Inglis-area residents Clare Moster, right, and his wife Shirley, who have donated a quarter section of native Prairie land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, take part in a recent ceremony, along with Ken Mould, third from right, and Kevin Teneycke, representing the conservation group, to unveil a sign that will be erected on the land. (BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)
Meadow blazing star grows on land, near Inglis, that has been donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. (BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)
Purple prairie clover grows on land near Inglis that the Mosters donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
(BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)
INGLIS — A precious and unique gift of ecologically sensitive land near Inglis will help to conserve habitat, while leaving a legacy for future generations.
Clare and Shirley Moster have donated a quarter section of native Prairie to the Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Ecological Gifts Program.
"This property has provided many boyhood memories for me," Clare Moster said during a recent dedication ceremony held at the property. "I recall times in my childhood when our family would come out here to pick berries and include a picnic lunch."
"We have always been both lovers and avid users of the natural outdoors. Whether it was through the many backwoods camping, hiking and canoeing trip we have done or simply riding horseback. We have always appreciated the marvels of Mother Nature."
The Moster property is one of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s priority habitats in the Riding Mountain Aspen Parkland, according to Ken Mould, vice-chair of NCC’s Manitoba board of directors.
NCC focuses its work in key geographic areas to protect habitat that is critical for species at risk.
These native grasslands support the Spragues’ pipit, chestnut collared longspur and other songbirds, Mould said. This donated property has never been cultivated and remains in a natural state.
A private non-profit organization working for the protection of natural habitat in Canada, the Nature Conservancy has protected more than two million acres of ecologically significant land for the benefit of future generations.
Clare and Shirley Moster donated their land under the Ecological Gifts Program, an Environment Canada Program used to assist with the donation of ecologically sensitive land, according to Ron Bazin, an Environment Canada Wildlife biologist.
In return, the Mosters receive ecological gift income tax benefits based on the fair market value of the land. The Moster donation is only the third such Ecological Gift donation in Manitoba.
The north half of this section was first purchased by Clare’s grandfather back in 1950 and passed down to Clare’s father Harold Moster and then to Clare in 2000.
"So this land has been in the Moster Family for over 60 years," said Clare. "It has always been used for pasture, and to my knowledge, this quarter section has never been cultivated."
The Mosters also own an adjoining quarter section of land that is currently rented to a local farmer for cattle pasture. The same farmer also owns the other half of the section. He plans to continue managing the entire section utilizing a sustainable form of rotational grazing.
The decision to donate the property did not happen overnight. While doing some estate planning nearly a decade ago, the Mosters decided to leave a part of their estate to an organization that was involved in the protection of natural habitat. After researching the objectives and accomplishments of NCC, they decided that the agency would be a nice fit.
"This is good quality habitat," said Dan Chranowski, a Manitoba Conservation wildlife manager.
It is located along the Riding Mountain-Assiniboine River pathway that is a travel corridor for wildlife movement between the Riding Mountain area and Duck Mountains.
"My grandfather and father were avid hunters and fishermen, as well as lovers of nature," said Clare. "So it is only fitting to have this property protected in perpetuity as natural habitat, while recognizing our family’s historical connection to the land."
If you would like more information about conservation agreements or any of the Nature Conservancy of Canada programs, call the Manitoba Region’s toll-free number: 1-866-683-6934, its Brandon office: 204-725-5969 or visit the NCC website, natureconservancy.ca/mb.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 28, 2012