A natural wonder

Niagara Falls’ Heartland Forest dedicated to making nature accessible

Greater awareness as a result of environmental education? No leap in logic there.

That’s why Heartland Forest, a nature education centre in Niagara Falls, ON, hosts FrogFest – and other regular events that teach us to learn and love nature.

“We are dedicated to making nature accessible to people of all ages and abilities,” says Elisabeth Graham, executive director at Heartland Forest. “This is a place where everyone can get close to nature and learn to love it as much as we do.”

Heartland Forest, created in 2004, is a charitable organization that connects people of all ages and abilities with the natural world. The 93-acre facility, located in provincially significant wetland in an area of west Niagara Falls, engages children in environmental education through regular events like spring’s Enbridge-sponsored FrogFest and summer camp programs.

Environmental education enables kids to grow into innovative leaders and problem solvers. Studies have shown that it emphasizes co-operative learning, critical thinking and discussion, and hands-on activities – all essential in developing leadership qualities in children.

From adventure day camps to school and community bookings to signature events, Heartland Forest’s environmental education programs welcome more than 4,800 children annually. FrogFest, which has been supported by Enbridge since 2013, features contests, fishing lessons, guided hikes, seminars, guest speakers and interactive workshops.

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the success of this program and are so thankful for the support of companies like Enbridge that allow us to present events at no or at very low cost,” says Graham.

The entire Heartland Forest property was purposefully designed around accessibility, and most of the facilities are accessible by wheelchair and scooter.

“The folks at Heartland Forest are very, very passionate people committed to sharing their love and appreciation for nature with everyone,” says Ken Hall, an Ontario-based senior public affairs senior advisor with Enbridge. “We want to be part of contributing to the environmental education of current and future generations of Canadians everywhere in Canada – and especially in the areas where we operate.”

Those operations include the Line 10 Westover Segment Replacement Project, which involves the proposed replacement of about 35 kilometres of our Line 10 pipeline in southern Ontario, from Enbridge’s Westover Terminal to the Binbrook area in the city of Hamilton.

Pending regulatory approval, this segment of Line 10 is scheduled for replacement in 2017.

In addition to supporting FrogFest, Enbridge has supplied recycled laptop and desktop computers to support internet-based training modules for kids at Heartland Forest’s accessible summer camps that serve hundreds of children in the greater Niagara region each year.

“Our investments in Heartland Forest’s programming reinforce the value we place on environmental stewardship,” says Hall.