The Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT) has received a wild gift in our 10th Anniversary year: almost 80 acres of wilderness! This brings the EALT’s natural areas to over 2,240 acres of conserved land, across 12 locations, in 9 municipalities in and around Edmonton. An astounding accomplishment for a 10 year old non-profit in this Central Parkland region which has the least remaining percentage of native habitat in any Alberta ecoregion (only ½ of 1% of Central Parkland remains natural).
What Makes this Such a Great Gift?
The Smith Blackburn Homestead is located just a couple kilometers east of Elk Island National Park. It is within the Beaverhills Initiative which was recently designated as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. This area of hummocky moraine is a focal point of nature conservation for the government and other agencies. Adding an additional piece of conserved wilderness increases the connectivity within this special region, making it a great place to live – or to travel in – for all wildlife.
This wild land is covered by aspen and poplar forest, with a nourishing raspberry, Saskatoon, and rose bush understorey. The forest is teeming with wildlife including everything from tiny songbirds to lumbering moose, and there is a lake with cattails for the ducks and Great Blue Herons.
The varied habitat in this region sustains a high diversity of rare species and globally significant concentrations of migratory birds. It is a vital component of freshwater health for the region, and provides wetland breeding grounds for many species of North American waterfowl, making EALT’s work in this area vital in many ways.