HALIFAX – The final push is on to protect a group of ecologically rich islands off Nova Scotia’s eastern coast.
The Nova Scotia Nature Trust launched a campaign earlier this year to raise the millions of dollars needed to protect more than 100 islands that stretch from Clam Harbour Beach N.S. to Taylor Head, N.S.
“We’re looking to raise another $1.2 million dollars and that will bring us to our total of $7 million,” said Marni Tuttle, campaign director with the Nature Trust.
The organization says wilderness of this scale is rare, not just for Canada, but globally, and the opportunity to protect the islands — the area is known as the Bay of Islands — is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“To be able to find a group of islands of that scale in Nova Scotia, and in much of North America is pretty incredible,” said Peter Green, conservation co-ordinator with the Nature Trust. “We’ve counted over 100 different species of birds that are using these islands now on a yearly basis, coming there for breeding and feeding.”
He said the islands are also home to white-sand beaches and coastal boreal forests.
Green said he’s impressed with how fast the 100 Wild Islands Campaign took off.
“To imagine within six months that we are getting up there, we’ve raised a good deal of money with some more to go, but it is incredible the progress we’ve been able to make with this,” he said.
Nova Scotia-born entrepreneur Paul Gauthier made a $3.5-million donation and to the campaign. It’s one of the largest donations to an environmental cause in the province’s history.
“Keeping it pristine and protected sort of resonated with me,” Gauthier said in a video statement on the Nature Trust’s website.
Any donation to protect the islands, big or small can help make a difference, according to Tuttle.
“We just had a letter in about a week and a half ago, a card from a little boy, I think he was 9 years old. He gathered seaweed…and sold it, and wanted to give us his profits to help keep the islands the way they have always been.”