by  Jim MacInnis

Through a generous donation and Ontario Nature’s initiative, the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust (ORMLT) has added another significant piece of land to its holdings. Senator Nancy Ruth, a dedicated environmentalist, donated some 25 hectares of forested land in north Pickering, which Ontario Nature brought to the land trust’s attention. The land is now designated as a Natural Linkage in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

Senator Ruth initially approached Rosemary Speirs, president of the board of Ontario Nature. “I always knew I had a responsibility to give what I could,” says Ruth, “and be concerned about the future of Canada. Giving away an asset you don’t really need so that future generations of birds and beasts and people can enjoy it is a marvelous thing to do.” Before the donation, Senator Ruth had the property reforested, and permitted groups such as Scouts Canada to use it for outdoor expeditions.

Mark Carabetta, Ontario Nature’s conservation science manager, stressed the importance of protecting the mature woodlands on the donated land. “It’s great that Senator Ruth wanted to see this property protected,” says Carabetta, “and that the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust was able to accept her generous donation and become the steward of the property.”

The conservation of these and other natural areas often depends on the cooperation of like-minded organizations. Says Frank Shaw, chair of planning and partnerships with the ORMLT, “Ontario Nature helped with the inauguration of the Ontario land trust movement, and some of our first ORMLT funding for property came through the generous assistance of Ontario Nature.” Don Prince, executive director of the ORMLT, adds, “Our sincere thanks [go] to Ontario Nature for bringing this significant moraine property and land donation opportunity to the ORMLT. Through strategic co-operation with conservation agencies such as Ontario Nature, landowners, municipalities, donors and our funding partners, we are protecting our moraine legacy forever.”

The ORMLT now encompasses 22 properties that total more than 1,100 hectares of protected land.