The Families WIN program is a series of activities and guides designed to help any family to increase their weekly dose of Vitamin N - Nature! The WIN program is focused on the Hendrie Valley Trails near RBG Centre, specifically Grindstone Marshes Trail and Brackenbrae Trail.

A WINning Family is one that has signed the Walking into Nature Pledge: “We pledge to get outdoors and active in nature at least once each week.” You can take the pledge here.

Please share this link with others; our goal is to reach 1000 local families in 2013!


Humans are meant to grow up outdoors; it’s our evolutionary legacy - the way our species has always developed. A growing body of research is showing how potent the outdoors is in shaping a healthy brain, body and spirit. In fact, children who spend more time engaged in active outdoor play in natural settings show improved health, fitness, and mental and emotional function - they are healthier, happier and smarter!

Unfortunately, today’s children are growing up indoors, away from the stimulating and restorative aspects of nature. According to Healthy Active Kids Canada, children and youth spend an average of 7 hours and 48 minutes of screen time per day – that’s close to 55 hours/week! This sedentary, screen-based life is evident in rapid increases in everything from obesity, attention-deficit disorder, anxiety and depression, to early indicators of heart disease and diabetes, and even near-sightedness.

Time in nature is therapeutic for adults too; hiking not only burns calories but reduces stress and increases serotonin and endorphin levels and our capacity to concentrate and focus.

The bottom line? Getting outdoors is great for adults and kids - put them together and the whole family WINs! Spending an hour or two on the trails gives families a time to be active and connect with each other and nature. Everyone will experience stimulative and restorative benefits, from burning calories and building muscle, to reducing stress and fueling brain development.


Download a Hendrie Valley trail map and head to Cherry Hill Gate trailhead in the Rose Garden parking lot. You can also pick up a paper copy of the map at RBG Centre (680 Plains Rd. West in Burlington and just across the road from Cherry Hill Gate). The nearest bathrooms and drinking fountains are in RBG Centre.

Download the free Hendrie Valley Treasure Hunt app
for your iPhone or iPad
NEW!! for your Android device
This free app will get everyone exploring nature along the trails. Virtual tokens are awarded for being observant and answering questions. When you’ve accumulated enough, the app will let you know that you can visit our shop (located in RBG Centre) to pick up a prize badge. Will you be a Seeker, Explorer or Adventurer??

Kids’ Activity Sheets
No smartphone – no worry. We also have downloadable seasonal activity sheets; print one out at home and bring it along on the hike, or pick one up at RBG Centre!

Interpretive Tour
Along with our nature interpretive signs, you’ll find special WIN activity signs along the way. You’ll also find an audio listening post on Brackenbrae Trail.

Free Guided Hikes
Led by RBG Back to Nature volunteers, these family friendly walks last 1.5 hours and introduce you to our trails. Meet at the Cherry Hill Gate trailhead in the Rose Garden parking lot the first Sunday of each month at 2:00 p.m. from September to May and 10:00 a.m. from June to August.


Children and Nature Network’s information on starting a Family Nature Club
Children and Nature Network’s special report on nature and family bonding
Get to Know Virtual Tour of Hendrie Valley
RBG Programs for Kids and Families
RBG Membership
Ontario’s Back to Nature Network
Step Outside: Guide to Nature’s Events

The Families WIN program was developed with the support of the Burlington Community Foundation.

Funding for the Families WIN Android app was provided by the W. Robert and Marion S. Shivas Conservation Trust Fund and the McGrath Milne Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation.