Family, friends and neighbours of Frank Crew, along with representatives of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC), came together last fall to recognize and thank the Birtle citizen and retired farmer for his contribution and donation of land that had been part of his family’s farm for half a century.
A permanent cairn was unveiled dedicated to the Crew family that reads:
“This property is dedicated to the Crew Family – Isaac and Jessie Crew, Ken and Ella Crew, and Frank Crew – part of the SW 35-16-27 W and S 1/2 of 27-16-27 W (385 acres) were donated to the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation by Frank Crew. Three generations of the Crew Family lived and worked on this farm and appreciated the wildlife that frequented this land along the Birdtail River. It was this interest that inspired Frank to donate the land to provide a home for nature’s bounty.”
After grain farming in the Birtle area for more than 50 years, Frank retired in 2000, and decided to donate the land to the MHHC.
The donation is very special to highlight in the Prairie View Municipality, as along with the land promoting nature’s beauty and wildlife, half to one kilometre of the actual Birdtail River is part of the donation, said Roy Bullion, conservation specialist with MHHC.
John Whitaker, MHHC board chairman, who farms in the Erickson area talked about how agricultural and natural habitat weave into one corridor. He said it seems that bits of natural habitat are in the way in this day and age, noting the size of farming machinery.
“Standing high over the Birdtail Valley, the Crew family’s land was cleared leaving acreage to be farmed,” said Whitaker. “While the MHHC buys parcels of land, in this situation Frank kindly chose to donate the land in remembrance of his forefathers and future generations.”
Councillor Roger Wilson knows full well the important work that MHHC puts forth.
“Having sat on the MHHC board at one time, these folks do great work across Manitoba,” said Wilson. “Managing property with grace and style, it’s nice to see things like this happen. Thanks Frank for turning these parcels of land — home to an abundance of wildlife — into perpetual motion.”
“It is nice to share the land, farmed by three generations of the Crew family,” said Frank. “The land has been a well-maintained no-hunting area, which will be kept in the same manner by the MHHC.”
The land will be managed for the next three to four years the same way that it is currently managed — portions that are cultivated will continue to be cropped. Similar to all lands donated to the MHHC, it is available to the general public for walking, hiking, birdwatching and for the enjoyment of the great outdoors.
The MHHC is a non-profit Crown corporation established in 1986. Its directive is to work in partnership with public and private organizations and individual landowners to conserve, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat in Manitoba.