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.
Sticky here, the coordinator of the Humber Arboretum’s Jr. Naturalist Camp. As we move into our third summer with the Jr. Naturalists, we have some exciting updates and new opportunities to tell you about. While we will still be running six weeks of camp this summer, we're thrilled to announce that two of our themes will be two week sessions - Wildlife Wonders and Survival Skills will last for two weeks each! Throughout the summer, we will explore the plant and animal life of the Arboretum and delve deeply into the many ecosystems and habitats that exist here. There will be special guests and campers will encounter lots of surprises along the way. The biggest opportunity I see for our campers this summer is to develop their leadership skills by expanding their comfort zones in roles working with our younger campers.
We hope to see you this summer for EXPLORATION and DISCOVERY!
~ Sticky, December 2019
Jr. Naturalist Camp offers one-week and two-week sessions, each based around a theme. Planned and facilitated by the Humber Arboretum's Nature Interpreters, the camp will explore four different themes:
Monday July 13 - Friday July 17, 2020
Monday July 20 - Friday July 24, 2020
Who knew that there could be so much wildlife within the city? This two week session will be all about discovering the wildlife that calls the Arboretum home. The Jr. Naturalists will learn to follow an animal’s movement not only by their footprints, but also by the pattern of their gait and will get deep into bird identification (not just by sight, but by sound as well). We will also have the opportunity to get to know our aquatic neighbours through pond and river studies. There is so much to discover that we had to expand to two weeks!
Monday July 27 - Friday July 31, 2020
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 August 10 - Friday August 14, 2020
Monday August 17 - Friday August 21, 2020
In this two-week session, Jr. Naturalists will get to dive deep into the world of wilderness survival. As much a mental challenge as it is physical, we will need to decide what is most important for us to survive: food, water, fire, or shelter? Just some of the skills that the Jr. Naturalists will learn and practice include knot-tying, creating natural shelters, building matchless/friction fires, foraging for food, and finding sources of safe drinking water. Are you ready for the challenge?
Monday August 24 - Friday August 28, 2020
At the Arboretum, we have a great appreciation for the plant life here, from the tiniest dandelion to the mightiest maple. Not only will Jr. Naturalists learn different ways to identify some common trees and wildflowers using field guides, they will need to collect clues and use their wits throughout the week to solve a puzzling case of plant whodunit. We will also have the opportunity to explore the world of edible plants and make some delicious creations.