Celebrating Bunchberry Meadows

Bunchberry Meadows Launch Celebrates a Section Conserved Near Edmonton. 

The Edmonton Area Land Trust (EALT) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) celebrated the conservation of a very special property, together with the families who previously owned the land, major donors, and Minister Shannon Phillips.

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Lands comprise 260 ha (640 acres) of natural forest and meadows which are only 2 kilometers from West Edmonton, and 2 kilometers from the North Saskatchewan River. This full section of old-growth forest, meadows and wetlands is located just a couple of kilometres from west Edmonton and from the North Saskatchewan River.

There was a gathering at Bunchberry Meadows of the families who donated the land, NCC and EALT who are the new owners of the land, together major donors to the fundraising campaign, for a formal ceremony and celebration of this significant conservation effort.  The participants were Bob Demulder, NCC’s Vice-President for Albert, Pam Wight, EALT’s Executive Director, Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and parks, Rod Shaigec, Mayor of Parkland County, and Kim Laskin, representing the 5 families who donated the land. 

 Left to right: Pam Wight, EALT ED, Kim Laskin, donor families, Rod Sheigac, Mayor of Parkland County, Bob Demulder, NCC VP, Shannon Phillips, Minister, AnnLisa Jensen, Parkland County Councillor

Left to right: Pam Wight, EALT ED, Kim Laskin, donor families, Rod Sheigac, Mayor of Parkland County, Bob Demulder, NCC VP, Shannon Phillips, Minister, AnnLisa Jensen, Parkland County Councillor

The 5 families bought the land in the 1970s, and cared for it and kept it natural over the last 40 years, while the City of Edmonton expanded west and much of the surrounding lands became occupied by country residential, infrastructure and industrial land.  So the land not only represents a natural refuge, it provides habitat for many wildlife, and represents a very important link in landscape connectivity in this region.

The family members agreed to donate half the land, and to sell the other half.  They approached the NCC to purchase the land. The NCC approached EALT to consider joining this effort.  Through the generosity of EALT’s anonymous donor whose funds were held at the Edmonton Community Foundation, EALT now shares part ownership of the land, and is particularly focussed on stewarding it to uphold its conservation values.

Kim Laskin pointed out that his happy childhood memories were in this land "When you drive here through all the farmland and then you hit here, it's like an oasis. We have coyotes, of course, moose, elk deer, there's everything." Bunchberry Meadows has hummocky terrain caused by the now-vegetated sand dunes, and this supports some of the oldest jack pine in Alberta. It provides important habitat for many species such as great- horned owls, woodchucks, birds and amphibians such as tiger salamanders, northern flying squirrels, porcupines and long-tailed weasels. The land is one of the high priority areas in EALT’s Capital Region Conservation Plan, and more about special nature of Bunchberry Meadows can be seen on EALT’s website.

 Representatives of the 5 donor families

Representatives of the 5 donor families

Global News reported on the event here.