The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing a new conservation site in Alberta.

Located near the hamlet of Winfield, in the county of Wetaskiwin, the 65-hectare (160-acre) property has been generously donated for conservation by the Brown family.

A memorial stone is being erected on the site — name the Winfield property — in memory of the former landowners, Aron and Lydia Brown, and for the pioneers of the Winfield area.

The Winfield property was purchased by Aron Brown in 1958 and has been in the family for two generations. It was Aron and Lydia’s son, Jack, who made the decision to donate the land to NCC so it could be conserved for the long term as a legacy to his parents.

The Winfield property consists of mixedwood forest, grassland and a wetland. These ecosystems provide habitat for the species that live in and move through the area. The primarily willow and alder forests provide cover and a food source for moose, porcupine and many bird species.

The project protects habitat for several Species at Risk Act-listed birds, including Sprague’s pipit (threatened), Canada warbler (threatened), short-eared owl (special concern) and loggerhead shrike prairie subspecies (threatened). Also found in this region are three amphibians of special concern: western tiger salamander, western toad and northern leopard frog.

Wetlands on the Winfield property support various waterfowl and amphibians, and provide ecological services, such as storing water and mitigating flooding in the surrounding community.

The property contains American larch trees, also known as tamarack, which are uncommon in this area. While this species appears like an evergreen in the summer, its needle-like leaves turn bright yellow before falling in the autumn.

Located near both Buck Lake and Pigeon Lake, the site is within 10 kilometres of two other NCC conservation projects, one Ducks Unlimited project and three Alberta Parks natural areas.

Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy of Canada
Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy of Canada