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Early May 2022

INSIDE: Group Walks at rare Discussion; Spring Plant Sale this Saturday; PD Day ECO Camp on June 3; In-Person Conversation for Conservation on May 25; Annual Report and Spring Review Now Available

Photo by Mike Weissmann.

Will You Walk With Us?

Join us on our trails; feedback requested about special walks.


The picture at the bottom of this article features one of the trails in our Thompson Tract. It is, however, missing something, and that is people.

At rare, we work to steward over 1,200 acres of environmentally sensitive land across Waterloo Region and Wellington County, not only to improve the environment but also to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of the community. For this reason, we are proud to operate 14+ kilometres of trails free and open to the public, and we encourage everybody to come out, walk our trails, and be within our natural areas, whether by ourselves, or with family and friends.

To this end, we are looking to start one or more monthly walking groups on rare's trails. We want to hear from you on when to schedule these walks to reach the most people. We are also considering reaching out to individuals and groups who might be interested in setting up special walks of their own -- more challenging walks on our River or Alvar trails, or walks for particular groups such as women, seniors, youth, families, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, dog owners, or some other suggestion we haven't considered. We would be interested in offering advice for how to set up such walks and what to do on them, and we would be happy to handle some of these walks ourselves.

So, we want to hear from you. What times of the day and week would you be interested in coming out for a group walk on our trails? Would you be interested in setting up group walks yourself? Are there groups you feel we should reach out to about organizing or hosting group walks at rare? If you have any comments or questions, please reach out to us by e-mail at james.bow@raresites.org, We also encourage you to fill out the survey at this link.

Whether it's by yourself or with a group of friends, we look forward to seeing you out on our trails and enjoying the natural spaces of our community.

Over 5,000 Seedlings, 14 Artisans & Vendors,

2 Seed Savers, 3 Environmental Organizations, 

2 Sponsors, Food, Drinks, and More Await You

This Saturday

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In less than 48 hours, rare's Spring Plant Sale and Eco-Market will be happening. Join us from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the rare ECO Centre and Slit Barn at 768 Blair Road. This event, which raises funds for Springbank Farm's Organic Food Bank Garden program, has literally thousands of reasons for you to come out.

Let's start with the 5,000 seedlings that will be on sale at this event. Staff and volunteers at rare have been working through the winter months fostering these herbs, vegetables and flowers from seeds into small plants, hardened and ready to go in your garden. You can find a list of what's available here!

Then there are the fourteen vendors under the all-weather tent, including Nancy's Creations and Seeds, a local business selling locally-grown seeds and plants in addition to upcycled and re-useable crafts. Or how about Natural Feel Design, selling hand-made synthetic-fragrance-free bath and body products made from flowers and plants grown right in their backyard in Innisfil?

We also have seed-saving vendors like Backyard Seed Savers, who specialize in conserving and protecting rare local seeds to create resilient food systems. You can also come and meet grassroots groups like Reep Green Solutions, or Conscious Planet/Save Soil, whose representative Varinder Singh will be on hand to engage visitors on the need to better manage and protect our soil for the future health of our planet.

These are just a few examples of the passionate people you can meet, and the one-of-a-kind locally-made art and merchandise you can browse. While rare will happily accept debit and credit cards for the purchase of its plants, we recommend bringing some cash, as some vendors may not have machines to process card transactions.

So we look forward to seeing you on Saturday, May 14, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. It promises to be a grand day out celebrating the start of the growing season. Thanks to Logical Landscaping and Dirt Cheap for sponsoring this event.

Carpool, Bike or Walk to the Eco-Market and Win Prizes!

Parking is limited at the rare ECO Centre and Slit Barn where the Spring Plant Sale takes place, and unfortunately the nearest bus stop is over a kilometre away. To preserve parking space, we ask that those who can, please walk, bike or carpool to the event. If you do do this, please stop by at the rare table to fill out a ballot to be entered into a special prize draw for five native plants!

Let's Eat! Melville Cafe and Passado Brasil Feed Hungry Marketgoers This Saturday


Browsing the thousands of seedlings and the many one-of-a-kind items on sale at the Spring Plant Sale and Eco-Market is bound to make people hungry and thirsty. Fortunately, Melville Cafe and the Passado Brasil Food Truck have you covered!

Melville Cafe will start your day with coffee, drinks, cookies, croissants and other baked goods. They'll be serving customers from 8 until 2, and they are generously donating 25% of their day's sales to rare.

Then, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., the award-winning Passado Brasil Food Truck will be on hand to serve up their unique street food experience. You can learn more about their story on their web page. And as our invitation to lunch, customers of the Passado Brasil Food Truck at the Eco-Market will receive a free ballot that they can fill out and drop off at the rare table for a special prize! Wild Carolinian Pottery of Woodstock, ON, has donated a ceramic platter (pictured below) featuring a cobblestone neighbourhood scene to this draw. Wild Carolinian Pottery creates ceramic pieces "inspired by the Carolinian forest zone and utilizing sustainably harvested wild clay as well as commercial clays." Click here to view their Instagram feed.

So, come on out this Saturday, and enjoy the pleasant company, feel the excitement of the start of the growing season, and enjoy some great food from our food vendors.


Food Bank Donations Requested at

Spring Plant Sale


We look forward to seeing you at the Spring Plant Sale and Eco-Market, and we particularly look forward to seeing you at the rare table. Stop by and say hello, and drop off your ballot for a chance to win some of the prizes we'll be drawing for throughout the day.

We will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food items to the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank. Simply drop them off at our table.

We are excited to see everyone out on Saturday, and look forward to having a good time.

Spots Still Available for

Friday, June 3rd PD Day ECO Camp

Kids aged 6-12 welcome!

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The rare Education Team have set up our first ever PD Day ECO Camp for Friday, June 3, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you are a parent of children ages 6-12 and would like to give them a meaningful outdoor camp experience while school is out for the day, bring them to the rare ECO Centre at 768 Blair Road where they can explore unique habitats across a natural landscape, learn from special guests, and partake in environmental art and nature-based crafts and activities.

We have twenty spots available for this special ECO Camp program. The cost of attending is just $50 per child. Extended care is available an hour before and after Camp, for $5 for either morning or afternoon or $10 for both. Interested in seeing what adventures await at the rare ECO Camp? Check out CTV Kitchener’s coverage of our camp here and here.

To prevent disappointment, be sure to sign up your children early, and we look forward to seeing everybody outdoors on Friday, June 3.

Register for the June 3rd PD Day ECO Camp

What's Not to Hike? Nicola Ross Leads In-Person Conversation for Conservation on Wednesday, May 25, at 7 pm!

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Speaking of group walks above, Nicola Ross will be talking about her walking adventures and the work that went into her Loops & Lattes series of Hiking Guides covering this area and more. Join us in person at the rare ECO Centre and Slit Barn at 768 Blair Road on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. for what promises to be a fascinating discussion. 

Nicola Ross has won numerous writing honours, including a National Magazine Award. Her articles have been published in The WalrusThe Globe and MailExplore MagazineMountain LifeOntario NatureAlternatives Journal and more. What's Not to Hike - Launching Loops and Lattes will bring alive the rich beauty of hiking available in our own backyard, as well as how she has incorporated hiking into her career and vocation. More information about Nicola's work can be found via her website Loops and Lattes and/or her blog, Dusty Travels

The May 25th Conversation for Conservation seminar is free and all who register on rare's website are welcome to attend. We look forward to seeing you in person at rare.

Register for the May 25 In Person Conversation for Conservation Event!

2020-2021 rare Annual Report on its way to donors.

Now Available at rare's website.


The 2020-2021 rare Annual Report has been released by the printers, and will soon be in the mailboxes of donors and other friends of rare. This twenty-four page publication acknowledges and thanks the support of rare's donors, supporters and sponsors, as well as providing a full picture of our organization's accomplishments over the past fiscal year. It also features some truly spectacular photographs by such contributors as Mike Weissmann (who supplied the cover), Devon Crowell, Alissa Fraser, Jenna Quinn and more.

If you haven't received the Annual Report, a PDF copy is available on our website, along with other publications from the history of rare.

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