Late January 2024

Inside this issue: Thank you for speaking out about Schneider Woods; Make your voice heard in Ontario's budget; March Break ECO Camp registrations now open; Owl Prowls scheduled and Christmas Bird Count for Kids rescheduled; Ages Foundation fellowships and bursaries applications now open; Many winter events coming up; EcoVendors still wanted; Applications open for Springbank Garden plots; Save the date for the 2024 Trail Party; Our biweekly poll.


Photo by Michelle MacMillan

Thank You For Speaking Out About Schneider Woods

Once again, you have done us proud. The Schneider Family issued a call to action to encourage Wilmot Township Council to move forward on the donation of Schneider Woods to rare, and you answered. Hundreds of you reached out, wrote letters to the Township mayor and councillors and this issue has attracted a lot of attention from the media.


We are still waiting on Wilmot Township Council for a response, but in these past weeks you have shown how much you value the environment. This is the energy we need to protect natural spaces, ensure habitats for local species and to build climate resilience and fight climate change. For all your hard work, thank you. You are making the world a better place.


Stay tuned for updates as we receive them.

Click here to let Wilmot Township Council what you think.

Tell Ontario to Protect Natural Spaces


2024 Budget Consultations continue until January 28

Speaking of making the world a better place, there is still time to tell the Ontario government to make protecting nature a priority in its 2024 budget. The government's public consultations remain open until January 28, and we are supporting the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) and the Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts (ACLT) request that Ontario continues its commitment to fund the Greenlands Conservation Partnership with an investment of a minimum of $100 million over four years.


The Greenlands Conservation Partnership is a provincially funded program that has already successfully secured natural lands for land trusts across Ontario, including rare. Maintaining and expanding funding will protect biodiverse and extensive ecosystems throughout the province and rare has asked that $5 million be directly invested to secure natural lands in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.


If you haven't yet done so, follow this link for more information to write to your local MPP, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks expressing your support for nature and this initiative. Your voice can make a big difference.

Contact the Provincial Government and Change the World

March Break ECO Camp Registrations Now Open

Loving Nature at ECO Camp

Wondering how to give your kids a healthy, educational and engaging adventure this March Break? Registration for rare's March Break ECO Camp is now OPEN!


For $300, you can give your children, aged 6-12, an outdoors adventure exploring rare's unique natural habitats. They'll learn from special guests, partake in environmental art and nature-based crafts and activities and create a journal of their time at rare.


The camp runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from March 11-15, 2024, with extended care available an hour before and after camp for an additional charge of $25 for either morning or afternoon or $50 for both, for the week.


Spark a sense of wonder in nature in our next generation of conservationists. Sign your kids up for March Break ECO Camp today!


Photo by Michelle MacMillan

Sign up for March Break ECO Camp Today!

February has Gone to the Birds! Sign Up for Owl Prowls and Rescheduled Christmas Bird Count for Kids

The rare Education Team is pleased to announce that the Christmas Bird Count for Kids has been rescheduled. Two events are taking place on Saturday, February 3, one from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and the other from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Spaces are still available for this FREE event for parents and kids, so register now.


We are also excited to teach you all about owls! Come out in February to learn about local owl species and their unique adaptations and then we'll walk or drive to our trails for a night hike with rare staff to call for owls in the hopes of catching a glimpse of these incredible nocturnal raptors.

The event is FREE to attend, but registration is required as space is limited. Participants may register for one of the two owl-prowl events happening next month:



This event is recommended for ages 8+. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Please come dressed for the weather and be prepared to spend up to two hours oudoors.


Finally, while our Live Return of the Birds presentation at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31 is sold out, you can still be put on the waiting list, or you can sign up for the Zoom simulcast. Don't miss out!


Email james.bow@raresites.org to be put on the waiting list, or if you are signed up and can't make it, so we can free your spot for someone else.

Ages Foundation Fellowship & Bursaries Applications Now Open

No matter what form of inquiry you are pursuing, opportunities abound at rare! Students from all disciplines are eligible to apply for the Ages Foundation Fellowship and Bursary program at rare. Applications are accepted from now until April 30, 2024. For more information and to apply, please visit raresites.org/research/scholarship. You can also call us at (519) 650-9336 x111, or e-mail us at research@raresites.org.

Learn more about Ages Foundation Fellowships & Bursaries

A Lot Happening at rare this Winter! Check Out What's Coming up!

In addition to Owl Prowls and Bird Counts, our social calendar for Winter and into Spring is filling up. Check out some of the events and camps below:


Find more ways to get involved!

EcoMarket Vendors Needed for Spring Plant Sale!

EcoMarket Call for Vendors

We are still looking for small or personal businesses or grassroots organizations with a strong social and/or environmental focus to join us under the all-weather tent at the Spring Plant Sale as EcoVendors!


If you would like to be a part of rare's Spring Plant Sale and EcoMarket taking place from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 at rare's Slit Barn, 768 Blair Road in Cambridge, we invite you to fill out the linked Vendor Application. Space is limited, so apply early. We will review all applicants and notify them of their status by March 1, 2024.

Fill Out Our EcoMarket Vendor Application

Applications Open for Springbank Community Garden Plots!

The Springbank Community Gardens at rare Charitable Research Reserve are a special space for those interested in growing their own fresh organic produce. Located within an ecological reserve, the gardens are a unique place where activities are done respectfully and with minimal impact on the environment and the creatures that reside there


We are a multicultural, multi-generational garden site, where the members share knowledge and build relationships in the name of education, responsible land stewardship and inclusion. Interested in booking a plot? Fill out our application form today!


Photo by Taryn Jarvis

Apply for a Plot at Springbank Community Garden

Save the Date: 2024 Trail Party Happens Sunday, September 15!

Remember the great fun we had at the 2023 Trail Party, gathering at the Ancient Mariners' boathouse in Riverbluff's Park, walking the trails to rare's Slit Barn and enjoying a barbecue lunch and family friendly activities celebrating the great outdoors? Let's do it again this year!


Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 15 to come out and celebrate our 15th Annual Trail Party. Stay tuned for further announcements about registration. We look forward to seeing you on our trails, sharing our outdoor spaces and celebrating nature.


Photo by Sydney Daniels

Our Bi-Weekly Poll: Advocating for the Environment and the Coming Spring

We had a great response to last issue's poll question on how people wanted to change the world for the better this year. Over 25% of you planned to volunteer their time with groups helping to protect nature. Over 16% of you planned to donate to land protection organizations like rare, while another 16% of you planned to attend gatherings and public meetings to push for protecting nature. Just under 10% of you planned to write to your local, provincial and federal representatives on the issue of protecting nature.


Encouragingly, a third of you - nearly 33% - planned to do some or all of the above. And that's really the way to go: make your voice heard the best that you can in the ways you feel most comfortable with, but it all helps. Which is why we encourage you to participate in Ontario's 2024 Budget Consultations in support of our ask that the Greenlands Conservation Partnership funding be maintained and increased. Tell Wilmot Township Council to move on the Schneider Woods donation. Sometimes it may not seem like the people in charge are listening, but the solution to that is speaking louder.


For our next question, while we are deep in winter, what are you doing to fight the winter blahs?

Select your favourite option below:
Getting active in nature. It may be cold, but I can bundle up!
Making time for myself cuddled in blankets in the warm indoors.
Getting out and enjoying indoor events.
Vacationing someplace warm.
Imagining myself at the Spring Plant Sale.
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