Promoting Awareness and Best Practices for Clean Water

Blue Massawippi focuses on the preservation of Lake Massawippi and its watershed. While the role of the Trust is to conserve land, Blue Massawippi’s mission is to inform, educate, influence and act on environmental issues threatening water quality, the health of Lake Massawippi. The organization and its partners monitor water quality and promote awareness of best practices among water users, municipalities and government. Their projects include identifying and preventing invasive aquatic species and curbing surface erosion and pollution. Blue Massawippi works closely with the Foundation, which funds some of the organization’s initiatives.

Canadians and Americans work together to conserve a watershed in Quebec’s Eastern Townships

The border between Canada and the United States may be the world’s longest international border and the friendliest, with long-standing positive relationships between the residents of both countries. Quebec’s Eastern Townships is one region where that close connection is very apparent. Two Canadian organizations have been successful in their efforts to conserve the natural, scenic and historic features in one part of the area, and now American Friends of Canadian Conservation is partnering to support their future success.

North Hatley’s waterfront. Photo: Sebastien Rigault

Just 30 minutes or 36 km from the Vermont border, the charming town of North Hatley, Quebec traces its origins all the way back to 1792 when American Captain Ebenezer Hovey encountered Lake Massawippi during his explorations of the area. Of course, the first people to discover the 15-square-km lake were the Abenaki First Nation who named it Massawippi, meaning “abundance of clear water.”

Whether hundreds of years ago or today, there seems to be firm agreement that the landscape of the Massawippi area possesses great ecological and aesthetic value.

In 1968, citizens came together to form what is now known as Blue Massawippi, an organization dedicated to protecting the ecological health of the Massawippi watershed area through research and education. More recently, concerned local residents and landowners from the US established the Massawippi Foundation (FMF) and the Massawippi Conservation Trust (MCT), to directly protect the ecological integrity of the Lake and watershed area. While the Foundation supports many activities that benefit the people of the region, the purpose of the Trust is to conserve the natural state of the land adjacent to Lake Massawippi and its tributaries, and to steward that land in perpetuity.

Robert Salthouse

Massawippi’s clean water relies on intact upland forests. Photo: Robert Salthouse

Currently MCT’s work is focused on undeveloped land on the west slopes of Lake Massawippi, stretching over six kilometers and rising up to the high ridge. Experts have noted the ecological value of the old growth forest and a wide variety of rare or threatened flora and fauna on these lands. Tom Wilcox is one of the founders of the Trust – his family has been escaping summers in the US and spending time in the Massawippi area for five generations.

“My great grandmother and grandfather came in 1890, making my brother’s grandchildren the sixth generation,” says Wilcox. “As development pressure on the ecologically sensitive lands increased, we saw an opportunity to create a means to protect the valuable resource.” MCT employs several methods to conserve land including: acquiring land through purchase or donation; establishing easements or servitudes (as they are known in Quebec); educating landowners about the ecological and tax benefits of limiting the types of activities permitted on their lands; and helping landowners understand the effect of over-development on the health of the Massawippi watershed.

The Wilcox family (including young Tom in the striped shirt) arrive at their camp in 1955.

Wilcox has had many proud moments over the past ten years during which time the Trust has raised more than $5,000,000. He does not take much credit for the Trust’s success however. He says, “Margot Heyerhoff, the President of the Foundation, is the driving force behind our success. Pat and I have been helpful, but it is Margot who has gotten us to where we are.”

 “In addition to the cash, we have received donated properties and servitudes worth more than $3,000,000. Thanks to our donors and partners, we have become a leading voice for ecological health and sustainability,” said Patterson Webster, Chair of the Massawippi Foundation.

In June 2019, the community celebrated the dedication of the Massawippi Trail. Representatives from First Nations, English and French-speaking residents, families, and elected officials officially opened the trail system that provides public access to what was once private property. In recognition of the original Abenaki people whose territory included this land, Métis Paul Carignan and his wife Sylvia Bertolini sang an Anishinaabe Sun Song. “The work we do with the Trust not only ensures land conservation in perpetuity, it provides access for families to appreciate and learn about nature – which over the past 18 months we have come to understand is even more essential to the well-being of our community and the planet,” said Tom Wilcox.

Ethan’s Beach and 85% of the mountainside are protected by MCT. Photo: Massawippi Conservation Trust

Both The Massawippi Conservation Trust and Blue Massawippi are now grantees of American Friends of Canadian Conservation,  making it possible for US taxpayers to support their work with a gift that is tax deductible in the US.

“We are very grateful to American Friends,” said Wilcox. “I would advise any American who might be considering the future of their property in Canada to investigate American Friends. With the tax benefits available, you can ‘do well, by doing good’.”

You can help protect and conserve property in the Massawippi Valley by making a tax-deductible contribution of cash or securities, by donating online at American Friends’ secure site or you can donate stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares to American Friends to avoid US capital gains taxes while receiving a tax deduction for the current value of your securities. Contact Sandra Tassel at 360-515-7171 or sandra.tassel@conservecanada.org for instructions.

 

Protecting Ontario Farmland with Help from US Friends

The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) is permanently protecting farmland from subdivision and urban sprawl with help from the American Friends of Canadian Conservation and the Woodcock Foundation.

OFT recently completed its 16th conservation easement, with a grant from American Friends to defray the substantial costs of protecting the 210-acre organic, multigenerational family farm in Price Edward County, Ontario. A charitable gift from the Woodcock Foundation in the U.S. made the grant possible.

Congratulations to First Place Winner, Landscapes Category, Anna Scott.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Landscapes Category, Anna Scott, for her photo titled Treelaxing. The photograph was taken at Beauvert Lake in Jasper, AB.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to First Place Winner, Water Category, Tracey Freemantle.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Water Category, Tracey Freemantle, for her photo titled Creepy. The photograph was taken in Kirkfield, ON.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to First Place Winner, People in Nature Category, Glen Bylsma.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the People in Nature Category, Glen Bylsma, for his photo titled Romance. The photograph was taken in French River Provincial Park, ON.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to the First Place Winner of the Wildlife Category, Gray Merriam.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Wildlife Category, Gray Merriam, for his photo titled Artic Fox Hunting Sticklebacks on Hudson Bay Shore. The photograph was taken in Wapusk National Park, MB.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Plants, Trees and Flowers Category, Frank Loomer.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Plants, Trees and Flowers Category, Frank Loomer, for his photo titled Lakeside Irises. The photograph was taken at Carpenter Lake in Rothesay, NB.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to First Place Winner, David K. Cairns, Tradition Category

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Tradition Category, David K. Cairns, for his photo titled A Range Light Stands Guard. The photograph was taken in Bellevue Cove, Prince Edward Island.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to Denise Burns, Grand Prize Winner of the “Oh, Canada” Photo Contest

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. Well-known professional photographer and teacher John D’Onofrio selected the Grand Prize Winner and four Runners Up. John is the owner/editor/publisher of Adventures NW Magazine and his work has been featured in many publications and exhibits.

“There were lots of good compositions” said John. His technical criteria for selecting the winners were “…good capture, sharp focus, unflawed images.” If a photograph was digitally modified, John evaluated whether it had been “…manipulated well.” John praised Grand Prize Winner Denise Burn’s photo for its technical and artistic caliber. In keeping with the theme of the contest, John was also seeking “..uniquely Canadian images that conveyed ambiance of place.”

The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see all of John D’Onofrio’s selections and the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.