BY JENNA BRAUN
In a region consumed by commercial, industrial and residential construction, there is some solace – natural areas preserved for our enjoyment.
“Sometimes I need some place to go, somewhere for inspiration or peace and quiet,” said Benji Luangxay, a third-year architecture project and facilities management student. “City life gets overwhelming.”
Located in southern Kitchener is the Huron Natural Area, Kitchener’s largest and “most valuable” natural area. The protected space features the Strasburg cold water creek, wetlands, hiking trails, meadows and trees of various kinds.
“That’s the reality of living in an urban setting — the natural world is right beside the developed,” said Huron Natural Area’s co-ordinator, Joshua Shea, in an interview with the Waterloo Region Record in 2011.
In the beginning of the Spring, Ontario’s flower, the white trillium, can be found sprinkled throughout the entire forest portion of the natural area.
“Me and my boyfriend are always looking for new places to hike,” said Carly Thibodeau, a first-year pre-health science student. “But we always come back here. It’s our favourite spot.”
Both the Waterloo Region Catholic District School Board and the Waterloo Region District School Board work together to maintain this area along with Shea.
Another natural area perfect for hiking is Trillium Woods, in close proximity to Huron Natural Area. Though these are Kitchener-Waterloo’s only official natural areas, there are several walking trails around the region that can be enjoyed as well, such as the Iron Horse Trail in downtown Kitchener and the Walter Bean Grand River Trail which runs throughout both Kitchener and Waterloo.
“In the spring and summer, I always see bass and sunfish in the pond,” said Luangxay about the Huron Natural Area’s Board of Education Pond.
“There’s tons of wildlife too: all kinds of birds, snakes, beavers if it’s really early in the morning. It’s beautiful. I’m glad we have a place like that here in the city.”