About Us

The rare Charitable Research Reserve acknowledges and is grateful to all of the original stewards of the land in which rare resides, within the Haldimand Treaty, spanning six miles on either side of the Grand River from source to mouth. 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 Mississauga 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 which we have archaeological evidence for 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.

rare’s Mission

The reserve’s network of natural landscapes are held in trust as a common possession, set aside for their natural and heritage value and to provide unprecedented engagement opportunities in ecological and cultural research, education, community engagement and recreation. 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 and 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, all 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 a 900+ acre urban land trust and environmental institute in Waterloo Region/ Wellington. 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 will equally include and value Indigenous ways of knowing and being — to become three strands of a strong braid. Together we will steward these lands with respect for generations pasts, 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.

Larger than New York’s Central Park, rare is headquartered at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers. With three cold water streams that flow into the Grand River Watershed, the largest in southern Ontario feeding into Lake Erie, rare is part of an interconnected system with the world’s largest freshwater surface area that provides drinking water for 40 million people.

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