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Operation Wild provides hands-on environmental education and
accessible nature experiences for people living with disabilities to
promote well-being, environmental stewardship, and social inclusion.


In Spring 2021, we passed our 3 year anniversary of running Operation Wild. Click the button below to read more about our impact over the last three years.

Covid-19 Protocols

To ensure everyone’s safety, we are taking the following actions:

  1.  Outdoor Programming:  Operation Wild programming occurs 100% outdoors, which provides a safer atmosphere in comparison to indoor alternatives.
  2. Masking:   Firstly, group sizes are capped at 12 participants, not including Operation Wild instructors.   Secondly, due to the nature of outdoor programming, masks are optional for participants, but still strongly encouraged.  Masks will be mandatory in the rare event that physical distancing is not possible.  Operation Wild staff will wear masks at all times. 
  3. Hygiene and Sanitation:  All high touch surfaces and equipment such as washrooms, equipment and teaching materials will be cleaned between every visit.   Two hand washing stations have been set up, one beside each washroom.
  4. Screening: We will conduct basic screening for all participants and support staff upon arrival.



 Tucked away just 20 minutes outside of Hamilton, Ontario, you’ll find 95 acres of natural land and clean, fresh air. This is a secret retreat where trees reach for the sun’s warmth, wildlife comes out to play, and you live and learn through your senses.

When you step off the bus into lush fields of green, the first thing you’ll notice is how quiet and peaceful it is. 

The city sirens and traffic noise just fade away… 

All you can hear are wildflowers dancing in the breeze and birds chirping as they soar over a sparkling pond, inviting you to explore this little slice of heaven for the next few hours.


Operation Wild is about more than making nature accessible to everyone.

It’s an opportunity to explore the beauty of the world around us, so we can cultivate a love that inspires us to care for it. It’s an inclusive space to make new friends and find a place of belonging in our local community. And it’s an invitation to reconnect with nature and feel rejuvenated.

affordable PROGRAMMING

We’re funded by various generous donors and grants, thus able to keep the cost to participants at a minimum and include transportation if required.

1-3 HOUR session

Let us put together an itinerary or interactive workshop for your group that blends fun, relaxation, and education.


We take groups of 5-12 and customize our activities and programming for your group’s interests, abilities, and schedule.


Get your hands dirty, turn your binoculars skyward to watch winged wonders, and explore your natural curiosities at Cedar Haven.


Experience nature in a hands-on way, building the practical skills and confidence to support a
sustainable world.


Discover easy ways to care for creation in the city, like building a backyard bird feeder or growing
indoor herb gardenS.

What's included?

Hands-on learning, guided walks, and skill-building activities

Free bus transportation to and from Cedar Haven if required

Occasional take-home handouts and workshop projects


Seasonally appropriate clothing and walking shoes

Any water, snacks, or lunch required for your day trip

At least one support worker needs to be in attendance with each group

“After I had my stroke, they told me I would never get to do things like this again, and now here I am. I love being here and doing this kind of stuff.”

– Participant


“I love the stillness. It’s so nice to get away from the sirens and the busyness of the city.”

– Participant

Our most popular programs include, but are not limited to...

* For a full list of currently available programs click the "Plan Your Visit" button at the top of the page. *

Guided Nature Walk

Discover different species of plants, trees, and flowers — plus their surprising medicinal and culinary uses! Gain an appreciation for the diverse habitats we have in our cities.

Wellness Walks

Studies show that being out in nature eases stress, brightens our mood, and makes us more mindful of our surroundings. Our guided walks give participants a chance to soak in the sights, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes of nature.

Seasonal Workshops

Whether it is creating wildflower bouquets or harvesting fruits and vegetables, there’s always something fun going on at Cedar Haven. Participate in interactive workshops that give you a chance to bring home the fruits of your labour!

Practice Creation Care

Join our on-site scientists to help us collect data on the different species of plants, fish, birds, and insects living at Cedar Haven, so you can help us care for their natural habitat.  Monitor the growth and health of milkweed, trout, butterflies and native plant species.


Break out those binoculars to observe different bird species in their natural habitat on one of our bird walks! Learn about their breeding and nesting habits and how you can use feeders and nest boxes to help the birds thrive in your own backyard.

Urban Creation Care

Let the Operation Wild team come to you! Opportunities to connect with nature in the city are everywhere if you know where to look. We’ll introduce you to community gardens, local conservation projects, and accessible green spaces in your neighbourhood.


“With one group, we did a wildflower activity in which every participant took a bouquet of flowers home with them. A few weeks later, when some of the same people came for stargazing, one man came up to me, remembered my name, and told me about how the wildflowers had lasted a whole week on his kitchen counter and made the whole house smell wonderful.”

– Operation Wild Staff

meet the team

We envision a world where everyone has access to green spaces,  
because the more connected we feel to the natural world,
the more we care about protecting and conserving it.

Matt Koning

Program Coordinator

Matt plays a vital role in the education programs with A Rocha Ontario that promote healthy places and people.  Matt believes deeply that each person is created with the need to connect with the natural world in meaningful ways to benefit ourselves and the world around us.  With a background in social services, Matt’s mission at Cedar Haven is to provide these opportunities for people of all abilities, ages, and backgrounds. Discovering and learning about the natural world promotes our own wellness and enables us to care for God’s world well.  Matt lives in Hamilton with his wife Adrianna, and his daughter Charlotte. 

Jeremy Petrusma

Environmental Educator

Jeremy has worked with A Rocha for three summers in education and conservation roles and has now joined our team as a full-time educator.  Whether leading immersive nature experiences for people with disabilities, children’s day camps or class trips, Jeremy is able to engage people – of all abilities – in accessible learning experiences that allow each individual to thrive.


Cedar Haven Manager & environmental educator

Ben is excited to reintroduce people to the natural world and help foster a sense of ecological kinship with the rest of creation. With a background in environmental education, Ben creates experiences where people of all abilities can connect over creation care and learn how to positively interact with their environment on a daily basis. Ben is growing Cedar Haven into a paradise for birds, trees, butterflies, bees, and of course, people! 


“One participant said he’d grown up in the country and missed the country life a lot. During his trip, he fed a horse a carrot from between his teeth, sat on the floor in the barn beside a pig feeding it lettuce, traipsed through the garden picking tomatoes, and told us lots of stories about his childhood and how wonderful it is to live in the country.”

– Operation Wild Staff


Working in partnership with our funders; The Government of Canada,
The Ontario Trillium Foundation, The Community Foundations of Canada,
The City of Hamilton, and First Student Canada,
Operation Wild is committed
to providing accessible services to people with 
barriers or disabilities,
building inclusive and engaged communities, and encouraging 

others to support a healthy and sustainable environment.

Take Part in Transforming People and Places

Operation Wild is built on the belief that environmental stewardship is rooted in discovery, exploration, and play.
We inspire people to care about the world around them by cultivating a love of nature through
interactive education and meaningful creation care experiences.

Our mission is about more than making nature accessible for
adults with barriers or disabilities. It’s about making nature more
accessible in urban environments and in our homes.


We’re always looking for organizations that are ready to make Operation Wild a part of their regular weekly or monthly programming.


Our dedicated volunteers and student interns are what make every participant’s experience more memorable.


If you want to support conservation, environmental education and programs like Operation Wild, donate today to A Rocha Canada.


We are excited to share that as on August 2020, our site is fully accessible as we have installed accessible Grass Mats.  If you have any concerns about our site’s accessibility, please contact Matt at

We require a minimum of 5 participants for a group trip and can accommodate up to 12.

Most groups plan to be on the property from 1-3 hours. We understand that groups have different interests and abilities, and are happy to customize your trip to meet your group’s needs.

Operation Wild typically offers both morning and afternoon sessions beginning as early as 9am, and ending as late as 4pm. For groups that need to be back home to Hamilton to catch transportation at a specific time, we’re happy to work around your schedule.

We require each group to attend with at least one support workers. We are the experts on the sessions being offered and on adapting sessions to meet the needs of your group. We ask support workers to be the experts of their group and their individual needs. We encourage support staff to fully participate in sessions. 

Please give us a call the day of your session if you have concerns about the weather. We are happy to offer programs in the rain as long as we can determine it is safe to do so!

We ask that you bring any water, snacks, and lunch your group requires for the day.

Stay connected and get updates on new program and availability:

Copyright © 2019.
All Rights Reserved. Operation Wild, A Project of A Rocha Canada. Charity Number: 866638943RR0001

Meet Cedar Haven’s Four-Legged Residents

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Art is a gentle giant who likes to greet our visitors with a friendly neigh at the gate.

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rescue pony

Mischievous Moses proves that big personality can come in a small package!

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rescue donkey

Since the boys pick on Molly a bit, she loves to get extra love (and carrots) from our visitors.

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rescue goat

Just like her name suggests, Princess loves nothing more than being spoiled!