About Us

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.

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.

What’s 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