Introduced in 2018, the Jr. Naturalist program is based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology, but campers will spend most of their time outdoors where nature education staff will guide them through specialized activities in the forest, river, meadows, wetlands, gardens, and ponds of the Humber Arboretum. Active and engaging, this program is for curious youth ages 12-13 and focuses on developing skills while exploring the West Humber Valley’s flora and fauna in greater detail.
This is Tamarack, coordinator of the Humber Arboretum's new Jr. Naturalist Camp! During the pilot program last year we found that there was so much to do but so little time, so this year we have extended the program to 6 weeks and given each week a much more specific and unique theme. This will allow the campers to dive even deeper into their naturalist knowledge and really build on the skills for that specific week. Throughout the summer we will be exploring different parts of the Arboretum (some places that the rest of camp never goes!) and doing in-depth studies of the different habitats, ecosystems, and plant and animal life within them. We will be scientists, nature detectives, artists, and leaders. I’m so excited to be part of this opportunity to watch these incredible campers grow into the future leaders of this camp!
See you next summer!
~ Tamarack, January 2019
Jr. Naturalist Camp offers weekly sessions, each based around a theme. For 2019, the Jr. Naturalist Camp is expanding from four to six weeks out of the summer. Planned and facilitated by the Humber Arboretum's Nature Interpreters, the camps will explore six different themes:
Monday July 8 - Friday July 12, 2019
Who knew that there could be so much wildlife within the city?! This week is all about exploring the different habitats of the Arboretum and learning about the different creatures that call this place home. Campers will learn animal tracking and bird identification skills, and will be conducting studies within the river and ponds
Monday July 15 - Friday July 19, 2019
The Humber River is an incredibly important river in this area—so important that we were named after it! In this week of camp, the Jr. Naturalists will be taking an in-depth look at the different components of Toronto’s largest watershed. With river, pond, and wetland areas right in our backyard to study and explore, campers will become more in touch with our aquatic friends.
Monday July 22 - Friday July 26, 2019
Stewardship can mean many different things, but here at the Arboretum the definition is quite simple—to take care of nature. With all of the magic that this place provides for its visitors, we want to make sure that we are also giving back. As the future leaders of this camp, the Jr. Naturalists will be helping with some big initiatives, like litter cleanups and invasive plant removals, while putting into practice their own leadership skills with the younger campers.
Monday July 29 - Friday August 2, 2019
Nature has been a major source of inspiration for artists throughout history. From capturing a landscape in a painting or a photo, to hearing the melody in a bird’s song, art truly is all around us. During this week of camp the Jr. Naturalists will tune in to their inner artist, while also learning some practical bushcraft skills that utilize natural materials, such as carving, basket weaving, and coal burning.
Monday August 12 - Friday August 16, 2019
At the Arboretum we have a great appreciation for the plant life here, from the tiniest dandelion to the mightiest oak. Not only will the Jr. Naturalists learn how to identify some common trees and wildflowers, but they will learn how to use them for food, medicine, and so much more! Campers will learn how to use a field guide and will collaborate to create one of their own.
Monday August 19 - Friday August 23, 2019
Shelter, fire, water, food—these things are crucial to any survival situation. In this final week of camp, the Jr. Naturalists will learn about making natural shelters, tying tarps, fire safety, friction fire, and how to find sources of food and drinking water in nature. Are you ready for the challenge?