Today’s note will be a little different than usual. On Friday June 10th 2022, I attended the first annual fundraiser organized by Nature Hudson, at the town hall in Hudson and I thought I would share some observations with you on how it went.
Some of you may have heard of the struggle in Hudson to save Sandy Beach from a private developer there. Sandy Beach is an amazing spot that has been used for centuries as a place to chill, on the Ottawa River just upstream from Montreal, by First Peoples originally and since Hudson began, by its residents. Sandy Beach is literally a few minutes walk through a fabulous quiet forest just behind the Community Hall. It is at the belly button of the town, if a town can have a belly button. But now, a real estate developer wants to destroy that forest to build some homes. The townspeople have risen up to say: no!
That Friday night, the town hall was filled with residents (and four city councillors) to watch the premier of a remarkable 15 minute documentary on the struggle to save Sandy Beach. This video, the production of two student interns, presents a portrait of the 3 key ingredients to win a local struggle to protect green space. First, you need an organized core group of citizens (3-5 should do it, with the support of many more of course!). Second, you need good science. You need to demonstrate the inherent value of the piece of land to species that use it, including us humans, in its natural state. Finally, you need to examine the legal aspects. What legal tools and protections are in place and how can these be mobilized to protect this little corner of paradise?
These last two things, scientific work (such as biodiversity studies or archeological work) and legal analysis, cost money to do them properly, and that is where the Legacy Fund for the Environment can play a role. Nothing, absolutely nothing can happen however without a core group of engaged citizens that are willing to take a lead and the first steps to save the land. At the board of the Legacy Fund, we are constantly scanning the horizon for citizens’ groups mobilizing to protect some land, prevent forest destruction or take ecological action. If you hear of one, don’t hesitate to drop us a line and let us know. We will follow up with our standard letter of introduction.
That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.
Jason Prince, board member, Legacy Fund for the Environment
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