During these challenging times it is difficult to find bits of good news, but the Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has some to share. The Trust has announced the successful completion of the fundraising campaign to acquire the Warren property in Chaffey’s Lock.
The campaign began in late February and by mid April reached its goal of $435,000, according to a release from the RWLT. The property closing was completed on April 27, 2021.
“This 74 acre parcel has a variety of environmental, historical and educational attributes and this combination has generated enthusiastic community support,” said Peter Hannah, Board Chair of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. “A total of 175 separate donations were received, ranging from $20 to a generous contribution of $55,200 from the ECHO Foundation. The remaining funding came through the generous support of the Greenlands Conservation Partnership Program.”
The Greenlands Conservation Partnership will see up to $50 million invested over four years, the $20 million the Ontario government is investing, with another $30 million from nonprovincial sources such as individual donations, foundations, and other levels of government, the Land Trust said. This program secures land to conserve ecologically important natural areas such as wetlands, grasslands and forests that help mitigate the effects of climate change.
“We are expanding the amount of conserved green space across the province not only to preserve the environment, but to promote physical activity such as hiking and improving our mental health,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By taking this approach our government will be leaving a magnificent legacy for the benefit of future generations. It has been wonderful to be working with outstanding conservation leaders like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to achieve our shared goals.”
The property will be added to RWLT’s portfolio of 20 protected properties in the Rideau corridor. It will be named the Warren Nature Reserve, in honour of Don and Mary Warren, long time residents of Chaffey’s Lock who understood the need to protect key pieces of the natural environment for the benefit of future generations.
“Donors to the campaign mentioned lots of different reasons for their contributions. Some are long term RWLT supporters who get behind every one of the Trust’s projects. Some were particularly grateful for Don Warren’s community activism in opposing the electrification of the Rideau Canal locks in the 1960s, his role as an educator and his foresight in being a founding member of the RWLT. Others saw the value in preserving an important parcel of land near the Queen’s University Biological Station, allowing it to be used for future education and scientific research,” said Hannah.
The Land Trust said COVID-19 fatigue undoubtedly played a role in the success of their campaign. The constraints of the past year have generated more interest in the importance of preserving natural areas, getting outdoor exercise and escaping the pressures of lock downs. The Board and supporters of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust are grateful to the community for making this project a reality.
As with all RWLT property acquisitions, the next steps are to undertake a baseline study to inventory the natural heritage aspects in more depth and complete a management plan which protects key features in perpetuity. The Trust said they will complete their work as soon as conditions allow. More information about the property can be found at www.rwlt.org/warren.