Founded in 2001, the rare Charitable Research Reserve is a community-driven urban land trust and environmental institute dedicated to conservation, research and education. Headquartered at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers in the heart of Waterloo Region, its first three properties comprise more than 900 acres, with three cold water streams that flow into the Grand River watershed, the largest in southern Ontario, providing drinking water for 40 million people.
Within this watershed, rare is comprised of 24 different habitat types, including some of the last Carolinian old-growth forest in Southern Ontario, home to trees more than 240 years old, globally-rare alvars, and six of eight pre-settlement landscapes, supporting rich biodiversity reminiscent of the original biota of southern Ontario prior to extensive human land use. It has an exceptional array of flora and fauna, with species that are ranked “significant” or “at risk” regionally, provincially, nationally and even globally.
While the goal of rare is to preserve its sites and ecosystems intact and in perpetuity, for the community to enjoy in a natural state, it also promotes the lands as a living laboratory for research. This research, in turn, informs restoration practices and education programs through a Chain of Learning that reaches even the youngest citizen in a program called Every Child Outdoors (ECO), a model of hands-on learning, in the out-of-doors, now attracting more than 2,500 students annually. Community events, 110 community garden plots and eight kilometers of trails open and free to the public allow the community to further connect with the nature.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the rare Charitable Research Reserve website for more information.