birds fly from
their breeding grounds in the Arctic to the upper Bay of Fundy. They double their body weight by feeding on the mud shrimp in the expansive mudflats of the bay before continuing their direct flight to South America, where they spend the winter.