Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
In the past, conservation efforts have focussed on pristine wilderness areas and rural landscapes. Manitoba’s Conservation Trust is breaking new ground. It has opened the door to projects that will enhance natural habitats and connect people with nature in urban landscapes where most people live.
Save Our Seine received one of the first grants from the Conservation Trust to enhance Winnipeg’s Seine River Greenway. The $100,000 grant helped attract over $142,000 (so far) from other sources toward different aspects of our Signature Project that will be completed this year.
The project includes Winnipeg’s first accessible dock, which will be installed at John Bruce Park later this year. Just across the footbridge from John Bruce Park, the riverside trails are suffering from popularity. These trails will be enhanced to protect sensitive vegetation from damage. The trail south into Bois-des-Esprits leads to a scenic overlook where a small seating area will be created.
The trail north from the bridge leads to a clearing where 1,200 square metres of weedy sod is being transformed into native prairie. On the way, one of 10 new interpretive signs has already been installed. It will raise awareness of the Seine River for years to come. The land stewardship and education team has just started another busy season of removing invasive species and planting wildflowers along the Greenway.
All of this work was made possible by Conservation Trust and other generous sponsors who provided matching contributions — The Winnipeg Foundation, Thomas Sill Foundation, Blennerrhassett Family Foundation, Mountain Equipment Co-op, city councillor Brian Mayes (St. Vital), and Building Sustainable Communities.
In 2018, the province had the foresight and political will to create the Conservation Trust to generate money for conservation projects like this in perpetuity. The original endowment of $102 million has grown to $204 million in three different trusts. Managed by The Winnipeg Foundation, they are expected to generate $10 million every year. The annual revenue is distributed to eligible organizations by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) through a grant application process.
"This funding model is the envy of other jurisdictions across Canada — and beyond," said Gerald Ouellette, MHHC business manager.
I agree. Now, who can we talk to about creating a similar endowment fund to provide stable operating grants for Winnipeg charities? Let’s see, a $200 million endowment, generating $10 million per year . . . would provide annual operating grants of $50,000 to 200 charities, forever. Now that’s sustainability.
Michele Kading is a community correspondent for St. Vital and the executive director of Save Our Seine.
St. Vital community correspondent
Michele Kading is a community correspondent for St. Vital.
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