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Summer Nature Camp

Humber Arboretum day camps are based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology, but campers will spend most of their time outdoors where they will make their own discoveries in the forest, river, meadows, wetlands, gardens, and ponds of the Humber Arboretum. Active and engaging, our nature camps are designed for ages 4-12 and take place within the northwest part of the City of Toronto.

Forest exploration, pond dipping, ecology games, swimming, and so much more. Camp runs weekly through July and August.

In light of the on going COVID-19 pandemic, the Humber Arboretum has made the difficult decision to cancel our Summer Nature Camps for 2020.

Keep an eye on our social media channels (@humberarb) for upcoming virtual learning and engagement opportunities, as well as updates on future events and programming as the situation develops. Get the latest news from Humber College at: https://humber.ca/updates

Give your child the opportunity to develop a lasting appreciation for the natural environment. The Humber Arboretum's summer nature camp is based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology, our environmentally-friendly building located on the Arboretum grounds.

Camp is an outdoors, hands-on experience geared to ages 4* to 12**.

 Weekly activities include:

  • Nature Walks 
  • Forest Exploration
  • Ecology Games
  • Wildlife Spotting
  • Pond Discovery
  • Camp Songs and Games
  • Free-Swim Fridays (Supervised time in an indoor pool)

Every week is made unique with the addition of theme-specific activities. Scroll down for full information on weekly themes and activities.

*Our Beaver Camp program is exclusively for ages 4-5. This small group of younger campers will explore the same weekly theme as other campers but through activities tailored to their age and run by dedicated Beaver Camp counsellors.

** For six weeks out of the summer, twelve-year olds have the option to sign up for regular Nature Camp or for Jr. Naturalist Camp for 12- & 13-year olds, based on their interests. Visit the Jr. Naturalist Camp page for details. 

Weekly Themes

Every week at Humber Arboretum Nature Camps will include nature walks, art & ecology, all-ages games, and swimming. Weekly themes inspire other activities (click on a photo to play videos from previous years):

Week One:

Arboretum Adventures

(Not running in 2020)

This week campers will be going on some amazing adventures at the Humber Arboretum to learn the true value of urban greenspaces! The Humber Arboretum has some incredible ecosystems for your kids to explore including the Humber River, constructed wetlands, a shrub land meadow, and our forest, designated as one of the City of Toronto’s 86 Environmentally Significant Areas (ESA’s)!  Campers will get to discover and explore each of these fascinating habitats through a variety of hands on activities in hopes of catching a glimpse of some of our most interesting plant and animal neighbours!

Week Two:

Wild About Watersheds

Rubber booted feet in the river

(Not running in 2020)

This week campers will have a chance to discover the life that exists within the ponds, river and wetlands of the Humber Arboretum! They will learn about what a watershed is and find out why the Humber River watershed is so important to the Toronto region’s biodiversity.

Week Three:

Healthy Planet, Healthy Lives

Children look at a deer

(Not running in 2020)

This week of camp will have our campers learning about the importance of nature in their lives and why it is essential to protect nature not only for ourselves but for the diversity of life that depends on it for survival and for future generations as well! Through interactive games and activities campers will expand their knowledge in areas of health and wellness, recycling, ecological stewardship, and energy and water conservation to help them understand how our actions affect the health of the planet and show them ways that we can help make a positive impact at home and in our communities.

Week Four:

Powerful Pollinators

A bee visits a flower in a meadow

(Not running in 2020)

This week campers will explore the beautiful and mysterious process of pollination!  Pollinators such as butterflies and bees are key to our food supply, and affect our lives in many important ways. Campers will learn about different types of pollinators, their relationships with trees and plants, and why we need to protect native species of plants to help pollinators thrive.

Week Five (and Week Six for Nature Campers):

Intro to Wilderness Survival

A bee approaches a flower

(Not running in 2020)

Due to many requests from campers and parents alike to go more in-depth with this topic, we're turning Wilderness Survival into a two-week session for all but our youngest Beaver Campers. Over nine days, campers will explore the art of survival including food, shelter, water, and way-finding. Campers will use clues in nature to help determine direction and be introduced to basic edible and medicinal plants. We’ll look at the importance of water for survival and learn tips such as how to build a below-ground water capture still.

(*We are closed on the Monday for the Civic Holiday. Cost for the nine day Nature Camp session is $475; the four-day Beaver Camp session is $220.)

Week Six (Beaver Camp Only):

Sensational Senses

Children scoop soil from a bucket

(Not running in 2020)

While the older campers continue with the survival theme, the Beaver Campers will use their senses to explore the wonders that nature has to offer! Activities are designed to help the youngest campers better understand how humans and animals use their senses to engage with their surroundings.

Week Seven:

Wildlife in the City

A leopard frog

(Not running in 2020)

During this week of camp we will explore the wildlife that lives within the city of Toronto and discover what the City is doing to ensure wildlife has a home now and for generations to come. Focusing on animal adaptations we will look at the needs and characteristics of the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects to figure what makes urban wildlife unique and what we can do to enhance wildlife habitat at our homes and in our communities.

Week Eight:

Growing Gardeners

A camper holds a cherry tomato in his teeth

(Not running in 2020)

Gardening has a long history of creating beauty and public gardens like the Humber Arboretum can feel like living a canvas where horticulturalists are the artist. Now there’s a growing trend among professionals and home gardeners alike to incorporate an ecological focus as well, showcasing how gardens can not only be pleasing to the eye but can also serve a very important role in helping support wildlife and pollinators in the city.  This week we hope to plant a seed that will help our campers grow a lifelong love for the art of gardening.

Week Nine:

Ecolympics

Campers take part in the eco-olympic flag ceremony

(Not running in 2020) 

We'll wrap up the summer by exploring the Arboretum through play and competition! This active week is full of fun games that build teamwork and various outdoor skills.  Campers divide into different Animal Countries so they can face off and cheer each other on. Join us this week and find out which Animal Country you’ll be playing for. Will it be Ant Arctica? Owlstralia? Or maybe Beavaria!

Cost & Policies

Summer Nature Day Camps operate on a one-week basis, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. Drop-off time begins at 8:30 am; pick-up is until 4:15 pm.

Before care (from 7:30 am to 8:30 am) and aftercare (until 6:00 pm) is available for an additional fee.

In 2020 the cost of camp is:

  • One week Nature Camp fee (ages 6-12) - $265
    • Special nine day Nature Camp session (Weeks 5 & 6) - $475
  • One week Beaver Camp fee (ages 4-5) - $275
    • Four-day Beaver Camp Session (Week 5) - $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

(Please note: We are closed for the Civic Holiday on Monday August 3rd and so the fifth week of camp is four days only. The price for before & aftercare is adjusted as follows: $36 for before care, $40 for aftercare, $64 for both before and aftercare)

In the registration system, please click on the Beaver Camp option to register a 4- or 5-year old

Sibling Discount 

If you are registering multiple children in Nature Camp or Beaver Camp, a sibling discount will be applied automatically in the system. Unfortunately the system will not be able to apply the discount automatically across different camps; if your family will have children in both Nature/Beaver Camp and in Jr. Naturalist Camp, please send an email to arboretum@humber.ca after registering with campers' names and week(s) attending. We will then apply the discount manually and you will receive a refund for the difference, or a discount off future payments if you take advantage of the payment plan. 

Registration Deadline

Please note that online registration for each week of camp closes at midnight on the Wednesday prior, however there may still be spots available. If the cut-off for registration has passed, you may email the Humber Arboretum's Operations Assistant Valerie Leaist on the Thursday or Friday to inquire: valerie.leaist@humber.ca

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.

What to Bring

  • Morning and afternoon snacks and drinks*
  • Lunch (except Friday, pizza day)*
  • Backpack or bag
  • Hat
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Bathing suit (every day)
  • Towel (every day)
  • Water shoes/sandals
  • Swim goggles (Friday)
  • Rain coat
  • Rubber boots (for River Study day)
  • Extra socks

*The Centre for Urban Ecology is a nut-aware facility. Please inform us of any food allergies and do not bring nut products of any kind to camp.

*We wish to limit the amount of waste that is produced at the Centre and as part of this initiative we promote Litterless Lunches. Please bring only reusable or recyclable containers and utensils. We will ask campers to compost any food waste using our on-site compost bins and take their garbage and anything that can’t be recycled here back home. For tips, see How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch on Recycle Nation.

Ontario Camps Association Logo

Humber Arboretum Summer Nature Camp is accredited by the Ontario Camps Association.