About Us

Founded in 2001, the rare Charitable Research Reserve is a community-driven urban land trust, nature reserve and environmental institute with its headquarters and first three locations comprising over 900 acres within the Haldimand Tract that spans six miles on either side of the Grand River from source to mouth, land granted to Indigenous Peoples in 1784 to recognise their support for the British in the American Revolution. In Wellington County, rare is creating an Eramosa River Conservation Corridor to protect forever the river and its adjacent forests and uplands –– lands of the highest ecological significance and which are so far largely unaffected by direct human impact –– ensuring connectivity of spaces and survival of species in an increasingly and rapidly developing area. For all its properties, rare acknowledges and is grateful to all of the original stewards of the land. Understanding that this land has been rich in diverse Indigenous presence since time immemorial there are several Indigenous Nations to mention. We would like to honour and respect the sovereignty of both First Nations in our area: the Onkwehon:we Peoples of Six Nations of the Grand River and the Anishinaabe Peoples of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. Nia:weh and Miigwech to these Nations who share their lands with us. We’d also like to acknowledge the Neutral people, for whom we have archeological evidence dating back 10,500 years. Lastly, we’d like to acknowledge those Indigenous Peoples who currently live, work, play and learn in the urban landscape around us, such other self-identified and status First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

We believe that, as a community, we need to learn about and uphold our role within treaties and natural law to honour our ongoing commitment to meaningful reconciliation with the Onkwehon:we Peoples of Six Nations of the Grand River and the Anishinaabe Peoples of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation on whose treaty and ancestral territory we live.

rare’s Mission

Through the combined efforts of the community, rare’s team of staff and advisors and local Indigenous Peoples we will discover the most inclusive practices and answers to environmental issues, stewarding the reserve’s diverse network of natural landscapes for ecological integrity and future generations.

rare’s Vision

To offer the community, including local Indigenous Peoples, the international community and future generations, a diverse network of connected natural areas, protected intact in perpetuity. As an international leader in conservation, research, restoration and education, rare will serve as a model system that not only demonstrates the link between ecological integrity and economic sustainability but includes meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, both of which are critical for the enhancement and quality of life of the planet.

Walkers on the Alvar Trail. Photo by Amanda Newell.

The rare Charitable Research Reserve is an urban land trust and environmental institute in Waterloo Region/Wellington, with its first four locations protecting almost 1,000 acres of highly sensitive lands. Since inception, rare has taken care of the land on behalf of the community through the use of Western tools in conservation, research and education. As rare becomes engaged in reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (North America), these pillars have gained flexibility and now equally include and value Indigenous ways of knowing and being — becoming three strands of a strong braid. Together we will steward these lands with respect for generations past, present and those yet to come, intact in perpetuity with trees more than 250 years old, 24 habitat types, and 6 of 8 pre-settlement landscapes.

What is in the Reserve?

Within this watershed, rare is comprised of 24 different habitat types, including globally-rare alvars, remnant old growth forest — of which there is less than 0.1% existing anywhere and situated where the Carolinian Zone meets the Northern Hardwood Zone, with trees more than 250 years old — 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.

In order to address all areas of the property and what our environmental experts would like to see happen, we have created an environmental management plan.

Although rare exists to protect these important landscapes, we also want to make them open to the public for appropriate recreation and independent learning. Our trail systems provide leisure opportunities to the entire community, are free, and are open to the public for much of the year. For more information, visit our trails page.

rare Charitable Research Reserve
1679 Blair Road
Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8
(519) 650-9336
Charitable Registration:
#8776 15914 RR0001