The 1000 Acre Challenge

The 1000 Acre Challenge is TIWLT’s largest, ongoing initiative, encompassing everything TIWLT stands for.

Over the next 5 years, we will raise at least $4 million to support Life, Land, Learning and Legacies. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please watch our video and learn more about the foundational values of TIWLT. These are our 3 immediate initiatives, all overlapping and supporting 4EVER in many ways.


Learning & Experience Centre

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Ecological Demonstration Farm

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Continuing & Growing Conservancy

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Happening Now:

Glen Elbe Evergreen Lodge 2020
Glen Elbe Evergreen Lodge 2020
Jane Topping
Evergreen Lodge 1963
Evergreen Lodge 1963 and 2020 (Above)
Jane Topping (Right)

Creating an Historic Learning & Experience Centre

In 2018, a remarkable woman named Jane Topping passed away and generously donated her farm property and home to TIWLT. This 111-acre property sits on local source waters. She loved this land immensely and wanted to protect the remarkable forest, waterfall, wetlands, and history… forever. Her home Evergreen Lodge at Glen Elbe and its 170-year old barn will be now be restored and transformed into TIWLT’s Experiential Learning Centre. TIWLT would love people to donate as they can to make this happen. Volunteer skills for gardening, pruning, carpentry, trail maintenance, etc. are welcomed.

Grist Mill 1830
The Back Story

(1790 – 1850)
In the late 1700s, many lots in this region were granted to United Empire Loyalists and this one was especially desirable. In addition to being good farmland, it was on a rare, government-maintained highway, and had an excellent waterfall – a prized power source, ready to be harnessed. By 1805, a sawmill was supplying boards and timbers for nearby pioneer settlements and a grist mill was added in 1818. The mills were constantly evolving with new owners coming on board and a small settlement grew along the western bank of Elbe Creek and within the immediate area.

Grist Mill 2020
Grist Mill 1830
Glen Elbe Waterfall
The Grist Mill today, waiting to be explored! (Above)
The falls that built a community (Right Top)
The Grist Mill in 1830 (Right Bottom)
Glen Elbe barn
Glen Elbe barn
Glen Elbe Evergreen Lodge 2020
150 years ago, the sounds were hooves and snorting horses. Just a little TLC needed now.
The Middle Story

(1850 – 2018)
From those very early days, Glen Elbe became a thriving community. Jane Topping’s home, which she has gifted to TIWLT, had served as a post-office and stagecoach stop on the Brockville – Perth road. Stops were every 6 miles so that the hard-driven horses could be changed for fresh ones. Passengers would disembark and enjoy the gardens and a refreshment before continuing on their way. As one of Canada’s newer and well-used roads, it was eventually covered in planks to provide a smoother and quieter ride!

Glen Elbe Gardens
Today’s Story

TIWLT is restoring and renovating Jane’s house and grounds to support organic farming, exploratory trails, wildlife and experiential learning. The old gardens and plantings are happy for the help … including yours! It won’t take much if we all contribute a little. As our Executive Director Calder Schweitzer says, “we can nickel and dime our way into saving an endangered species”. Please join TWILT now and consider a small donation.

Support the Glen Elbe Learning & Experience Centre
Glen Elbe Gardens
The gardens and paths await our help.
Ironwood Organics Farm
Ironwood Organics Farm

Ecological Demonstration Farm

Conservation is more than protecting land. The Thousand Acre Challenge is also about protecting working landscapes and livelihoods in ways that build healthy communities.

TIWLT has partnered with Ironwood Organics, owned by Chris and Mary Wooding. The farm’s motto is “Growing Ecosystem Services” – so very timely in light of today’s issues of food security, hard-hitting effects of climate change and loss of wildlife, world-wide.

Ironwood Organics is an Ecological Demonstration Farm. The farm explores how native wildlife can thrive here and become a vital part of crop production. As an example, hedgerows host a lot of animals that contribute to a healthy farm-scape by eating insect pests that feed on crops, reducing pesticides. Hedgerows slow crop-flattening winds and help manage soil moisture. Selecting the right cereal grains can let farmers fight climate change and even soak up millions of tonnes of water to undercut yearly flooding downstream.

Ironwood Organics is a great place to visit, learn and support. It’s supported by grants from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Gretchen Bauta.

Please watch this short video hosted by Ironwood Organics owner Chris Wooding and find a time to visit Ironwood Organics with your family to learn more.


Continuing & Growing Conservancy

Many people who want to save and protect their land are unaware of the opportunities that exist to do that. TIWLT understands that it’s often not in a landowner’s power to simply donate land; there are financial considerations. And so TIWLT has some powerful tools to help make dreams possible. Please watch this short video on Legacies and contact us for more information.

Everything we are doing is made possible by people like you, who donate land, adopt properties, volunteer their professional skills or simply find a weekend to help out and love the land. Please join TIWLT and help ensure an amazing future for our children. Be a part of 4EVER!


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