Update about the rare Charitable Research Reserve
Supporting the Environment is an important area of focus for Rotary. On April 9, our club was joined by Christine Thompson and Chris Ainsworth from 
The rare Charitable Research Reserve .
They provided an update about this important organization and its role in the Region of Waterloo. 

Christine Thompson is the Gifts Manager at rare. She’s been with rare for 5 ½ of her 21 year fundraising career, having started in the health care sector, then social services and now with a rare with a focus on major gifts and legacy giving. She is passionate about protecting green spaces and enjoys helping rare do so across the Upper Grand River Watershed. She lives in Niagara Falls with her husband, three children, three cats and a gerbil.

Chris Ainsworth is the Sponsorship and Events Manager and is in his 4th year working with rare. Chris has been in the not-for-profit for over 12 years and is a proud Rotarian. He started as a member of the Preston-Hespeler Rotary Club and is now a member of the Kitchener-Westmount Rotary Club. Chris lives in Kitchener with his wife, two kids and dog. 


rare is an Urban Land Trust and International Environmental Institute for Waterloo Region and Wellington. They currently have over 1200 acres of natural space between 7 properties under their protection for the community to enjoy in perpetuity. The priorities at rare are Conservation, Research and Education. Their conservation goals include Sustainable Farming and Food Security at Springbank Food Bank Gardens in Blair. The food bank has a group of clients that come to help with the maintenance and harvesting of the gardens, although not during Covid 19. rare has partnered with the Preston Idea Exchange Seed Library and One Seed Community Program, last year and this year, to help promote a certain seed which is chosen each year and this year it is the Cascadia Pea. rare has a couple hundred packets of those seeds and are sharing them with the community.  The goal is for the community to start growing their own food but they would like you to harvest some seeds at the end of the season and return them back to the seed library in order to keep the program going. Anyone can go to the Seed Library and receive free seeds to grow vegetables or flowers in their own garden but are asked to harvest seeds and return them at the end of the season. At the Springbank Garden rare can provide up to 8,000 pounds of produce each year to give to the food banks. Research at rare is ongoing all year. Education involves a program called Every Child Outdoors (ECO) where there are programs for kindergarden to Grade 12 to involve children in outdoor activities. This is just a thumbnail of the presentation but anyone who would like more information on rare can go to www.raresites.org. District Governor Mike Lawrie thanked Christine and Chris and said a donation would be made on their behalf to Rotary Foundation to continue the good works of Rotary.