Nova Scotia Nature Trust

81 Prince Albert Road
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 1M1
Executive Director: Bonnie Sutherland
Board Chair: Rick Emberley

Charitable Reg. #:88962 7691 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 93 cents are available for programs.

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About Nova Scotia Nature Trust:

Founded in 1994, Nova Scotia Nature Trust (NSNT) works to conserve natural land across Nova Scotia, with a special focus on coastal habitats and old forests. The charity states that natural areas are particularly at risk in Nova Scotia, where 65% of land and 85% of coastal regions are privately-owned. Compared to the rest of Canada, where 90% of land is held publicly, NSNT states that Nova Scotia has the highest rates of private land ownership.

Nova Scotia Nature Trust runs three main programs: Land Conservation, Education and Outreach, and Land Stewardship.

Land Conservation represented 88% of program spending in F2019. NSNT protects land in one of three ways. It offers Stewardship Agreements, which are informal arrangements that allow landowners to retain ownership while helping NSNT monitor their land. Nova Scotia Nature Trust also signs legal Conservation Agreements, which retain private ownership but grant more extensive rights and land access to the charity. Finally, NSNT offers Land Acquisition options that transfer land to the charity through donations, bequests, or sales. As of F2019, the charity reports that it now holds 114 conservation lands, spanning 14,600 acres. A total of 19 new conservation lands were added during the last year.

Education and Outreach programs were 7% of program spending in F2019. These programs include educational resources and opportunities for community members to visit and explore conserved lands. NSNT runs campaigns to educate Nova Scotians on the importance of stewardship and conserving the province’s natural legacy.

Land Stewardship made up the remaining 5% of program spending. NSNT relies on volunteers and conservation partners to preserve its land. As of F2019, 98 Nova Scotian landowners and families have helped to protect land with NSNT.

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Results and Impact

Nova Scotia Nature Trust states that its conservation lands protect 29 at-risk species. Out of its 114 conservation lands, NSNT reports that 61 provide freshwater habitats, 59 protect important coastal regions, and 21 safeguard old forests.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Nova Scotia Nature Trust’s results and impact.

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Nova Scotia Nature Trust is a medium-sized charity with donations and special events revenue of $3.8m in F2020. It received $286k in donated land, representing 7% of revenues. The charity’s audited financial statements do not disclose separate administrative or fundraising costs, and its most recent T3010 filing with the CRA is from F2019. Combined overhead costs from the F2020 financial statements are 7% of revenues (less investment income). For every dollar donated to the charity, 93 cents go to the cause. This falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Nova Scotia Nature Trust has $9.7m in total funding reserves. This means that the charity’s existing reserves can cover around 4.1 years of annual program costs, excluding donated land. Including donated land, NSNT can cover around 3.6 years of annual program costs.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Nova Scotia Nature Trust for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 6, 2020 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Fundraising & admin costs as % of revenues 7.1%7.5%16.0%
Total overhead spending 7.1%7.5%16.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 406.9%220.7%875.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 3,767,8021,927,215870,563
Goods in kind 286,3001,219,000841,500
Government funding 02,299,527635,782
Business activities (net) 94,29800
Special events 131,697122,888105,711
Investment income (78,875)284,358220,381
Total revenues 4,201,2225,852,9882,673,937
Program costs 2,396,3103,826,628872,109
Grants 0241,5006,550
Donated goods exp 286,3001,219,000841,500
Fundraising & administrative costs 303,369415,706391,752
Total spending 2,985,9795,702,8342,111,911
Cash flow from operations 1,215,243150,154562,026
Capital spending 84,25716,62281,379
Funding reserves 9,749,5848,976,6887,692,492

Note: To report on a cash basis, Ci reported donations as all cash received from donations, memberships, and grants rather than the amounts recognized as donations on the income statement. This affected total revenues by $1.3m in F2020, ($83k) in F2019, and $247k in F2018. Ci noted differences in the charity’s program, administrative, and fundraising costs reported on a cash basis. The differences between reported spending and cash spending were $231k in F2020, $8k in F2019, and $43k in F2018. Since the charity’s financial statements do not provide enough detail to allocate cash flow spending, Ci reported expenses from the income statement. Ci included unrealized gains (losses), changes in cash surrender value of investments, endowment fund investment income, and investment management fees in investment income. This affected investment income and total revenues by ($171k) in F2020, $191k in F2019, and $155k in F2018. Ci reported government funding from the charity’s available CRA filings and removed the amounts from cash donations. Ci reported grants to qualified donees from CRA filings and removed the amounts from program costs. Nova Scotia Nature Trust’s F2020 CRA filing was not available at the time of this analysis.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 6

Avg. Compensation: $69,295

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2019

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 902-425-5263