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2014 Conservation Award, non-member - Cathy and Paul Keddy

This award is given in recognition of an outstanding contribution by a non-member in the cause of natural history conservation in the Ottawa Valley, with particular emphasis on activities within the Ottawa District.

This year the award goes to long-time Ottawa Valley naturalists Paul and Cathy Keddy in recognition of their outstanding contribution to land conservation in Lanark County. In 2014, they donated a portion of their 250-hectare property to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) and entered into a formal 999-year agreement to protect the remainder in perpetuity. Called the Keddy Nature Sanctuary, it is a magnificent forest and wetland landscape on the Canadian Shield, located approximately 45 kilometres west of Ottawa.

Over the past four decades, Paul and Cathy have put their money where their hearts and minds were, incrementally buying tracts of this richly diverse land to protect it in a natural state for all the wild species that live there. They purchased their first parcel of forest in the 1970s while they were students at Dalhousie University; then added to it as contiguous properties became available, amassing a tract of ecologically valuable land. There is a wide variety of representative and rare features including both regionally and nationally rare species. Nearly 60 hectares of the property has been designated as a Provincially Significant Wetland Complex.

The Keddys were determined that their "square mile of forest and swamp" remain in a natural state in perpetuity, that future owners not be able to log the 120 year old oaks or develop the land. They partnered with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT), donating a portion of their property, and protecting the rest through a long-term conservation easement that restricts any future development. While the Keddys will continue to live on their property, when it eventually passes to future owners the easement will continue to protect the property, as the easement is legally placed on the property title, to be monitored by the Land Trust. In this way, Paul and Cathy have ensured the permanent protection of that landscape and the ecological functions which sustain it.

This is only the most recent in a long list of ecologically-based undertakings in and about the Ottawa Valley initiated by the Keddys. During lengthy careers as prominent professional biologists, they have conducted numerous investigations that have clarified, explored and documented important natural landscapes and features. These have led to significant conservation achievements both locally and beyond.

This latest positive conservation action by Cathy and Paul Keddy is an inspiration to other field naturalists and conservationists.

The OFNC is honoured to present Paul and Cathy Keddy with its Conservation Award for a non-member.

Prepared by Eleanor Zurbrigg, based on material from Dan Brunton and the website of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (accessed February 2015).

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