Larch Sanctuary, a spectacular part of Whitemud Nature Reserve Whitemud Creek Ravine, is newly protected by a Conservation Easement. It was initiated 9 years ago by the Poole Family, original owner of the land, and Melcor Developments Ltd., together with Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT). When the land was subdivided to create Larch Park, the acres designated for the Sanctuary passed to the City as Environmental Reserve. From there, the City and EALT worked on the Conservation Easement. It ensures the Sanctuary’s rare oxbow and surrounding natural habitat are preserved and stewarded forever, as Edmonton grows.
Although the Conservation Easement has now been registered, collaboration between EALT and the City is just beginning, as they develop a Natural Area Management Plan, and discuss plans for interpretive and information signs, and other joint activities.
“It’s wonderful,” says Pam Wight, Edmonton and Area Land Trust’s Executive Director. “Despite being inside a major city, Larch Sanctuary retains remarkable biodiversity. It is a wildlife corridor and home to dozens of native species. This is EALT’s first land securement in Edmonton, and is the City’s first Conservation Easement.”
The Poole Family, Melcor’s CEO and staff, the MP and MLA for the area, City of Edmonton politicians and representatives, Edmonton’s Poet Laurate, Directors and staff of the Edmonton and Area Land Trust, and local community residents gathered together this past Saturday to celebrate the permanent stewardship of these 59 valuable acres directly connected to the River Valley system. Peter Poole gave an inspiring talk relating back to the Aboriginal roots in the land, while the dignitaries helped EALT with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Afterwards, a large group of the community participated in an interpretive tour of the sanctuary, led by an EALT naturalist.
Poet Laureate Pierrette Requier recited two delightful poems, including the House of Wood and Light:
House of Wood and Light
What is the word
for the way fog moves
above houses among trees
over the ground
across a valley
Spreads like shred silk
dissipates above a harbour?
What is the word for the
height of trees
For the way branches reach
through the blue air
arbutus, cedar, hemlock, spruce
What is the sound of their reaching?
© Pierrette Requier, November 2015