About Us

About Us

The Kespukwitk Conservation Collaborative (KCC) is a partnership of Mi’kmaq First Nations, Indigenous organizations, non-government organizations, academic institutions, and federal and provincial government departments. We work to improve species at risk and biodiversity conservation in Kespukwitk (Southwest Nova Scotia) through collaborative research, sharing of knowledge and on-the ground actions.

The Kespukwitk Conservation Collaborative was established in 2017 in response to increasing recognition of the need for new, innovative approaches that integrate conservation needs for multiple species within an ecosystem-based, adaptive management framework. The approach is strengthened through Etuapmumk, or Two-Eyed Seeing, and acknowledges the benefits of both the Mi’kmaw concept of Netukulimk, and a mainstream science perspective to integrate conservation actions within Kespukwitk.

Concept art by Ed Benham, a local Mi’kmaq artist and member of Acadia First Nation.

Our Member Organizations

For over a decade, Kespukwitk Conservation Collaborative partner organizations have been working collaboratively on conservation efforts in Kespukwitk. With such a wide array of ecosystems, species and threats, there is a place for each organization’s specific skills and expertise. These organizations are united by a common goal — implementing best environmental stewardship practices and ensuring the health and well-being of the unique Kespukwitk environment.

What is a Priority Place?

Canada’s biodiversity is a cornerstone of our way of life. As human impact on the planet grows, more habitat is lost and more species are at risk of extinction. We need to take innovative action to protect and recover the animals, plants, and places we love. Focusing our effort in specific locations with high biodiversity and concentrations of species at risk helps conserve habitat that benefits many species at the same time. It also allows us to bring together partners with common goals to improve collaboration and coordination. Through partnership, we are working to achieve sustainable protection and recovery of species at risk.

There are 11 priority places identified under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. This new approach shifts from a single-species approach to conservation to one that focuses on multiple species and ecosystems. We are concentrating our conservation efforts on priority places, species, sectors and threats across Canada. The priority places selected have significant biodiversity, high concentrations of species at risk, and opportunities to advance conservation efforts (learn more about priority places for species at risk).

Within the priority places, conservation actions are supported by multiple federal, provincial, and municipal government and non-government partners and stakeholders, including contributions under the Canada Nature Fund.

Kespukwitk/Southwest Nova Scotia Priority Place

Kespukwitk/Southwest Nova Scotia has long been recognized for its high biodiversity value, including concentrations of species at risk. Given these values, it was identified as one of the 11 Priority Places across Canada under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada.

The Kespuwktik/Southwest Nova Scotia region was designated as the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve in 2001 based on its biodiversity and cultural value (learn more about the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve).

Kespukwitk, meaning ‘land ends’, or ‘end of flow’, is one of the seven districts within Mi’kma’ki, the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq, and is subject to the historic Peace and Friendship Treaties (1760-61). Kespukwitk is the Mi’kmaq district that closely aligns with the Kespukwitk/Southwest Nova Scotia Priority Place. There are two Mi’kmaq First Nations in Kespukwitk: Acadia First Nation and Bear River First Nation. 

The Kespukwitk/Southwest Nova Scotia Priority Place encompasses many diverse ecosystems and habitats, including rugged coast, protected bays, coastal islands, lakes, rivers, wetlands, fertile valleys, and stretches of Acadian Forest, including some of Nova Scotia’s largest remaining intact forests. These large areas of forest are important for the conservation of a wide range of plant and animal species. For example, Kespukwitk is home to a great biodiversity of amphibian and reptile species including Blanding’s Turtle and Eastern Ribbonsnake. Kespukwitk contains 12 of the 14 existing Key Biodiversity Areas in Nova Scotia which are globally unique areas that support critical wildlife populations. In fact, an astounding 94% of terrestrial species at risk in Nova Scotia can be found in Kespukwitk (learn more about species at risk in Nova Scotia)!

Kespukwitk is surrounded by approximately 2,813 km of coastline, with the Bay of Fundy to the North, the Gulf of Maine to the West, and the Atlantic Ocean to the South. The rich coastal ecosystems of Kespukwitk offer excellent habitat for migratory birds. In the coastal zone there are four Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and a National Wildlife Area, as well as eight Important Bird Areas, some of which are of global significance as breeding, staging, and over-wintering areas for many shorebirds, marsh birds, and waterfowl. There are 97 priority bird species from the Bird Conservation Region Strategies in this Priority Place.

Mission, Vision & Guiding Principles

Our vision is a healthy, resilient, and diverse landscape in Kespukwitk where interconnected ecosystems, habitats, species, and engaged communities thrive.

Our mission is to pursue our vision for Kespukwitk using a collaborative, two-eyed seeing approach and coordinated, strategic actions grounded in trust and inclusiveness.