A $2.6 million donation of a 12-acre property of environmental and historical significance will enable Holland College to establish the John and Christine Andrew Centre of Excellence in Watershed Management in East Royalty.

The property, which has been in the Andrew family for six generations, includes the family home, a barn, and a garage on 5.2 acres of land, Andrew’s Pond, and a four-acre old-growth Acadian forest in East Royalty featuring public walking trails. The property has been donated by Dr. John Alan Andrew, a radiologist in Victoria, B.C., and Dr. Melissa Andrew, a geriatrician in Halifax and a professor at Dalhousie University, and will be named after their parents, Drs. John and Christine Andrew.

The siblings said the donation fulfills the family’s wishes to ensure that the property’s history and environmental significance are recognized and protected.

The donation is the largest single gift in the history of the college. President Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said the generosity of the Andrew family and their desire to ensure that the property remains protected, sustainable, and accessible to the public, is a tribute to their commitment to the environment and to the community.

The property will be used for education, research, and activities that improve environmental and watershed sustainability. The college plans to partner with the federal and provincial governments and Island watershed groups to preserve and maintain the pond and forest.  

Holland College will renovate the barn and garage for use as classroom and lab space for several college programs. The facilities will also be available for use by watershed groups, and the trails in the forest will continue to be available for use by the public.

The college is also working with the Andrew family to create a display of historical ice harvesting equipment that is located on the property.