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 and rare’s team of staff and advisers we will discover best practices and answers to environmental problems, stewarding these diverse lands for ecological integrity and future generations.
Turn the Map Green
Tallgrass prairie, cliffs and alvars, old growth forest . . . these are just a few examples of the 24 different habitat types that the rare Charitable Research Reserve protects intact and in perpetuity. The reserve is a beautiful and culturally significant landscape, rich in biodiversity and home to an array of flora and fauna; some of which are ranked significant regionally, provincially, nationally, and even globally. The Turn the Map Green campaign is a community and grassroots effort to protect the community investments of over 2,000 donors and hundreds of volunteers, making sure that the 900+ acres that rare protects is here for the rare community and future generations. Through conservation, research, and education rare is helping inspire the next generation of environmental conservationists – providing an outlet for the community, especially youth, to connect with nature and think critically about their environment. But these efforts are not enough, the organization needs to continue to grow the number of people who steward these lands, showing a sense of community ownership. Adopting the lands is a visible sign of support for rare, one that encourages other larger organizations to invest in significant ways, knowing the community wants and needs it. Working together, donors at all levels will ensure that the charity has the financial stability to achieve its vision. For as little as a toonie, individuals can express their support for the charity’s lands by symbolically adopting their favourite space. Creating this connection is vital to rare‘s success – to quote ecologist Aldo Leopold “when we see the land as a community to which we belong we may begin to use it with love and respect.” In order for the region, the province and even the country to see the value in protecting these 900+ acres and others like it, we need to create opportunities for deeper connections. The rare land is a common possession – it belongs to the community and it is going to take the community to keep it intact in perpetuity. Bit by bit and square by square individuals, families, friends and businesses can all find a deeper connection to their community through rare and turning the map green.
The bur oak has stood watch over the Grand River floodplain known as Blair Flats for more than 250 years. It overlooks an area more than 60 acres and has in its lifetime witnessed the lands dramatic transformation. Now a part of the rare Charitable Research Reserve, a 900+ acre urban land trust and environmental institute in the heart of Waterloo Region/Wellingtion, the bur oak is one of the many fixtures on the property that offers a unique perspective of what rare means to its many supporters, community members, and important species and habitats that call rare home. The bur oak has known the calm of intrinsically peaceful native lands. Its 20 meter canopy has been a shelter for foxes and coyotes, served as a lookout for Eagles and Sparrows, and provided food for all walks of life. The mighty bur oak has seen its surroundings utilized as a gathering point for Indigenous peoples, settled by European colonies, and used for agriculture by farmers. In the last fifteen years, since rare‘s inception, it has seen its land restored to its native tall grass prairie habitat, its thick bark tickled by hot flames of a necessary prescribed burn, and many friends that had not been seen in decades, like the Edward Hairstick butterfly, return to its branches.
The majestic bur oak has befriended many flowers and plants, it has been the subject of countless photographs and paintings, and it has grown proud as a symbol of the important rarities and wonders that are a part of the 900+ acres it calls home.
But it still needs your help. Without rare and the community in which it serves, the bur oak would be in danger of succumbing to the pressures of an increasing population – pollution, disease, invasive species, and even deforestation. Because of our combined efforts the bur oak can continue to serve as a shelter, a look out, and a source of food. It can also continue to provide clean air and drinking water, and to teach our youth about the importance of its conversation. But for how long? We want to protect these 900+ acres in perpetuity but we need help. We need the support of our community, we need the backing of like-minded people, and we need to turn the map green to show our commitment to conservation.
Under the care of rare, in the next 250 years the bur oak will see important research conducted on the gall grass prairie it resides over; it will hear tens of thousands of children participating in educational programs; and it will continue to play host for butterflies and other species.
- For as little as $2 a square meter you can choose your favourite part of rare to symbolically adopt and ensure its protection in perpetuity for generations to come to enjoy
- A $100 donation will save and protect 50 square meters
- A $500 donation will protect 250 square meters
- A $5,000 donation will protect half an acre of land
When you think that there are approximately 100,000 blades of grass in a square meter, you start to get some sense of the possibilities that come from working together – the power of grassroots. For as little as $2 a square meter you can symbolically adopt your favourite piece of rare and help turn the map green. What part of rare have you always wanted to connect more to? The riverside cliffs? Your favourite tree in Indian Woods? Your garden plot at Spring Bank Community Gardens? This is your rare Charitable Research Reserve, take ownership of your beloved space. Every person in the community has the chance to turn the map green, to symbolically adopt a piece of rare, no matter how small. You can help ensure that the ecologically diverse and important habitats and species that call rare home are given the care, love and protection they need. To donate and symbolically adopt your favourite piece of rare, please visit turnthemapgreen.ca to select squares and instantly see the impact of your donation – watch the map turn green right before your eyes. Alternatively, you can always visit us at raresites.org and click the donate now button to make a general gift online. Or you can call the office at 519-650-9336, or drop in and see us at 1679 Blair Road, Cambridge, to talk about other giving options. Consider becoming a Bedrock Club member – our monthly donor club – and help provide consistent stability for the charity and all of its initiatives. Thank you!