For many individuals and families, land is more than just a piece of property. It holds the memories of families and their lives. In many cases, it becomes an important piece of family history. This was true for the late Mr. Bonney [Reg] who had strong ties to the land where he spent his childhood.

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The Nature Trust has set out on a mission to develop strong groups of volunteer land stewards to help care for our growing network of nature preserves across the province. Having groups of stewards, like the “Friends of Blueberry Hill”, as the caretakers and experts of these natural spaces allows for increased monitoring, improved trail maintenance and capacity to take on restoration projects.

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My life changed the first time I quietly stood and craned my neck to take in the soaring canopy of maples and ash in a forest so noisy with bird song and so lush with tropical looking ferns that if someone had told me I wasn’t in New Brunswick anymore, I would have believed them.

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According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, invasive species are the second most common threat associated with species extinction and the most common threat associated with the extinction of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

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Furbish’s lousewort has an interesting history of being discovered, declared extinct, rediscovered again, and then finally protected as an endangered species in Canada and the United States. It’s a rare plant endemic to the Saint John River in Northern New Brunswick and Maine – meaning that in the entire world, it only grows along this one river. Very few species are restricted to eastern Canada, let alone one section of one river.

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Featuring preserves from Grand Manan and Blacks Harbour to Shea Lake, the Conservation on Canvas exhibition is a diverse showcase of New Brunswick’s landscapes and biodiversity. In partnership with the New Brunswick Museum and the Nature Trust, the goal of the project is to raise awareness of the natural diversity across the province and to celebrate land conservation as a means of ensuring these landscapes remain protected.

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Andrew Stokes-Rees, Program Manager for Outward Bound Canada’s Atlantic Chapter, leads one of the Nature Trust’s youth stewardship groups. He says that the Outward Bound curriculum has service at its core, which connects youth with nature for the benefit of the environment and society. He believes that people make choices in life based on what they experience as youth, and in today's society, opportunities to get outside and explore the natural world are decreasing.

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Engagement organizing is an approach that marries organizing, technology and a culture of developing leadership in others. This includes a shift to a model that focuses on relationship building and mobilization of supporters at the heart of the work to create a resilient, effective organization.

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With a network of over 45 nature preserves across the province, having local volunteer stewards on the ground as the caretakers and experts of these natural spaces is key to ensuring that ecological features are protected and is vital to our work. Each nature preserve has at least one voluntary land steward, with eight having major community involvement in the form of a stewardship group like the “Friends of Ferris Street” in Fredericton.

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481 acres of protected mixed forest, as well as a large and rare brackish pond, make up the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve, donated to the Nature Trust in the 1999, thanks to the generosity and assistance of the late Owen Washburn and his wife Sheila (nee Caughey) Washburn.

Our Executive Director, Renata Woodward, had the pleasure of speaking with Sheila to discuss how she came to donate land and the importance of leaving a legacy.

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