Saw-whet owl, caribou, lynx, marten among NCC Gifts of Canadian Nature

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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If you're looking for a Christmas gift for the nature lover on your list who has everything, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has a suggestion.

The NCC recently launched an alternative gifts program, Gifts of Canadian Nature, that provides an opportunity for people to sustain wild areas for some of the most threatened habitat.

Four of the five species highlighted in the program live in western Newfoundland and Labrador - the Newfoundland marten, saw-whet owl, Canada lynx and George River caribou. The other is a grizzly bear that inhabits British Columbia's Tatlayoko Lake Valley.

Many people have family members who love nature or relatives and friends who live long distances away and sending gifts through the mail is a challenge, said Andrew Holland, the NCC's communication manager.

"This is a practical way to give a symbolic gift that lasts forever."

Doug Ballam, NCC program manager for Newfoundland and Labrador, said the rush to find the perfect gift can be frustrating for many shoppers.

Still, most people want to make a difference and give gifts that are unique and memorable.

The NCC gifts of nature are a "meaningful way to conserve the beautiful wilderness in our own backyards, while saving time and resources and avoiding the malls," Ballam said.

Each gift is personalized in honour of the recipient, who will receive a certificate and colour calendar, including photos and information about NCC projects.

They'll also receive a letter from the NCC national president and CEO to inform them that a gift has been given in their name.

Holland said charitable tax receipts are issued to anyone who purchases these gifts and funds.

The NCC also has a policy that funds raised for wildlife or conservation projects in a particular region stay in that region.

"This is a way for people to make a difference," Holland said.

Anyone interested in purchasing a gift of nature can do it online on the NCC's website ( or by calling toll-free 1-800-465-0029 or 1-800-465-8005.

The NCC says a recent Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the organization found that seven out of 10 Canadians, or 70 per cent, agree that knowing someone has made a donation in their name in lieu of a holiday gift makes them feel good.

The NCC is the nation's leading non-profit land conservation organization, working to protect natural areas and the species they sustain.

Since 1962, it has helped to protect more than 890,300 hectares nationwide, including 4,942 hectares in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The NCC recently acquired what's called The Grassy Place, a remote valley of almost 1,600 hectares in the Long Range Mountains of southwestern Newfoundland.

It's also been fundraising and working in recent months on acquiring about 3.5 hectares of property in Maddox Cove, in an area known as the Fog Forest Natural Area near historic Cape Spear that actually contains a portion of the East Coast Trail.

In late November, the Hebron project made a financial contribution of almost $13,000 towards NCC's science-based conservation work in this area.

More information on the NCC, its projects and Gifts of Canadian Nature program can be found online at


Organizations: NCC, Canadian Nature, Ipsos Reid

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, George River British Columbia Tatlayoko Lake Valley Long Range Mountains Maddox Cove Fog Forest Natural Area Hebron

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