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Fresh interest in Freshwater Bay conservation project

The area of Freshwater Bay targeted for a conservation project.
The area of Freshwater Bay targeted for a conservation project. - Submitted photo

The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Freshwater Bay conservation project is closer to completion thanks to a $25,000 donation from ExxonMobil Canada, it was announced on Friday.

A news release states the donation will help the NCC, a charitable land trust, establish a nature reserve in Freshwater Bay near St. John’s. The 243-acre project is part of the NCC’s national Landmark Campaign. The fundraising campaign aims to protect more than 500 new ecologically significant sites across Canada.

Megan Lafferty, NCC program director in Newfoundland and Labrador, said, “once it’s protected, the Freshwater Bay Nature Reserve will offer recreation and volunteer opportunities. It will also provide a location for students to learn about local ecology. We are continuing to fundraise for this important project.”

The release describes Freshwater Bay as a popular picnicking and hiking destination located minutes from St. John’s. A former fishing settlement, it’s now a haven for nature. The coastal area the NCC is working to conserve contains mature forest and provides an important land buffer for nearby seabird colonies. A section of the East Coast Trail runs through the property on the way to Cape Spear.

“ExxonMobil Canada supports programs that promote science education and help protect the environment,” said Peter Larden, president of ExxonMobil Canada. “Once established, the Freshwater Bay Nature Reserve will help conserve the area’s boreal forest and wetlands. The area can also be used as an outdoor classroom to learn about conservation and conduct research.”

In addition to the support from ExxonMobil Canada, the NCC has received donations from the Presentation Sisters, the Sisters of Mercy, the Patten Family Foundation and many individual local donors.

The NCC says it needs to raise an additional $200,000 to cover costs associated with conserving the site in Freshwater Bay, including an endowment fund that will support the long-term management of the land.

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