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160-acre property near Edmonton donated for the conservation of migratory birds, wildlife

The Wilson Nature Preserve. (Sean Feagan/NCC) The Wilson Nature Preserve. (Sean Feagan/NCC)
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A large property southwest of Edmonton has been donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to aid with wildlife conservation.

The NCC is a non-profit organization that aims to protect land and by extension, plants and wildlife.

The 160-acre property contains "extensive boreal mixedwood forests," which serve as "critical" habitats for migratory birds in North America, according to the NCC.

"Serving as vital breeding grounds, these forests nurture countless songbirds each year, with some migratory species journeying to them from as far as South America," said the NCC in a news release.

"Beyond its significance for bird populations, this nature preserve provides refuge for various other species, including mammals such as black bear, moose and white-tailed deer, as well as reptiles and amphibians."

Two of the species that have been found in the donated land are the western toad and the common garter snake, which are classified as sensitive in Alberta.

A yellow-rumped warbler. (Sean Feagan/NCC)

The land was donated to the NCC in memory of Thomas S. and Mary Wilson, who acquired the property in 1965.

"My mom and dad really loved this property. They walked around it and enjoyed looking at all the plants and wildlife living there," said Tom Wilson. "Both my parents would be very pleased to know NCC will be taking care of this place that was so special to them."

"The Wilson’s generous gift reminds us that conservation is a shared responsibility – one that requires commitment, dedication and a deep love for the land," said Tom Lynch-Staunton, the regional vice-president of the NCC.

"As the new stewards of this property, we're honored to carry forward their vision of conserving it for generations to come."

The land, dubbed the Wilson Nature Preserve, is also zoned in Wetaskiwin County as a Watershed Protection District. Streams and vegetation on the property help with flood mitigation and protecting water quality, according to the NCC.

Environment and Climate Change Canada also provided money for the conservation project through the National Heritage Conservation Program.

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