From Sept. 1 to Sept. 27, supporters from around Canada participated in Waterloo’s ‘Walk & Run for rare’. This event raised over $41,000 to support the conservation of land in Waterloo-Wellington Region.
“All funds support the ‘Turn the Map Green’ campaign — rare’s grassroots effort to ensure the protection of highly sensitive community greenspace. Every $2 protects one square meter of land, which means over 20,500 square meters of land has now been protected, intact in perpetuity, thanks to this event,” Laura Klein, Gosling Engagement Coordinator for rare Charitable Research Reserve, said.
This year the event was virtual due to COVID-19 guidelines. This allowed people to participate from anywhere in Canada, at any time over the one-month period. Participants logged their kilometres online, whether walking, running, or cycling, and raised over $41,000 collectively. The top fundraiser raised over $3,000 on their own.
“In terms of what was different because the event was virtual – we had people who opted to participate in a month-long challenge, instead of the one-day event, so that was a nice option this year because it was virtual,” Klein said.
“We also sent out weekly scavenger hunts which was a new perk for participants who were virtually involved.”
The reserve encompasses 24 different habitats, trees over 250 years old, and six pre-settlement landscapes. These areas are rich with flora and fauna, untouched by human interference, and considered at risk globally. These landscapes have growth of which there is less than 0.1 per cent found existing elsewhere.
Animals found in these regions include Great Horned Owls, Blue-Spotted Salamanders, Pileated Woodpeckers, Bald Eagles, and Osprey. All these species are at danger of completely disappearing from the area without protection from the many factors that threaten their habitats.
The rare Charitable Research Reserve takes care of over 1,000 acres of highly sensitive lands in the Waterloo-Wellington Region. While the research sites and sensitive lands are protected, locals can still enjoy the wonders of the forests through eight kilometres of trails, community gardens and interpretive events.
To help conserve Waterloo’s lands at any time of the year, rare’s Turn the Map Green effort allows donors to symbolically adopt their favourite part of rare for $2 per square meter. Whether that is the Wetlands, Crabapple Field or Hogsback, the money will help save and protect the habitats of the animals native to that region. The Research Reserve preserves the land through ecological restoration and environmental programs.
Though focused on conservation, research and education, rare also works to equally value Indigenous ways of knowing, by engaging in reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.
It is important to remember that even during this time of crisis for humans, the homes of these animals and the hundred-year-old trees remain vulnerable and need protection. The rare Charitable Research Reserve continues to find new ways to attack the problem, as shown by the wildly successful online fundraiser this year.