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BONNEY NATURE PRESERVE ON THE KINGSTON PENINSULA

Our connection to land shapes our
life and legacy

WRITTEN BY: RENATA WOODWARD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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.

“Reg was an enjoyable person to be with. He was extremely curious about everything, and we had long conversations about every topic imaginable. He loved being outdoors and felt happiest there, and much of that feeling originated in his childhood when he spent much of his time tramping about the land.” shared Bob Saunders who was Reg’s climbing companion and friend for over 20 years.

“Reg had a phenomenal memory and when we weren’t talking about tiny incidents that had happened on our many trips together in the mountains and which I had completely forgotten, we often spent hours talking about his youth in New Brunswick - from age two, no less! And much of the talk centered on the land and his relationship to it.”

For me, it is a type of personal meditation, a “mindfulness” session when speaking with people about their land. You sit back, stop doing whatever you are doing, and listen to the happy memories. You tune into the feelings of true connectedness, and picture the land as it once was.

I never met Reg in person as he resided in Calgary, but we had many phone and email conversations in regards to his land on Kingston Peninsula and the need for increased conservation in New Brunswick. One of Reg’s notes about his land said:

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“I remember spring nights being lulled to sleep in my bed in the upstairs bedroom by thousands of frogs croaking and peeping like a vast symphony. Of mist creeping from the marsh on summer evenings across the lower meadows and pasture land.”

Reg has passed and I was saddened by the news as I felt a connection with Reg through the many conversations about his childhood and his land. Shortly after his passing, the Nature Trust was informed that it had become the beneficiary of his close to one million dollar estate, including the 3.6-hectare property in Lower Kingston where he grew up, featuring farmland, old forest, a creek, and habitat for wildlife.

The Nature Trust has removed a building from the land and is working to restore the area. It was clear from many conversations that Reg’s wishes were to protect more land in the vicinity of the Kingston Peninsula and the Nature Trust is working towards fulfilling those wishes.