On March 31, ACRE Directors Olaf Jensen and Bronwyn Rayfield signed the deed completing the transfer of the property known as the Hundred Acre Wood in La Pêche. Instead of being developed for housing, this property will now be protected for conservation, while allowing local residents to connect with nature. The conservation of this beautiful property is the result of an enormous effort by local residents, and partners, working through ACRE to protect the property.
The forest is a key part of the North-East Ecological Corridor identified by Gatineau Park. The role of the corridors is to keep the Park connected to the regional landscape, so it does not become an island cut off by development. ACRE’s conservation priority is to acquire properties in these corridors to support Gatineau Park.
Conservation is a team sport and there are so many people and partners who contributed to this success. We would like to make a special mention of the Leacross Foundation and their CEO, Ms. Roslyn Bern. Her early support for the project was instrumental in creating momentum for the project and her personal connection to the land is well appreciated.
The people of Wakefield and Chelsea provided massive individual support for this project. The individual fund-raising efforts by individuals, community groups and kids are heartwarming and demonstrate a love for the land and their home place. Laurie Gough should be mentioned for her heroic and very, very fun online auction which included a kid who raised money for this project by auctioning a "pie a month". Brenda Labelle raised money by getting her wedding guests to make their wedding gifts a financial contribution to the Hundred Acre Wood. Amazing. And we can't forget Valerie Brown who asked that donations be made to ACRE after her passing... friends and family made a number of heartfelt contributions to the Hundred Acre Wood in memory of Valerie.
The fundraising team in Wakefield has been great: Patricia Hardie, Anne van Dusen, Britta Nielson, and Jocelyn Turner. No doubt we are missing some names in these lists, and we apologize for that. The names and stories are illustrative of the great community efforts that blossomed to make this happen. We also need to thank the Municipality of La Pêche for being an early promoter of the project and we extend special thanks to Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux who was the first person to personally pledge to the project.
Gatineau Park (the National Capital Commission) was extremely supportive of this project and we are grateful to Stephane Wojciechowski and Catherine Verreault for their efforts.
There were also critically important government sponsors of the project. ACRE gratefully acknowledges the support of Parks Canada Agency, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Quebec’s Fondation de la Faune, the National Capital Commission, and the Municipality of La Pêche. This project was also made possible thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Partenariat pour les milieux naturels project for which Quebec’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change accorded a grant to the NCC.
ACRE is also grateful to Christopher Minnes and the Minnes Corporation for their Ecological Gift and being strong and willing partners in this project.