Kitchener natural areas program

Suburbs

Kitchener's Natural Areas Program (KNAP) is an environmental program that promotes the stewardship of our community's treasured natural spaces by:

  • Engaging the community in environmental stewardship projects,
  • Educating people about our natural areas, and
  • Creating opportunities for people to experience nature in the city.

We fund and deliver this important program, through partnerships with the Waterloo Region Nature Club, Waterloo Stewardship Network and Nature Connect and Humans in Nature.

Outreach events and activities

KNAP offers fun events and learning opportunities for people of all ages.

  • Tales and Trails discovery walks - Grow your young child's love of nature through stories in the forest. We gather for about an hour and a half to enjoy nature-themed songs and tales, as well as a short hike. Content is suited for children age five and under. Admission is free and registration is not required.
    • Wednesdays at Huron Natural Area. 10:30 - noon. April 11-June 13.
    • Tuesdays at Breithaupt Park, Lakeside Park and Monarch Woods. 10-11:30.
      • Breithaupt Park, meet in splash pad area - April 10, May 1, 22 and June 12.
      • Lakeside Park, meet in playground area - April 17, May 8 and 29.
      • Monarch Woods, meet at trail 112 Stoke Dr - April 24, May 15, June 5.
  • Kitchener's Forest School and Nature Connect programs - Register your kids for these eco-programs, taught by certified instructors from Nature Connect. Programs may include games, crafts, storytelling, nature exploration and other activities. Each program is intended to be play-based, hands-on and focused on connecting youth with nature. You can register for an upcoming program online or in person at any city facility.  
    • PD Day Programs - April 13, May 4 and June 1. More details are available here
  • Family and Friends nature programs - These programs are free of charge, less than two hours in length, and suitable for all ages. Held at Huron Natural Area, each event may feature nature walks, crafts, games, storytelling and hands-on nature exploration.
    • Spring Photo Scavenger Hunt
      • Saturday March 31, 1 p.m. Huron Natural Area. Bring a camera and your keen eyes along to look for signs of spring. Come and explore the park on this self-guided adventure. You will be given a list of items to search for and find. Meet in the play area.
    • KW Earth Day
      • Saturday April 28, 1- 4p.m. at Kiwanis Park. Join staff and volunteers from the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo as we host our annual Earth Day celebration. Free activities for the whole family including bird box building, live bird of prey shows, kids crafts and tree planting. 
    • Victoria Day Swamp Tromp
      • Monday May 21, 1 p.m. Bring your rubber boots (and aquatic nets and buckets if you have them) and a sense of adventure. We will explore the pond and look for creatures. Meet in the play area.      
  • Nature in the City speaker series - We've partnered with Waterloo Region Nature (formerly Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists) to deliver a series of talks about nature and urban ecology. Hosted by the Kitchener Public Library at the Central Branch location. Each event takes place at the Main Branch of the Kitchener Public Library.
  • Adult nature workshops - If you want to unwind and recharge in nature on a regular basis, check out an adult nature workshop. These programs, which are offered by Humans in Nature, will help you to slow down, relax and take in the beauty of nature within a small group setting.
    • Shinrin Yoku walks, Equinox celebrations, yoga hikes and yoga sessions in the park. For more information and upcoming dates, please visit Humans in Nature. You can register here  or call 519-741-2600 ext. 4177.  
  • Stewardship workdays - Join our volunteer environmental stewardship team and work on a natural area stewardship or environmental restoration project. Typically, our workday projects take place on weekends, though weekday projects are also available. Each project usually takes two or three hours to complete. Activities may include tree planting, invasive species removal, wildlife habitat enhancement/improvements, and natural area clean-ups. Sign up to receive email with information about upcoming project dates and details.

 

Citizen science projects

We are recruiting interested volunteers to join our ecological monitoring programs and help us gather important information about nature in our city.

This year, one of our projects will focus on bat monitoring - specifically, understanding bat activity and finding out more about our local species. As a citizen scientist, you will use a handheld bat detector device to record bat activity at a nearby park, natural area or your neighbourhood. Monitoring devices will be loaned out to participants for use in this study. Training will be provided. If you are interested in this program, please contact our natural areas coordinator or call 519-741-2600, ext. 4177.

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