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  • Outside on a large lawn a group of Junior Naturalists work together on a creating a banner
  • A young man standing in the Humber River reaches into a handheld net to grab something inside.
  • Hands holding a wood carving knife and an in-process carving.

Junior Naturalists (ages 12 to 14)

Specially designed 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. 

2023 Sessions and Themes

Planned and facilitated by a professional Nature Interpreter from the Humber Arboretum, Junior Naturalist Camp offers young nature lovers a deeper dive into different camp themes.

Brilliant Birds

Monday July 17 to Friday July 21, 2023

Collage of birds at the Arboretum - a red-winged blackbird, a red-breasted nuthatch, a yellow warbler, and an American robin

Did you know Toronto Ornithological Club records show 399 different bird species in the Greater Toronto Area? It’s time to bust out the binoculars and discover the diverse world of birds that can be found right here in the city. We’ll also take an in-depth look at feathers, flight, calls, and everything else bird.

Register now for Junior Naturalists: Brilliant Birds

Nature in the City

Monday July 24 to Friday July 28, 2023

A White-tailed Deer captured on a trail camera

From well-adapted wildlife to the rivers that run through Toronto’s ravines, there’s a wild world to discover right here in the city. From animal tracking to plant identification, the Junior Naturalists will explore how species have changed their day-to-day behaviour to live alongside us. We'll learn where our wild neighbours go during the day, the unique ecosystems they call home, and how they help make our cities healthier for everyone.

Register now for Junior Naturalists: Nature in the City

Fantastic Freshwater

Monday July 31 to Friday August 4, 2023

A Junior Naturalists crouches on the deck beside a pond, scooping something out of a dipping net with a spoon.

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. We'll wade into the Humber River and our wetlands for some hands-on exploration of the incredible biodiversity that our freshwaters support, and how countless other ecosystems depend on not just the water, but the life within it to survive.

Register now for Junior Naturalists: Fantastic Freshwater

Wilderness Survival Skills

Part One: Tuesday August 8 to Friday August 11, 2023

Part Two: Monday August 14 to Friday August 18, 2023

A Junior Naturalist has successfully sparked a small fire using a rod and flint

Are you up to the challenge? In this newly-expanded 9-day session, 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.

Register now for Junior Naturalists: Wilderness Survival Skills

Nature Olympics

Monday August 28 to Friday September 1

 Three Junior Naturalists smile as they try to hide a block of wood from camp leaders view during a game.

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!

Register now for Junior Naturalists: Nature Olympics



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

2023 Pricing

  • 5-day camps: $350
  • 9-day camp: $600

Registration Deadline

Please note that online registration for each week of camp closes at midnight on the Thursday 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 Friday to inquire: 


Cancellation Policy

All withdrawals requested at least 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.


How to Register

Visit our online registration system now to see all 2023 summer camp sessions open for registration.

(sort by age to see Junior Naturalist sessions only)

Standing on a small landing of rocks in the Humber River, a Junior Naturalist looks down into his net to see what creatures he has scooped out of the water.

Frequently Asked Questions


How many Junior Naturalists will there be?

To facilitate the best experience, Junior Naturalist Camp is limited to only 10 participants per week.

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, you 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 carrying 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 may provide supervision during lunch and snack breaks at the Centre for Urban Ecology.

Ontario Camps Association Logo

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