Blog by Laura Klein Gosling, rare Engagement Coordinator
Cover photo by Alissa Fraser
The rare Charitable Research Reserve is a place to explore extraordinary nature, learn new skills, and have exciting adventures. This year, for the first time, rare is offering free community events to the public through our new Passport to Nature. This special events guide is geared toward engaging a wide range of our community, including young children, retirees, yogis, researchers, couples, naturalists and more to enjoy time exploring on the rare reserve.
In early June, an engaged group of owl lovers roamed rare’s moonlit trails, hoping they would be lucky enough to hear an owl calling back to them. After patiently waiting, and suffering a few mosquito bites, the group fell completely silent to hear the impressive call of an Eastern Screech Owl. Not much larger than a coffee mug, this stealthy bird is a skilled hunter, able to fly silently and surprise prey by utilizing its impressive sense of hearing and large round eyes.
A special opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look into rare research was provided when community members attended a hike in an area of the property that is only accessible through guided tours. Participants learned what happens when agricultural lands are returned to native habitat as they travelled through tallgrass prairie and old field habitats brimming with wildlife.
On two beautiful summer evenings, people joined together to share breath and energy for outdoor yoga amid the Springbank Gardens at sunset. As the air began to cool down and the sky changed to red and orange, attendees did a downward dog and warrior pose as butterflies floated by, inhaling the scents of fresh earth and new blooms.
While most summer events at rare have come to an end, the fun is not over. Fall offers more outdoor activities. This month, attend a guided hike to learn native plant ID skills and keep an eye out for ripe seeds to collect for future restoration plans. Visit the rare events calendar for more details.
There is always so much fun to be had at a rare event! Come out on September 22 to participate in rare’s biggest event of the year – the 10th annual Walk & Run for rare, where all are welcome to enjoy a jog beside the Grand River, or take a shady stroll through a wetland and forest. Together, the community can soak up the last of summer and Turn the Map Green one step at a time. The event has multiple routes, offering options for a 5k run, 3.5k walk – or – new this year, a short children’s “turtle trek”. Enjoy a free BBQ lunch and live entertainment at this signature event. Register at walkforrare.ca!
The current Passport to Nature is still available at many locations across Waterloo Region/Wellington and at rare’s main office on 1679 Blair Rd. In addition to events, it also has maps and trail information if you would like to come for a stroll. Early next spring, don’t forget to look for the latest Passport to Nature edition; take advantage of free activities and explore all that rare has to offer!