Holding the line for nature

Just a stone’s throw from rusting out vehicles and heaps of metal scrap in St. John’s, Lundrigan’s Marsh is a wetland haven where eagles soar overhead and pintail, blue-winged teal and mallard ducks lazily swim through the cattails. More than 72 species have been reported by local birders in this important wetland habitat that has been underappreciated and forgotten – until now.

Bald eagle soars over the Lundrigan’s Marsh wetland (c) WWF-Canada/David Hiscock

The sight of garbage being blown along the roadways and water’s edge from the Robinhood Bay landfill brought volunteers out to hold the line for nature. I was lucky enough to join them in a community clean-up led by Northeast Avalon ACAP (NAACAP), which is working to revitalize Lundrigan’s Marsh.
A sapling planted along the border of Lundrigan’s Marsh (c) WWF-Canada/David Hiscock

With the help of a WWF Go Wild Community Grant, presented by TELUS, NAACAP brought together residents and employees of nearby businesses to help clean up plastic bottles, bags and tires that threaten Lundrigan’s fish and birds, and to re-wild the boundary by planting native flowers and saplings, shielding the marsh from the development that surrounds it.
(c) David Hiscock / WWF-Canada

Members of the community, armed with garbage bags, gloves and shovels, collected as many as 40 bags of garbage within the first hour and a half. The way volunteer Karen Holden sees it, we all have a responsibility to help preserve natural spaces and keep our neighbourhoods clean. “If we don’t have a role to play, if we don’t help, who will help? And we all benefit from it.” I couldn’t agree more.
A bald eagle flies along the border of the wetland and nearby junkyard. (c) WWF-Canada/David Hiscock

Lundrigan’s Marsh is an ecological gem: It’s the largest cattail marsh in eastern Newfoundland. Despite its proximity to industrial activity, it’s a vital and vibrant ecosystem that helps filter water, regulate water levels, store carbon and reduce flooding in the Southern Newfoundland Watershed, where threats from pollution are high. Protecting our wetlands is important to protecting the future health of the environment.
Steph Nicholl, WWF’s community engagement specialist, helps create a pollinator garden at Lundrigan’s Marsh. (c) WWF-Canada/David Hiscock.

The new native plants will provide nectar for pollinators and improve the diversity of marsh plants, ensuring this important ecosystem continues to offer much-needed sanctuary to wildlife – and people.
Sarah Crocker, project co-ordinator at NAACAP, says she hopes revitalizing Lundrigan’s Marsh and lookout will make this a place people want to visit. What’s more, she said, she hopes through these individual actions, people might deepen their commitment to our wetlands and wildlife and take action in their own lives.

Be a Wildlifer

I invite you to be a Wildlifer and find out what you can do to help wildlife near you. When enough of us are on the ground, doing our part to help nature thrive, we can give wildlife a fighting chance.

A group of Wildlifers celebrate the revitalization of the marsh. (c) WWF-Canada /David Hiscock

In partnership with TELUS, WWF-Canada’s Go Wild Community Grants support creative ideas from Canadians on how to protect, restore, monitor, educate and celebrate nature. Stay tuned for your chance to Go Wild this fall.