Percival River Nature Reserve - Stephen DesRoches

Percival River Nature Reserve

How can one place have so many car tires only a year after it was last cleaned up? This story is of a team of volunteers organized by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Covering an area of 160 hectares and located 40 kilometers west of Summerside in Prince Edward Island, is an untouched area of forests, salt marshes, and freshwater wetlands purchased by The Nature Conservancy of Canada in 2016  — and now  protected land from development.


The Percival River has been ignored from major agricultural due to low-lying swampy areas. These salt marshes feature one of the best and perhaps last examples of natural connectivity remaining in the province.


Home to muskrats and waterfowls, this area of spruce, aspen, birch, ash, and white cedar is an important refuge for migratory birds.

In recent years, I’ve been wanting to do more with my images and contribute to a greater purpose. Something with more meaning that would feel over and above the pretty scenic views of our beaches. As a result, I reached out to a few local organizations seeking ways to be more involved and assist in the maintenance of the areas I spend so much time photographing.

In late July 2019, I joined a small team of 9 and set out into the salt marsh with garbage bags and the determination to clean up what we could — and to visually document the process and challenges created by human activity.

In only a few hours on one Saturday morning, 10 tires, 2 bags of metal, 3 oyster cages, 2 bags of styrofoam, and a collection of rope, glass, fabric, and plastic were removed from the shoreline edges.


“Every year close to 3,000 people contribute their time and efforts to caring for nature through NCC Conservation Volunteers program.”


The Nature Conservancy of Canada has helped protect more than a million hectares of land in Canada and I will continue to make time to stay involved and help when and where I can.

For more images from this and other NCC events I have participated, visit my small collection of images I have at stephendesroches.com/NCC/

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