By Nick Lees
January 22, 2018.
A gift that will sing forever has just been handed to the Edmonton and Area Land Trust on the conservation society’s 10th birthday.
Internationally renowned wildlife biologist Lu Carbyn has donated nearly 63 hectares (155 acres), land trust executive director Pam Wight said.
“The land, the Lu Carbyn Nature Sanctuary, is undisturbed boreal forest and home to more than 95 bird species,” she said. “The biodiversity of the land includes trumpeter swan, loon, great blue heron, moose, deer, coyote, bats, beaver and lynx.”
The parcel is located 90 kilometres west of Edmonton, close to the Lily Lake Natural Area in Lac Ste. Anne County.
Added to several other protected lands — also with lakes, wetlands and forest — the sanctuary will add conservation value to a larger region.
“There is already a system of grassy walking trails offering relatively easy walking and scenic views,” Wight said.
Her organization has conserved 880 hectares (2,170 acres) of land in its 10 years.
“The Carbyn sanctuary is a place where people can go walk and explore, which is so important to our mental and physical well-being,” Wight says.
Carbyn, a U of A adjunct professor and former co-owner of the The Wildbird General Store, says his career has centred on the study of such creatures as wolves, bison and swift foxes.
“While wolves and bison are doing well, migratory birds are not,” he said. “The North American downward trend, both in numbers and species, is alarming.
“Some causes are obvious, others are not. But they certainly include the loss of nesting habitat in the Northern Hemisphere, destruction of winter ranges in the south, loss of staging areas during migration, cats, window strikes, pesticides, climate change and urban sprawl.”
Wight and Carbyn agree the sanctuary offers the best bird viewing opportunities within 100 kilometres of Edmonton and will undoubtedly provide enjoyment for future generations of Albertans.