Acts of Kindness
Grandpa spends many years buying island only to selflessly give it away
The beautiful island was finally all his - but he decided it should be in better hands.
D.G. Sciortino
11.30.22

It took him decades. But Andrew Howick finally bought his own beautiful lush green island.

Then, he gave it away.

In total, Howick purchased about 26 hectares of land on Molson island in Lac Memphrémagog, a freshwater glacial lake between the U.S. and Canada.

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

That’s equivalent to about 24 soccer fields.

All that land will now be under the stewardship of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“I was very anxious to make a gesture for conservation and for climate change and something that my children and grandchildren would be proud of,” Howick said.

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Howick says he takes “great pleasure” in the knowledge that the land will be kept in its natural state.

Howick actually had the option of selling the land but refused to do so because he was afraid of the new would develop it.

He said he spent many sleepless nights thinking about what any potential future owner might do with the land 10, 20, or even 30 years out.

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

So, he ultimately decided to donate the land to the conservancy. Now he says he doesn’t have to worry.

Howick donated the land as a part of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.

It offers tax benefits to individuals and corporations who donate ecologically sensitive land so that it is reserved for conservation.

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

The island will remain a free undisturbed land where biodiversity can flourish.

Apparently, the Northern Green Mountains are one of the last areas in southern Quebec where the land is undeveloped.

It’s referred to as a “gem of biodiversity,” where you’d find brightly colored aquatic birds, rare species of orchids that paint the forest floor white, and ferns that can’t be found anywhere else except on the island.

“Environments like Molson Island are becoming increasingly rare in Quebec,” Environment Minister Benoit Charette said.

“I am pleased that Mr. Howick, a private landowner, sees the urgency of taking action to protect his island and is turning to NCC to help him in his efforts.”

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Howick’s love for Molson Island started in the 1980s. He and his family admired the view from their cottage.

When he and his neighbors found out the land was being considered for development, they took action.

They reached out to the Molson family’s descendants and bought all of their shares of the island.

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Howick eventually purchased all of the shares from his neighbors to take sole ownership of the island.

Howick says he hopes that his story will draw more attention to the need for land conservation.

“I hope that this gesture might serve as inspiration for people to give,” Howick said in an interview with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“If they have time to give, to volunteer, if they have a few dollars, to donate, or if they have a property, whatever is within their means.”

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Some said that they should rename the island after Howick.

This may incentivize more wealthy people to do something similar.

But that would also be really tacky.

YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Nature Conservancy of Canada

And Howick wasn’t in it for the recognition. He was in it to save the land.

Learn more about Howick’s generous donation in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By D.G. Sciortino
[email protected]
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at [email protected].
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