Mike Dembeck

Nova Scotia

Number of projects: 11

Land value: Land value is the appraised value of land that NCC has conserved directly and with partners. $1,300,650

Acres conserved: 1,315

Stewardship volunteers: 154

Remembering Dr. Bill Freedman

Mike Dembeck

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) dedicated one of its key conservation areas to honour a Halifax man and long-time NCC volunteer. The 372 acres (151 hectares) at Prospect High Head will now be known as the Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve.

Dr. Bill Freedman (known as “Dr. Bill” to many) passed away from an aggressive form of cancer in September 2015. He left behind his wife, George-Anne Merrill, children, Jonathan and Rachael, and grandchild, Luthien.

Before his passing, Dr. Bill retired as an ecologist and former Chair of the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, where he continued to serve as professor emeritus. He also volunteered for more than 25 years with NCC. Dr. Bill served as National Board Chair from 2008 to 2009 and also as Atlantic Board Chair.  

In 2012, Dr. Bill authored a book on the 50-year history of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

NCC protected Prospect High Head for its important coastal barrens and coastal forest. The coastline at Prospect High Head is used by a variety of sea ducks, including harlequin duck, black scoter and long-tailed duck. 

NCC also announced a Science-In-Conservation Internship in Freedman’s name, to be awarded annually to a student at Dalhousie University. A respected professor and academic, Freedman authored more than 100 refereed scientific papers and publications.

We protected 600 rare northern white cedar trees in one of the largest stands of this species at risk found in Nova Scotia.


Important Nova Scotia coastal habitat for waterfowl and rare plants now conserved


As part of National Wildlife Week, NCC announced the acquisition of a 50-acre (20-hectare) site on Roberts Island, located on the west side of Lobster Bay in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia.

The property contains critical salt marsh, used year-round by black ducks and seasonally by long-tailed ducks and green-winged teals. 

The salt marsh is also home to the eastern baccharis (groundsel tree), a rare plant in the group of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora. Lobster Bay is the only place in Canada where eastern baccharis is found. There are 20-30 of these plants on the property, out of a total Canadian population of approximately 3,000 plants.

In addition to ecologically productive salt marshes, the site also includes coastal forest, with black and white spruce and balsam fir trees.

This conservation project was supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Nova Scotia Fisherman company, along with other local donors and supporters.

A portion of this project was donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.

At-risk eastern white cedar and black ash trees protected

Alain Belliveau

To celebrate Earth Day, NCC announced it had received a generous donation of forest land in northern Nova Scotia containing eastern white cedar and black ash trees  two species at risk in the province.

This cedar forest is one of the largest stands in the province and one of only a handful in northern Nova Scotia. 

Bonnyman & Byers Ltd., a family-owned Nova Scotian forest management company, donated 412 acres (167 hectares) near the Pugwash River in Cumberland County. The property boasts a stand of more than 600 eastern white cedars.

Cedar is a naturally rare species in Nova Scotia that has been made even rarer due to human activities. Eastern white cedar is listed as vulnerable under the province’s Endangered Species Act

The property also features a small stand of black ash trees; a species listed as threatened under Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act. The property may be added to the Docherty’s Brook Nature Reserve, newly designated under the province’s Parks and Protected Areas Plan.

The donation was completed under the federal government’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for donations of ecologically significant land.

In addition to the generous donation of land, this conservation project was supported with funding from the Government of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation Program, TD Bank Group under the TD Forests Program, Nova Scotia Fisherman and the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust.