The NCC protects 15 hectares on Prince Edward County’s south shore

Mark Bass Nature Reserve, Eastern Lake ON. (Photo by Nina-Marie Lister.)




The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced Tuesday they are adding to the compliment of protected land in South Marysburgh ward with the creation of a new  15 hectares (38 acres) of wetland and forest nature reserve on Prince Edward County’s south shore.

Thanks to the generous support of donors Jeremy Guth and Nina-Marie Lister, the national not-for-profit, private land conservation organization has purchased and created The Mark Bass Nature Reserve (MBNR), an important piece of local natural habitat.

“As people who’ve dedicated our personal and professional lives to the conservation and restoration of natural systems and ecosystems,” said Guth. “We feel fortunate to work with NCC and to enable their purchase of the MBNR.”

The MBNR contains a collection of marsh, swamp and coastal wetlands, which is important for local flood mitigation, as well as upland forests and fields that can be restored to natural habitat. The reserve is home to the at-risk Blanding’s turtle as well as waterfowl, such as mallard and wood duck.

“The Bass land is a “patch” in the “quilt” of public and private land that collectively makes up one of the few remaining natural shorelines of ecological significance on Lake Ontario,” Lister said. “Including the nearby Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area” added Lister.

Since 1993, the property has been cared for and stewarded by Mark Bass, a local elementary educator with a keen interest in conservation. Over the years, he spent countless hours on the property, restored a pond and brought many students there to plant trees and enjoy nature. When it came time to sell his land, Bass wanted to ensure that its conservation values would be protected for the long term.

“My heart is in this property,” said Bass. “It’s a place where I worked to promote its health and biodiversity, where I could serve and give back to the Earth. Many of the trees were planted by myself, my students, my family and friends. Building the pond promotes amphibian and reptile biodiversity. This land is sacred to me, and I would only have sold it to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, who will continue this vision.”

Mark Stabb. (Adam Bramburger/Gazette staff)

The property is located at the western edge of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. The site provides vital stopover habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds.

“My family spent many summer holidays just down the road from this property,” said Mark Stabb, NCC program director. “It’s fantastic to be able to protect some of these significant habitats we’ve grown to love. All of us at NCC are so grateful to Jeremy and Nina-Marie for helping make this happen.”

This conservation success could not have been achieved without the support of local landowners and the community.

“There’s an important emerging role for private landowners, both as conservationists and farmers to play in the future of conservation in Prince Edward County,” said Guth. “We look forward to further collaboration with NCC on the protection of the intertwined ecological and cultural heritage values on our own property, which abuts the Mark Bass Nature Reserve.”

“By doing this, we hope both to secure another significant piece of the south shore conservation quilt and to inspire others to follow, not just as conservationists but as farmers, many of whom already understand and manage their farms with great understanding of and respect for nature,” added Lister.

The MBNR is the latest in a series of new protected areas on the south shore of Prince Edward County and adds to a network of conservation lands, which includes the 560-hectare (1,400-acre) Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area; 198-hectare (490-acre) Miller Family Nature Reserve, owned and stewarded by Hastings-Prince Edward Land Trust; 95-hectare (234-acre) Ducks Unlimited Canada property at Gravelly Point; and 86-hectare (212-acre) NCC nature reserve at Ostrander Point.

The 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 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, with more than 84,000 hectares (207,000 acres) in Ontario. 

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