Canada’s Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Peter Kent, today announced the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s successful completion of a conservation covenant protecting the Warner Philip property – 259 hectares of land near Kamloops, British Columbia. This project was secured in part with funding from Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and tax incentives under the Ecological Gifts program.

“This project marks another achievement under our government’s Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations,” said Minister Kent. “Your actions today will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that will constitute an integral part of our natural heritage tomorrow.”

The protected grasslands area is situated in the Nicola River drainage, 30 kilometres south of Kamloops, B.C. The property, which is part of a migratory bird corridor, is rich in biodiversity and home to Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, Great Horned Owls, and American Avocets, among other species. The property also provides habitat for rare species at risk such as Long-billed Curlews, Burrowing Owls and American Badger. The landowner, Connie Philip is generously donating a conservation covenant in memory of her late husband, Warner Philip.

“The Warner Philip Conservation Area protects some of BC’s most valuable grassland habitat,” said Barbara Pryce, Okanagan Program Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Connie and Warner Philip cared for this special property for their whole lives, and in return it supported their family. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is honoured to enhance the stewardship of this ecologically and culturally important property.”

The Government of Canada’s $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes real action to preserve Canada’s environment and conserve its precious natural heritage for present and future generations. It is through the ongoing contribution from all donors that we can ensure the protection of natural areas in Canada. As of December 2010, the Natural Areas Conservation Program has protected 151,278 hectares of habitat, which includes habitat for 101 species at risk.

The Ecological Gifts Program complements other national initiatives, such as the Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Habitat Stewardship Program, by facilitating enhanced income tax benefits to Canadians who generously donate properties that protect ecologically sensitive land.

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