Nova Scotia Nature Trust | Nova Scotians Protecting Nova Scotia

Farley's Ark: The Farley and Claire Mowat Conservation Land













In September 2007 Farley Mowat, his wife Claire, and their friends and supporters gathered in St. Peter's, Cape Breton to share exciting news about one of Farley's favourite subjects-the environment. That day Farley Mowat and the Nature Trust jointly announced his donation of some 200 acres of his southwestern Cape Breton coastal property as "Forever Wild" conservation land.

Mowat, a passionate conservationist, an officer of the Order of Canada, and a world-renowned Canadian author, has long been an outspoken advocate for preserving and caring for our natural world. His new partnership with the Nature Trust is, in many ways, the next logical step in a life that has been deeply influenced by the struggle for environmental awareness and action.

Farley and Claire Mowat came to Cape Breton 30 years ago, searching for a new home. What they found is land that Mowat describes as sacred; as representing what he most wanted to find-a really viable sanctuary, where they could live simply, at peace with the birds and other animals, and where nature could be left to live undisturbed. It has been the Mowats' writing retreat and spiritual home ever since.

As Farley Mowat approached his 87th year, he worried about what would happen to the land he has so tenderly cared for and stewarded these many years. After much searching, Mowat found his answer in the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. He was thrilled to discover the close fit between the Nature Trust's passionate approach and conservation vision, and his own. By donating their land to the Nature Trust, the Mowats are providing a steward, and a future, for their land and creating a significant natural legacy for Nova Scotia.

Of all the places Farley Mowat has traveled, it is here in Nova Scotia that he chose to put down his roots. Seeing the land as a sacred oasis of life enables us to understand Mowat's enthusiasm for the land donation. "It is incumbent on every human being who has lived on this planet to make some kind of repayment for what he or she has received from nature. Leaving property to the Nature Trust helps fulfill this obligation. A need more and more people are becoming aware of" says Mowat.

The property is named "Farley's Ark" in reference to Mowat's mission of providing refuge and protection for all natural creatures, "the others" as he calls the non-human inhabitants of the earth. The site features extensive areas of undeveloped coastal habitats, coastal and upland forests, and a number of freshwater bogs and small wetlands. It includes two peninsulas, a lagoon, and a small bay frequented by many species of birds including eagles, ospreys and loons.

According to Bonnie Sutherland, Executive-Director of the Nature Trust, "beyond its significance for the diversity of coastal ecosystems this land preserves, the Mowats' generous donation represents an important victory for Nova Scotians in the struggle to keep our coastal habitats intact and unexploited, and our coastline accessible."

Farley Mowat: Patron to the Nature Trust's Campaign for the Coast

Not only have the Mowats set an inspiring example for private landowners across the province with this donation, Farley has stepped forward as an ambassador for the Nature Trust.

When asked about the significance of this support, Bonnie Sutherland commented: "Farley has probably spent more time contemplating, philosophizing about, writing about, and informing, engaging and inspiring others in relation to the natural world and our relationship to it than almost any other Canadian. The fact that he considers private land conservation, and the work of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, as so essential and urgent, is a tremendous re-affirmation for our efforts to protect Nova Scotia's most special and treasured places. We are honoured to be working with him."

Watch for the upcoming Land and Sea Documentary featuring Farley Mowat and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Please click here for a piece in the September 7, 2007 Chronicle Herald describing the event.You may also want to click here for a Chronicle Herald Feature, as part of our 2007 Summer Series in the Nova Scotian, for a more in-depth look.

Thank You to this Project's Major Supporters

The Nature Trust is very grateful to everyone who has helped make the conservation of this unique coastal haven a reality, particularly Farley and Claire Mowat, and the Board members of the Mowat Environmental Institute: Silver Donald Cameron, Elizabeth May, Ed Shreyer, and Paul Watson. Special thanks as well to all the volunteers who contributed to the public celebration and outreach for this project, and to Sandy, and Justin Mowat and Kim Huntley for their support.

This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada
Ce projet a été réalisé avec l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.
Fondation EJLB Foundation

Environment Canada's Ecological Gifts Program

The donation by Farley and Claire Mowat, is being made through the federal government's Ecological Gifts program, a federal tax incentive program recognizing private landowners working to protect Canada's natural heritage through nature conservation on their lands. Eco Gifts has supported the protection of a number of Nature Trust properties, and we thank them sincerely for their help.

Link to ecogifts webpage