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  • Looking closely at iron pulled from the Humber River with a magnet

Junior Naturalists

Introduced in 2018 to fill the gap for youth who fall between the age range for Summer Nature Camp and the LYNX Teen Leader Training program, Junior Naturalist day camp is led by the Humber Arboretum's year-round nature education staff and focuses on building skills while exploring local ecosystems in greater detail. Camp is based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology, but Junior Naturalists spend most of their time outdoors engaged in specialized activities in the forest, river, meadows, wetlands, gardens, and ponds of the Humber Arboretum. 


2022 Sessions and Themes

Planned and facilitated by a professional Nature Interpreter from the Humber Arboretum, Junior Naturalist Camp offers young nature lovers a week-long deep dive into different themes. Details for 2023 are to-be-announced, however you can review the 2022 themes below for a sense of what camp will offer. 

(Please note that as a very small specialized camp with a maximum of only six participants each week, some themes may fill up quickly. However there is also a minimum threshold of registrants which must be reached for each week of camp to run. In the event of a cancellation, any families who have already registered will be able to transfer the registration to another week or receive a full refund, with no administrative fees.) 

Healthy Planet, Healthy Lives

Monday July 11 to Friday July 15

A young man cuts up invasive reeds with secateurs

“One Health” is a term that refers to the interconnection between the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. What are the practical implications of One Health for our daily lives, and what actions can we take to improve the health of both ourselves and the natural communities around us? Junior Naturalists will explore this interconnection through challenges and hands-on activities based around wellness, eco-leadership, and stewardship.

Fantastic Freshwater

Short Week: Tuesday August 2 to Friday August 5, 2022

Two teens stand in a river using a net

When it comes to conservation oceans get a lot of attention, but freshwater systems are just as essential to life on earth, and just as threatened! This week the Junior Naturalists will take a deep dive into the (sometimes shallow) waters of lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands learning about threats, ecological functions, the biodiversity found within.

Tune in to Nature

Monday August 8 to Friday August 12, 2022

A camper and counsellor look something up in a book

This week Junior Naturalists will deepen their own powers of observation as they hone their senses and learn about the amazing ways animals have adapted to make better sensory observations of their own. Learn to create sound maps, make casts of animal tracks, and test your skills with blindfold challenges.

Wilderness Survival Skills

Monday August 15 to Friday August 19, 2022

A young woman ties down a tarp on a shelter

Are you up to the challenge? This week Junior Naturalists will be tasked with building successful shelters, learning about starting friction fires and fire safety, and finding their way using clues from the natural world.

Bees and Blooms

Monday August 22 to Friday August 26

A bee approaches a flower

 Healthy populations of pollinators are essential to our ecosystem, and a healthy population of plants are essential to pollinators. This week Junior Naturalists will explore the many different types of pollinators and their relationships with different plants, while also learning about growing food and native plant species for the benefit of people and pollinators alike.

Nature Olympics

Monday August 29 to Friday September 2

 Several youth compare a scavenger hunt page to a an item hanging on a tree

Are you a competitor at heart? This week is all about taking on exciting nature challenges. Junior Naturalists will compete both against each other and join with other ages of nature campers for some larger-scale games. Wrap up the summer with some high-energy fun!

Cost & Policies


Junior Naturalist Camp operates on a weekly basis, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm (Drop off 8:30 to 8:45 am; pick-up 3:45 to 4:15 pm)

Before care (from 8:00 am) and aftercare (until 6:00 pm) is available for an additional fee; Junior Naturalists will join Nature and Beaver Campers (ages 4 to 12) for Before- and Aftercare, which will be run by Nature Camp Counsellors.

2023 pricing is to-be-announced. For reference, here are the 2022 Camp Rates:

  • One-week session fee: $275
    • The four-day camp session (Week 4, Fantastic Freshwater*) is $220
  • One week of before care: $45
  • One week of aftercare: $50
  • Both before and aftercare: $80
  • Daily rate for before and aftercare also available

(*As we are closed for the Civic Holiday on Monday August 1st the corresponding week of camp is four days only. The price for before & aftercare is also adjusted as follows: $36 for before care, $40 for aftercare, $64 for both before and aftercare.)

Registration Deadline

Please note that online registration for each week of camp closes at midnight on the Wednesday prior to the first day of camp, however there may still be spots available. If the cut-off for online registration has passed, you may email the Humber Arboretum on the Thursday or Friday to inquire: 

Cancellation Policy

All withdrawals requested two weeks prior to the start of the camp week will be refunded the full camp fees, minus a $25 administration fee. Any withdrawals requested less than two weeks prior to the start of the camp week will be refunded 50% of all camp fees.

Each week of Junior Naturalists Camp requires a minimum number of registrants to run. If the minimum threshold is not reached, any camp families who have registered will be given the opportunity to transfer their registration to another week of Junior Naturalists Camp or to the corresponding week of Nature Camp at no fee, or to choose a full refund with no administrative charges applied.

Registration is Closed


Campers follow a leader down a trail

Frequently Asked Questions


How many Junior Naturalists will there be?

To facilitate the best experience, Junior Naturalist Camp is limited to only 6 participants per week, so please book earlier to secure a spot.

Occasionally, the Junior Naturalists may participate in a larger group activity with campers from the Humber Arboretum's Summer Nature Camp, including Friday afternoon swimming at the Humber indoor pool.


Which camp is right for my 12-year-old?

Twelve-year-olds are able to register for either Summer Nature Camp or Junior Naturalist Camp; the right choice for your twelve-year-old will depend on their interests. The Humber Arboretum's long-standing Summer Nature Camp mixes fun outdoor exploration with traditional camp activities and games. Junior Naturalist Camp offers a more in-depth investigation of the natural world for kids who are excited by the prospect of discovery.

Of course twelve-year-olds are welcome to register for a different type of camp during different weeks of the summer, but please note they will not be able to switch camps mid-week if they change their minds!


Will my Junior Naturalist see their sibling who is attending Nature Camp?

Both Nature Camp and Junior Naturalist Camp are based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology. If you have children taking part in both camps, you will drop them off and pick them up together and they may cross paths throughout the day. However the Junior Naturalists will be out "in the field" for longer times and farther from the Centre, which means snacks and lunch times may not match up every day; please pack their bags accordingly.


What about the sibling discount?

Our online registration system is able to apply our sibling discount automatically across different camps. Whether you register multiple youths for Junior Naturalist Camp or one child for Nature Camp or Beaver Camp and another for Junior Naturalist Camp, will automatically receive a discount. 


Do Junior Naturalists need to bring any special equipment?

Not at all! The Humber Arboretum has all of the nature-exploration equipment Junior Naturalists will need for their camp activities.

As with all Arboretum day campers, Junior Naturalists will be responsible for arriving every day with:

  • appropriate clothing and footwear
  • weather-protection such as sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, and sunglasses
  • a lunch and snacks (which may be eaten in the field)
  • a refillable water bottle
  • a face mask
  • portable hand sanitizer (recommended)
  • and a backpack which they are comfortable caring with them for the day

A full list of recommended items will be provided to registered camp families.


Who are the leaders for Junior Naturalist Camp?

The primary leader for Junior Naturalist Camp is one of the Humber Arboretum's professional Nature Interpreters who work year-round providing educational programming to visiting school groups and the community. Individual activities may be led by other Arboretum staff or guests with specialized knowledge and skills. Nature Camp Counsellors, who are generally Humber College students or graduates of our Leaders-in-Training program, will assist with some activities and provide supervision during lunch and snack breaks at the Centre for Urban Ecology and during before- and after-care.

Ontario Camps Association Logo

Humber Arboretum day camps are accredited by the Ontario Camps Association.