In recognition of Canadian outdoorspeople who have demonstrated an active commitment to conservation
Lawrencetown is a small village of 650 residents nestled in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Like other small communities in the region, it boasts a healthy serving of rural Maritimes charm. It also home to the Nova Scotia Community College Centre for Geographic Studies.
When it comes to local achievement, however, Lawrencetown also has a remarkable capacity to punch above its weight. It first demonstrated this when it entered CBC’s Hockeyville 2010 competition as a dark-horse candidate and emerged not only as a finalist but also as sentimental favourite across the country. This year, it added to its list of achievements by becoming Canada’s first CWF-certified Backyard Habitat Community. For that honour, you can thank Diana Ackroyd.
The story begins in 2009 when Ackroyd applied to have her garden certified under CWF’s Backyard Habitat program, which promotes the creation of wildlife-friendly sanctuaries on private property by nurturing native plants, maintaining food and shelter for wildlife and adopting sustainable gardening practices. After receiving her own designation, she asked CWF if it had a program for entire communities. The idea had never occurred to the organization, but it liked the concept. After some discussion, CWF determined that if 30 per cent of the properties in a community met the standards for backyard-habitat certification, the whole community itself would be certified.
Ackroyd took up the challenge. Working with village officials, she determined that Lawrencetown would need to get 90 properties certified to qualify for community status. She arranged to have certification forms sent out with water bills and followed with tireless efforts to document Lawrencetown’s progress. She visited numerous properties to document plants, take photographs and draw up property diagrams to support individual certifications.
Her efforts paid off in January of this year, when CWF officials travelled to Lawrencetown to make an official declaration of its Backyard Habitat Community status. Since then, the accolades have continued to flow, including a resolution in the provincial legislature congratulating Lawrencetown in general — and Ackroyd in particular — for the efforts to promote and conserve wildlife.