Canadian conservation program finds inspiration in Chile’s natural parks

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust program is connecting conservation efforts around the world with a creative approach

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust initiative is expanding the idea of fundraising “to the ends of the earth,” taking outdoor aficionados to Patagonia as part of a campaign to protect natural areas in Canada.
The travelers will visit protected natural sites around the world, beginning in the stunningly beautiful park of Las Torres del Paine in Chile, a UNESCO biosphere. The program aims to inspire travelers to understand the importance of protecting nature by seeing other protected sites.
“There are people who love the outdoors and love exploring,” Bonnie Sutherland, executive director of the trust, told the Herald News. “But they haven’t necessarily made that connection to why we need to protect nature in our own backyard.”
The goal is to raise US$48,000 (CLP$24 million), which will be dedicated to conservation efforts in Canada. For the first trip in February, the Expedition for the Earth, each participant will pay about US$2,600 (CLP$1.3 million) to cover their expenses in Chile on top of having to raise another US$2,400 (CLP$1.2 million) for the Nature Trust.
The trek in Torres del Paine will be guided by a well known travel company, Berg Adventures International.
Wally Berg, the company’s founder, told Herald News that he was sure the adventurers headed to the region next year would come back with a deep commitment to protecting wilderness in their homeland.
“Patagonia . . . stirs in me a lot of passion for proper use of public lands as well as our collective use of private lands,” said Berg. “It broadens our horizons and opens our eyes.”
The Torres del Paine National Park harbors mountains, a glacier, a lake and river-rich areas with the Cordillera del Paine standing it in the middle of it all. It lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes.
According to UNESCO, the site is designed and managed as a National Park and has no permanent inhabitants. More than 20,000 national and 40,000 international tourists visit the site every year and both national and international researchers are often involved in research projects.
Lands cleared in the past for rearing domestic stock are currently being restored. Research on the reintroduction of South Andean Deer is being carried out, as well as research on the population structure and ecological impact of the introduced European hare.
These are just part of the reasons why Torres del Paine is a particularly inspiring spot, and hopefully one that will help shape future conservation efforts.