They’ve been fundraising for years, but now conservationists are in a fight to raise $50,000 in just four weeks to protect a key piece of Nova Scotia’s shoreline.

 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has raised almost half a million dollars towards its goal of buying undeveloped land at Port Joli, about 170 kilometres down the shore from Halifax. The 341 acres of land are key because they would link two existing protected areas.

 

But the deadline to buy the land is fast approaching and the NCC is still $50,000 short. They rely on donations from a public that is becoming increasingly disinterested in conservation, said one leading naturalist.

 

“Things are getting worse and they’re getting worse rapidly. The kind of work that the Nature Conservancy of Canada does is difficult and the only thing that holds us back is our ability to raise money, particularly from the private sector,” said NCC national chair Bill Freedman.

But some things are in their favour. Thanks to provincial and federal plans to match funding, every $22 donated privately is matched with $100 of government money. So every $22 donation becomes a $122 donation.

Freedman said the NCC is just scratching the surface of the work that needs to be done. He hopes they can help reverse the trend of Canadians becoming disenchanted with nature and teach the value of conservation.

“You could say the same thing about great works of art. They’re beautiful, they’re important and that’s enough of a reason to conserve them,” he said.

Port Joli is an important area for wintering waterfowl and is also home to minks, otters, white-tailed deer and sometimes moose. Information on donating can be found at natureconservancy.ca, or at (902) 480-3610.