Canadians have turned to nature in significant numbers to help them cope with the impacts of COVID-19. A new Ipsos poll, conducted for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), reveals 94 per cent of people credit time spent in nature with helping them to relieve the stress and anxiety of the pandemic’s second wave. The trend is especially prevalent among women and young families. More than 85 per cent of people surveyed say access to nature has been important to maintaining their mental health and three in four Canadians say time spent outdoors is more important to them now than ever before.
From backyard birds and urban foxes, to increased use of trails and parks, anecdotally, Canadians report a greater awareness of nature in their lives since the pandemic began. The survey is one of the first to try to measure that impact. It reinforces that nature and health are inextricably linked. Clean air, clean water and healthy foods all come from nature. At a time when health is a top priority for Canadians, nine in ten surveyed say we need to invest more to restore and care for the natural areas that sustain us all. By taking care of nature we take care of each other.
The survey coincides with the conclusion of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Landmark Campaign – the boldest fundraising drive for nature ever in Canada. The Landmark Campaign mobilized thousands of people who took nature conservation into their own hands and gave to save the lands and waters that sustain us all. With more than $750 million dollars raised, an additional 115,000 km2, has been conserved -- an area one and a half times the size of New Brunswick. The campaign protected habitat for 130 species at risk – seven of which are found nowhere else in the world!
Gifts to the campaign came from every corner of the country, along with contributions from corporations and governments of every political stripe. In fact, 94 per cent of Canadians live within 100 kilometres of a Landmark Campaign project. But donations were also received from people in 40 different nations worldwide, underscoring the global significance of conserving Canada’s lands, waters, plants and animals.
The Landmark Campaign strengthened Canada’s collective commitment to nature. But with all major habitat types still in decline, combined with the impacts of a global pandemic and climate change, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is committed to building upon that momentum. When conservation becomes a way of life, it benefits us all.
“Our conservation mission has never been timelier. Nature is a lifeline to for so many people as we cope with the fallout of a global pandemic. The Landmark Campaign has delivered conservation results, just when Canadians need it the most! I want to thank our donors and our volunteers. Your unprecedented response has made a difference in the lives of so many. Together we are committed to do more to make sure the nature that means so much to us today will be there for generations to come.”
Catherine Grenier, president and chief executive officer, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“Together we have made great strides in protecting and caring for endangered grasslands in Saskatchewan. Grasslands are one of the most at-risk ecosystems in the world and play an important role in our health. They filter our water, trap and store carbon and help prevent flooding and droughts. Grasslands, and the wetlands they contain, benefit migratory birds and imperiled species. Through the Landmark Campaign, we have completed 39 conservation projects in Saskatchewan, conserving 7,866 hectares (19,438 acres) of ecologically significant lands and waters. With your help, we are able to continue this urgent conservation work.”
Jennifer McKillop, regional vice-president, Saskatchewan Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada
- NCC acknowledges that Indigenous People
shave protected and cared for the natural areas, plants and wildlife of their traditional territories for millennia. NCC is striving to better its engagement with Indigenous People and communities. We are pleased to be a collaborative and supportive partner in various parts of the country and to contribute to Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship. Learn more here.
- Signature properties secured in Saskatchewan during the Landmark Campaign include Hole in the Wall, Wideview and most recently, Buffalo Pound.
- Examples of species at risk observed on NCC’s properties secured during the Landmark Campaign include American badger, greater sage-grouse, ferruginous hawk and northern leopard frog.
· One of NCC’s newest Nature Destination properties in Saskatchewan added during the Landmark Campaign is Nebo, located about 50 minutes west of Prince Albert. Nebo offers a place to hike among a remarkable transition zone that bridges boreal forest with prairie grasslands.
· The Landmark Campaign is global leadership in action. Conservation projects completed under the campaign contribute to Canada’s commitment to conserve 25 per cent of our lands and waters by 2025.
· Nature cleans the water we drink: the Landmark Campaign has protected more than 4,600 hectares (11,367 acres) of freshwater and 15,500 hectares (38,301 acres) of wetlands (combined, an area twice the size of the City of Vancouver).
· Nature cleans the air we breathe: 300,000 hectares (741,316 acres) of forest protected under the Landmark Campaign clean the air we breathe.
· Nature provides recreation/well-being: 540 projects completed under the Landmark Campaign are accessible to local residents for recreation.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to conserve 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast.