In the News

Springtime in Paris

Guests spent a magical evening strolling through Paris in the Springtime in celebration of Heartland Forest’s passion for all abilities. Heartland’s work experience program engages youth and adults with special needs in maintenance, facility set-up, reception, programming and wood working at their on-site wood shop. There were vendors of the French variety and French Poodles, all to make a difference in the lives of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Cathy, Dan & Lisa – Photo by Anna Spano.

Niagara sites, projects benefit from grants

Apr 15, 2018 by Ray Spiteri  Niagara Falls Review

The Niagara Community Foundation is awarding five grants, totaling $20,500, from the Environmental Legacy Fund, to support projects that use a collaborative approach to meet environmental challenges.

“The recipients all came to us with projects that were really innovative and unique,” said Bryan Rose, the foundation’s executive director.

“They have the potential to reach thousands of people across the Niagara region.”

Heartland Forest was awarded $5,000 to create a citizen science project monitoring local bat populations through the use of bat detectors and strategically-placed trail cameras, along with the creation of habitat enhancing bat roosting boxes and a maternity roost structure built by Heartland’s own wood shop and program participants.

It’s Showtime for Niagara Woodcarvers

The Wonders of Wood will be on display at Heartland Forest

WHATSON Mar 12, 2018 by Richard Hutton  Niagara This Week – Niagara Falls

It has a new name, but admirers of woodcraft of all kinds will be treated to the same fine display of craftsmanship when the Niagara Woodcarvers Association hosts its annual show at Heartland Forest.

“It’s now called the Wonders of Wood presented by the Niagara Woodcarvers,” said event co-chair Margie Cooper. “There are so many different disciplines. Some people are scroll sawing, wood burning and wood turning. It’s more than decoys. There are so many styles of carving and working with wood.”

The event draws woodworking practitioners from across the province, Cooper said.

“We will have exhibitors from the Guelph carvers, Burlington and the Ontario Woodcarvers Association.”

As in the previous 38 editions of the event, this year’s show will feature a competition as well, although with a new wrinkle.

“The competition has been divided in separate categories for wood carving and wood art,” Cooper said.

Visitors will also have a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award, she said. Woodcarvers have all been given the task of carving a hat. Visitors will be given a chance to vote for their favourite.

One of the highlights of the weekend, Cooper said, is the presentation of the Doug Robertson Memorial Award, named for one of the association’s founders.

“It’s for someone judged to have done so much for the club,” Cooper said, adding the award is presented near the end of the event’s second day.

Admission to the show is $5 while kids under 12 get in for free. Show times are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 24 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 25.

The Niagara Woodcarvers Association meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at Heartland Forest. Anyone is welcome to join. Information and photos from the 2017 show can be found at

Joanna Khalil, right, who has only just taken up woodcarving, gets some pointers from longtime Niagara Woodcarvers Association member Claude Lessard as they examine one of Lessard’s works. Lessard and other Niagara woodcarvers will join others from all over at the Wonders of Wood Show presented by the association at Heartland Forest on March 24 and 25. – Richard Hutton/Metroland

There’s no reason to be bored in Niagara Falls on Family Day There is a lot to do all around the city

COMMUNITY Feb 19, 2018 by Richard Hutton  Niagara This Week – Niagara Falls

Heartland Forest is always a popular spot for Family Day when it hosts its annual Winterfest. Enjoying some of the activities at last year’s event were, from left, Gianna, Juliann and Frankie Giampaolo, who were busy making sure their spider dogs were roasted just right. – Richard Hutton/File Photo

They are the champions

Dan Bouwman, Wayne Redekop and Niagara College honoured by Boys and Girls Club of Niagara

Jan 22, 2018 by Richard Hutton  Niagara This Week – Niagara Falls

THOROLD — These champions have nothing to do with sports.

There’s no Stanley Cups, Grey Cups or World Series trophies among them, but in the eyes of the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, they’re champions for children. The club decided that Heartland Forest’s Dan Bouwman, the Town of Fort Erie — and Mayor Wayne Redekop in particular — and Niagara College all were worthy of recognition at the Champions for Children gala event held on Jan. 19 at John Michael’s Banquet Centre.

“We’re very fortunate here in Niagara because we have very special people,” said JoAnne Turner, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. “There certainly isn’t any shortage of recipients, but we’re really pleased with the three we are recognizing.”

When it came to choosing recipients for this year’s recognition, Turner said the entire board was surprised Bouwman had not ever been honoured in the 10 years the club had been handing out the awards.

“What he has done at Heartland Forest for children of varying abilities has left of lifetime impact on children. When he was nominated by George Bailey, we thought, ‘Why had we not thought of this before?’”

For his part, Bouwman was humbled by the award and credited Bailey, who was then-head of the Niagara Parks Commission, for giving the creation of Heartland Forest a kick start.

“Mr. Bailey and our team managed to sell 1,100 tickets (for a fundraiser at the 600-person capacity Club Italia), so we went to Club Italia and rented the building for a second night.”

As part of the fundraiser, Bouwman recalled he and Bailey being outfitted with chicken costumes to perform the ubiquitous chicken dance.

Since then, Heartland has welcomed 20,000 people a year through its gates, and even had the stretch of road where it is located renamed Heartland Forest Road. Since its humble beginnings, the park has added a state-of-the-art nature centre that houses various classrooms, including a woodworking shop funded through a grant from the Trillium Foundation. The wood shop has hosted groups including persons with brain injuries, stroke survivors and more.

“When the bus comes to pick them up, they don’t want to leave. They haven’t finished their birdhouse yet.”

But, despite the awards and accolades received over the years, Bouwman has remained humbled.

“It’s all about the children,” he said.

Pumpkinfest returns to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls ReviewOct 21, 2017
Shorts and T-shirts were the preferred outfit on Saturday as an estimated 5,000 people enjoyed a warm day at the 14th annual Pumpkinfest at …

‘This never gets easy’: Strange

Niagarathisweek.comAug 14, 2017
… by former Olympian Mike Strange raised money for the families of children living with life-threatening illnesses as well as Heartland Forest.Story image for heartland forest from
Thorold NewsAug 9, 2017
… they wouldn’t normally,” she says, such as weekly trips to places like local farms, the Heartland Forest, and the Greg Frewin Theatre.Story image for heartland forest from Thorold News
Niagara Falls ReviewJul 29, 2017
In addition to proceeds being donated to children in need, money will also go to Heartland Forest, which supports children through a number of …Story image for heartland forest from Niagara Falls Review
Niagarathisweek.comJun 22, 2017
On June 19, WFOL unveiled a new wood sculpture at Heartland Forest. The sculpture — called The Interference & Reconciliation of Man …Story image for heartland forest from
Niagara Falls ReviewJul 8, 2017
ALISON LANGLEY/Niagara Falls Review Artist Adam Buller stands in front of a wooden sculpture he designed at Heartland Forest.Story image for heartland forest from Niagara Falls Review
Niagarathisweek.comJul 16, 2017
Heartland Forest founder Dan Bouwman, centre, and Freddie the Frog, were joined by staff from Lowe’s and Heartland for a presentation of …Story image for heartland forest from
Niagarathisweek.comMay 2, 2017
Nelson was raising money for Heartland Forest and was joined by Heartland volunteer Adam Kane, Heartland community relations coordinator …Story image for heartland forest from









October 22 – Heartland offers new program for the older crowd – Niagara This Week

October 20 – Everything’s coming up pumpkins at Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

September 30 – A natural wonder: Niagara Falls’ Heartland Forest dedicated to making nature accessible – ENBRIDGE

A natural wonder: Niagara Falls’ Heartland Forest dedicated to making nature accessible –

September 22 – Etsy event in Niagara Falls this weekend – Niagara Falls Review

July 08 – Remembering Sarah – Niagara This Week

June 09 – Celebrate dresses and flip-flops with chocolate at Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

April 22 – Niagara Falls Show – Heartland Forest  Niagara Falls Show
By Steve Kostyk

April 14 – Heartland Forest offers Mother’s Day workshop – Niagara This Week

April 09 – ‘Spring into Wellness’ at Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

April 09 – Heartland Forest to mark National Wildlife Week – Niagara This Week

April 04 – Easter Egg Hunt – TV Cogeco


December 11 – Plenty of Reasons to Smile for Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

October 7 – Going the distance for Heartland – Niagara This Week

April 24 – Meridian provides boost for Heartland’s FrogFest – Niagara This Week

April 17 – Easter Egg Hunt at Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

March 24 – Woodcarvers find a new home at Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

March 13 – Dan’s the Man – Niagara This Week

February 20 – New Memorial Bench at Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week


October 7 – Deloitte employees make an IMPACT

August 27 – Ontario Trillium Foundation Woodworking Shop Announcement – Niagara This Week

April 30 – Heartland Forest a Jewel – Niagara This Week

January 1 – Christmas Tree Decorating Party – Snap Niagara Falls


Dec.12 – Day-care centres helping parents – Niagara Falls Review

Oct.23 – Dan Bouwman awarded Queen’s Jubilee Medals – Niagara Falls Review

Oct.22 – 9th Annual Pumpkinfest – Snap Niagara Falls

Sep.27 – Green Day encourages student involvment – Inside Niagara College

Sep.18 – Volunteers Bring it to Heartland Forest – Niagara This Week

Aug.12 – Heater’s Heroes rally for kids at Oakes Park – Niagara Falls Review

Aug.6 – Heater’s Heroes is for all the kids – Niagara Falls Review

Aug.3 – Hidden Gems – Ontario Travel Blog

May.10 – Heartland Forest rezoning approved – Niagara This Week

May.8 – City Hall OKs Heartland Forest Proposal – Niagara Falls Review

May.7 – Heartland Forest Growing – Niagara Falls Review

May.3 – Labignan makes a splash at Heartland Forest – Niagara Falls Review


Feb.27 – WinterFest 2011 – Barbara Grumme Realty

Feb.27 – Winter Festival In The Forest – Niagara Falls Review



Oct.13 – Seeing Stars at Heartland Forest – Niagara Falls Review



Jun.13 – The Heart of Heartland Forest – Niagara Falls Review