With opportunities to expand on nature-based experiences, increase the well-being of communities, while protecting and caring for the natural world, Humber Arboretum recently launched their 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.
More than 40 years ago, Humber College, the City of Toronto, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) came together to create an innovative space that combines natural areas and a public garden with learning opportunities for students and the community.
The landscape has changed considerably since the inception of the Humber Arboretum in 1977. It is now home to 250 acres of public gardens and natural areas located in the Humber River watershed in North Etobicoke.
“We look at what is here today and this is the fruits of our partnership and the fruits of our labour,” says Darryl Gray, director of education and training at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. “As you walk around to admire the beautiful gardens, landscapes, and natural habitats think about it as the manifestation of all of our work together.”
Building on the Arboretum’s current success, the Strategic Plan will focus on enhancing the Arboretum and Humber’s physical and learning environment to achieve the following priorities and initiatives:
- World-Ready Citizens: develop global citizens with the mindsets, knowledge and the skills to support success and well-being and the health of the planet.
- Healthy Communities: advance community health and wellbeing.
- Thriving Nature: bolster the health of our ecosystems and natural habitats.
“The Plan reflects the needs of our human and natural communities and provides a meaningful and innovative map for the Humber Arboretum’s future,” says Alexandra Link, director of the Humber Arboretum and Centre for Urban Ecology. “Our new vision for the Humber Arboretum is to be a thriving natural ecosystem, an outdoor learning space that advances the highest potential and well-being of the community through strengthening our relationships with nature and each other.”
While the Arboretum continues to be an experiential learning area for students in programs such as Early Childhood Education, Culinary studies and Civil Engineering Technology, students studying horticulture first proposed the idea of using the land to develop and improve their practical skills.
The Arboretum currently features displays of annuals and perennials and has 20,000 flowering annuals planted yearly. The gardens include the Humber Food Learning Garden, a Cacti Garden, and a Native Pollinator Garden to attract and support pollinators. The lands of the Arboretum also include forests, meadows, wetlands, ponds and the Humber River, which is home to thousands of species.
“This is of growing interest and it is for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and put this kind of vision into action. This is where young people will be forming their ideas to help conserve and sustain the natural environment,” says Richard Ubbens, director of parks at the City of Toronto.
The Humber Arboretum has the opportunity to take bold action to help preserve and protect our natural world. This includes continued restoration efforts of the West Humber ravine system and the Humber Arboretum's City-designated Environmentally Significant Area, and new initiatives like the Humber Pond Revitalization Project.
For more information about the Arboretums new Strategic Plan and its initiatives, visit the Humber Arboretum website