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$35,000 donation to help fund development of native plant conservation and medicinal healing garden, interpretive walking trail

COOKVILLE, NB, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Today marks the beginning of an exciting new initiative by the Atlantic Wildlife Institute (AWI), who in a ceremony this morning unveiled its new "Restoring Balance" project. In partnership with TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Westmorland Institution, and developed with the Aboriginal community in New Brunswick, Restoring Balance includes a number of new initiatives at the AWI Learning Centre in Cookville designed to connect the community with the nature that surrounds it.

Informed by traditional Aboriginal knowledge and the science of plant ecology, the Restoring Balance project focuses on the preservation and study of native and medicinal plants, while offering Aboriginal peoples the opportunity to connect with their traditions through garden work and engagement with elders. Inmates at the Westmorland Institution will tend to the gardens and nursery. Through this project, they will have an opportunity to restore balance in their own lives by reconnecting with the wisdom of their ancestors.

"Restoring Balance is an exciting new extension of our ongoing commitment to wildlife rehabilitation as a means of exploring the links between ecosystem health and human well-being" says Pam Novak, Co-Founder, Atlantic Wildlife Institute. "With support from TD Friends of the Environment and the Westmorland Institution, we're now extending our focus to the world of plants and the wisdom of healing."

"The Restoring Balance project is a wonderful example of what dedicated individuals can do to rejuvenate and restore areas that are important to local communities," says Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. "We are a proud supporter of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute and of initiatives like Restoring Balance that link environmental initiatives with cultural traditions and education."

Thanks to a $35,000 donation from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Restoring Balance will incorporate a number of exciting initiatives, including:

  • Native Plant Conservation and Medicinal Healing Garden: Adjacent to the AWI Learning Centre in Cookville, the garden will provide a showcase for preservation and study of the many native plant species onsite that are currently classified as sensitive or at risk.
  • Demonstration of the Use of Native Plants in Landscaping: The project will grow to include a Native Plant and Tree Nursery, designed to propagate and distribute specimens of native plants for use in landscaping and habitat restoration.
  • Interpretive Walking Trail and Signage: Along with the garden, a self-guided trail through varied plant habitats (including meadows, wetlands, stream banks, ponds and a woodlot) will be restored, demonstrating the diversity of New Brunswick's Acadian Forest.

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The project is already receiving accolades in the province.

"Initiatives like Restoring Balance help to provide our community with new understanding of the environment around us, one that's filled with rich tradition and beauty," said the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Member of Parliament for Beausejour. "We hope that the people of New Brunswick, and Canada as a whole, will take advantage of this opportunity, which we are fortunate to have, here in our own backyard."

For more information on the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, please visit For more information on TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, please visit

About the Atlantic Wildlife Institute

The Atlantic Wildlife Institute (AWI) was founded in 1996 as a nationally registered, charitable, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife that has been displaced as a result of human encroachment on natural ecosystems. AWI is located on a 120 acre site of mixed forests, open fields and wetlands overlooking the Tantramar River, about 15 kilometres outside of Sackville, in southeastern New Brunswick.

Site infrastructure includes a wildlife learning centre, animal care buildings, a one-hundred foot flight aviary, an aquatic animal treatment building, large mammal enclosures and various educational areas. Over the years, AWI has handled over 4,000 rescue and rehabilitation cases, representing more than 100 species of birds and mammals. In addition, staff have provided consultation and advice in more than 20,000 wildlife emergency situations.

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation:

Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $57 million in funding to more than 20,000 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada. In 2011, TD FEF provided more than $3.6 million in support of 1,058 projects. Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit

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