CookedPhotography Sobey family 1Left to right: Peter Enman, Emma Enman, Marsha Sobey, Paul Sobey, Janis Sobey Hames, David Sobey, Lisa Hames, Chris Hames, Joanne Hames, Michael Brown, Jacquie Sobey. Photo Credit: Jenn Nauss of Cooked Photography.

Land conservation in the province has received a huge boost from the Sobey family, with a $1 million donation toward the Nova Scotia Nature Trust’s campaign.

Announced in September 2020, the Twice the Wild campaign aims to double the amount of land the Nature Trust protects and stewards across the province, bringing its conservation lands from 15,000 to 30,000 acres. The conservation campaign was launched in response to the need for urgent action to stem alarming biodiversity loss and to provide nature-based solutions to climate change. To make these major land conservation gains possible, the Nature Trust launched a four-million-dollar public fundraising campaign in September 2020.

“The Sobey family’s gift is game-changing for land conservation in Nova Scotia. It brings the campaign target within sight, and means we can move even more quickly in saving Nova Scotia’s most significant and threatened natural areas,” says Bonnie Sutherland, executive director of the Nature Trust.

The David and Faye Sobey Foundation have committed $900,000 toward the campaign. Paul and Marsha Sobey have contributed an additional $100,000 to bring the total family gift to $1 million.

The Sobeys’ past contributions and commitment to conservation led to the family being honoured with the Nature Trust’s Conservation Award in 2018.

“The Sobeys’ million-dollar campaign gift actually builds on an already long and impressive history of conservation and philanthropic leadership with the Nature Trust. We are so grateful for all that the family has done for the Nature Trust and for nature conservation in Nova Scotia,” Sutherland noted. 

David Sobey was already a lifelong supporter of salmon conservation efforts on Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River when he first connected with the Nature Trust more than 20 years ago. Sobey helped plant the seeds that launched the Nature Trust’s St. Mary’s River Legacy Campaign with funding support through the David and Faye Sobey Foundation. The Foundation supported major land acquisitions as the campaign evolved over the next several years.

As their commitment grew, David and Faye moved beyond financial support. In 2017, they entrusted 30 acres of land at Mitchell’s Pool to the care and stewardship of the Nature Trust. Inspired by his parents’ commitment, Paul and Marsha Sobey donated their family lands on the river as well in 2018, adding 230 acres at Cochrane Hill.

The Sobey family’s support opened the door to even more river conservation, inspiring other nearby landowners to donate or sell their lands—significant lands that had long been on the Nature Trust’s wish list for protection. 

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