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High Park Stewards – 2015 Sessions

 

Buckthorn Busting 1-2-3 - Sunday Oct. 25, Nov. 8 and Nov. 22

Our last 3 sessions of the year are Buckthorn Busting. On November 22 it will be followed by a pot-luck lunch.

Buckthorn Busting is a very popular activity for studnets who want to collect volunteer hours and for anyone who likes being outdoors and finds satisfaction in helping our restoration efforts by clearing large areas of this invasive shrub. You can really see the difference a few hours of work can make.

Please meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 am. We will go to our site from there so please try to come on time.

More on Buckthorn: This highly invasive shrub forms dense even-aged thickets that often cause an overall reduction in the establishment of shade tolerant native shrubs and herbs. It rapidly produces seeds early in the season that are highly viable and germinate quickly.

European Buckthorn on Invasive Plants Atlas and European Buckthorn (pdf) and HPN Invasive Plants

 
Becoming a Buckthorn Buster
photo from October 2015
Buckthorn plants produce a huge amount of seeds
Let's catch them before they spread
 
We collected at least 3 truckfulls
photo from October 23, 2011
Some plants have sticky seeds
please do not wear fleece or other non-smooth clothes
 

Seed Collecting and More - Sunday, September 27

There may be several options for people this session so we need a lot of volunteers. Friends and families are welcome. There will be 2 sites for seed collection, the Nursery and a Restoration site. In addition, a small group may be planting in the Boulevard Beds (if locates for utilities are in place)

see Pingg invite

The High Park Greenhouse Native Plant Nursery, which is not open to the public (but is for us) has a wide variety of native plants as do our restoration sites where Urban Forestry will select the most beneficial one for seed collecting. We will be collecting a variety of native grasses such as Canada Wild Rye, Little and Big Bluestem, Indian, Bottlebrush and Panic Grass. There are also many different types of wildflowers that are ready to harvest for next year.

These include Cardinal flower, Blue lobelia, Harebell, Milkweed, Black-Eyed Susan, Cup Plant, Woodland Sunflower, Verbena and many others are still blooming. Bumblebees are enjoying Goldenrod and and a wide variety of asters including Sky-Blue, New England and Heath.

We will meet in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 and go to the various locations from there. Please be on time as the Nursery gates are locked after our arrival and we don't know which additional site we will be working in.

See Grasses and Sedges and Planting the Seed, Environment Canada, especially page 23: Seed Collecting Tips.

It takes many seed heads to provide the seeds needed
we will do seed cleaning during the winter
Native grasses are in their prime in fall
Wild Rye, Little and Big Bluestem
Seed Collecting
A wide variety of plants are ready
The Native Plant Nursery
The best place to see these plants in the park
Sky Blue Aster
Bumblebees are still hard at work
Common Milkweed
Essential food for Monarch butterfly caterpillars
Bottlebrush Grass
Sometimes the names of plants are obvious
Some plants have sticky seeds
please do not wear fleece or other non-smooth clothes
 

Fall Planting - Sunday, September 13

We will have a fall planting in one of our restoration sites in the park. The site is yet to be determined. This is an excellent time to plant native wildflowers.

This is the time of year when many savannah plants are at their peak.

Some of the later summer flowers are coming up now including Black-Eyed Susan, Cup Plant, Woodland Sunflower, Verbena and there is a beautiful display of grasses like Big and Bittle Bluestem. Goldenrod and Asters (esp. Sky Blue and New England) are also beginning to bloom.

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 am. and we will go together to the site. A small group may also be working on the Boulevard Beds. We meet rain or shine, but not during lightning storms.

Full Pingg Invite

Although we have removed a lot of it, if you are allergic to ragweed, please take an anti-histamine before the session.

We are working outside and you need to keep yourself safe and healthy. Although planting is more "friendly" than invasive species removal, there still may be ants and bees, thorns and plants that can irritate the skin. Please wear long pants, long sleeves. Wear shoes and socks, not sandals. Seeds can easily stick to non smooth fabrics so avoid fleece. Bring water, a hat, sunblock and a snack to keep your energy up. Gloves and tools will be provided.

For more information on Restoration work see Planting Native Species and Ecological Restoration. Of course there is also the ever-popular Invasive Plant Species

 
Prairie Plants in late summer
August 30, 2013
Fall is a great time to plant
August 27, 2014
 

Restoration Site Maintenance

aka Weeding, Weeding and more Weeding

June 28, July 12, July 26, August 9, August 23

WE WORK IN RAIN BUT NOT LIGHTNING STORMS!

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 am. Tools are provided. For your protection, please wear long sleeves and pants, closed shoes and socks, a hat and bring water and sunscreen.

Full Pingg Invite

10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Anyone interested in joining us is welcome to meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 and we will go to the site from there. For your protection, please dress in long sleeves and pants, closed shoes and socks, a hat and bring water and sunscreen. We will supply tools and gloves. Celebrations invitation to this session

August 23: Tablelands invasive removal and planting site maintenance

Maintenance aka weeding is as important as planting and equally rewarding. Once the weeds are removed the native plants have room to grow, display their beauty and do their work providing food and shelter for wildlife.

We will be working in one of our restoration sites weeding and monitoring the growth of native plants in the site.

We have a number of restoration areas where work has been going on for a number of years, including the Sculpure Garden site, the All-Star site and The Tablelands (behind the Grenadier Restaurant).

The main suspects in High Park are Garlic Mustard, Hedge Parsley, Himalayan Balsam, Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Knotweed, Ragweed, Sweet White Clover, Queen Anne's Lace, Motherwort, Burdock etc. Dog Strangling Vine is being handled by Urban Forestry.

It is really amazing how a few people can make such a difference in one morning.

For more information on Restoration work see Planting Native Species and Ecological Restoration. Of course there is also the ever-popular Invasive Plant Species

On the updated Ontario noxious weed list are: common barberry, dog-strangling vine, European buckthorn, bull thistle, Canada thistle, wild carrot, Coltís foot dodder, goatís beard, Johnson grass, knapweed, nodding thistle, poison hemlock, poison ivy, proso millet, ragweed, yellow rocket, Russian thistle, Scotch thistle, sow thistle, cypress spurge, leafy spurge, tuberous vetchling, giant hogweed.

 
Himalayan Balsam - After
July 27, 2014
Himalayan Balsam - Before
July 27, 2014
 

Spring Planting - Sunday, June 14

10:30 am to 12:30 pm. WE WORK IN RAIN BUT NOT LIGHTNING STORMS!

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 am. Tools provided. Please bring water, a hat, and cover your arms and legs. Please wear socks and closed shoes as well. Full Celebrations Invite

We have a number of restoration sites, mostly near the Tablelands that we have worked on recently but the specific location of this planting is not yet available. The mystery will be solved when you arrive.

Last year our group planted 753 grasses and 476 forbes for a total of 1,229 plants in Area #10 near Bloor St. in 2 hours on June 8.

 
First planting in Site 10
June 8, 2012
Plants originate in the Native Plant Greenhouse
June 8, 2012
Wild Lupines are great pollinator plants
Watch for them now in the TableLands
Planting in the Tablelands
June 2014
 

Garlic Mustard Busting - Sunday, May 24

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

The High Park Stewards have been removing Garlic Mustard from a number of sites within the park for many years. Protocols on how best to control GM are changing all the time and we are always upgrading our skills.

We are able to notice a real positive effect from our work but there is still lots to do.

A small group will be planting in the Boulevard Beds.

As many people as possible are needed as there is no end of this plant in High Park. Celebrations Invitation

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant at 10:30 am. Tools provided. Please bring water, a hat, and cover your arms and legs.

The Elite Squad will continue working on garlic mustard and hedge parsley control on Sun and Tues mornings, from late April to mid June, and in the fall, during Sept and Oct.

Contact InvasiveSquad@highparknature.org if you would like to be an Elite. (unlike our regular Stewards program, the Elite Squad need to commit to regular attendance at these sessions)

The Biodiversity and Education Awareness Network BEAN has excellent information on keeping this species from further damaging our forests.

Also see:

 

 

Garlic Mustard is an extremely aggressive invasive plant in woodland areas. Not only does it crowd out almost every other type of plant but is has an allopathic agent that hinders their growth. Once removed native species can be planted to restore some biodiversity. Areas where GM has been removed need to be monitored and tended for at least 5 years as there is a strong seedbank and root system left behind.

Celandine is also removed at this time
a pretty but also invasive plant that accompanies GM
Garlic Mustard
yes, it does smell like garlic and mustard
 

OUR NATIVE PLANT SALE IS MAY 10!

Native Plant Sale page with more photos and plant handout

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tablelands Tune-Up

View Celebrations invitation,

 

10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Please meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant and we will direct you to our work site.

We had an excellent turnout for our last session in the Nursery. This time we will be cleaning up our restoration sites. We will be concentrating on the Tablelands, but if there is enough time and people we can also go to The Sculpture Garden and the All-Star sites. map of Restoration Sites and Plant List (pdf) We will also be monitoring what native plants are coming up and determining if there are any invasive species in the area that will need removal.

All tools will be provided, but dress in layers as the temperature is unpredictable.

Please bring anything you may wish to drink or snack on with you as there is no kitchen available.

Native plants awaken in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
April Stewards 2012
See what we can do this year
 
April Stewards 2011
Everyone can help out
Garlic Mustard is an early riser
April 14, 2013 in the Nursery
 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Nursery and Boulevard Beds Spring Maintenance

View Celebrations invitation,

 

10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Meet in front of the Grenadier Restaurant

We plan to be doing a cleanup in the Boulevard Beds and in the Nursery, cutting down winter's growth and raking to uncover the plants that have survived the winter.

At the Nursery, please use the East Gate, the one near the green Stewards shed.

The Boulevard Bed group will be working in front of the Grenadier Restaurant parking lot.

All tools will be provided, but dress in layers and be prepared for muddy ground as the temperature is unpredictable.

Please bring anything you may wish to drink or snack on with you as there is no kitchen available.

For more information on planting for restoration projects. See page 20 in particular for growing techniques: - see Planting the Seed - pg. 25 Maintenance and monitoring (pdf) Environment Canada

 
Getting a jump on spring cleaning
Spring 2013
Uncovering the winter's survivors
Spring 2013
 

THIS SESSION – IS FOR CORE AND FREQUENT STEWARDS!

Sunday, March 22, 2014

Transplanting in the Greenhouse

View Celebrations invitation, Directions

 

10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Meet at the High Park Greenhouse, Greenhouse Road

RSPV to invitation is required as space is limited.

Greenhouse work is very popular, but due to space limitations we must restrict the number of participants to those who have braved the elements and assisted in planting, invasive species removal, at our native plant sale, or are working on special projects or activities, in thanks for helping out during the past year.

If you should have but do not receive an invitation by March 15, please contact stewards@highparknature.org.

It's finally time to begin the seeding process and transplant the seedlings that have been growing over the winter in the greenhouse. These will be used for plantings in different parks and for our native plant sale. Due to the cold weather please meet us in the main greenhouse first and we will go to the cold frame if necessary. All tools will be provided, but dress in layers as the temperature is unpredictable.

Please bring anything you may wish to drink or snack on with you as there is no kitchen available.

 

For more information on planting for restoration projects. See page 20 in particular for growing techniques: - Planting the Seed (pdf) Environment Canada

Getting a jump on spring
Some of these plants may be available at our native plant sale
Repotting the new seedlings
These are started early from seeds collected in the park
 

Winter Speaker Series:

SET CLOCKS AHEAD 1 HOUR ON SAT. NIGHT
 

Garry Oak Preserve Restoration, Cowichan, BC

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Speaker: Dr. Andrew MacDougall, Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

Garry Oak - Quercus-garryana
Photo: Brian Reader (Parks Canada Agency)

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive Toronto, M6R 2Z3 Everyone welcome, Free.

The first light S. of Bloor from Keele. It's the brown building in the back. Please enter via the bottom door. Free. HPTC Directions

The Cowichan Valley is widely known as one of the last and best havens of the globally endangered Garry oak ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Dr. McDougall will discuss the recovery and stewardship programs, prescribed burns and its flora and fauna.

Dr. Andrew MacDougall

Restoring BCís Garry Oak Ecosystems

 

Why go Native in our Urban Forest? Re-wilding the City

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Speaker: Eric Davies, University of Toronto PhD Candidate, MSc, BSc

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive Toronto, M6R 2Z3 Everyone welcome, Free.

The first light S. of Bloor from Keele. It's the brown building in the back. Please enter via the bottom door. Free. HPTC Directions

Eric Davies, University of Toronto PhD Candidate, MSc, BSc discusses his survey of insect and bird diversity in native and non-native city trees and the advantages of replacing pest-free (non-native) trees with tasty ones for our native insects.

He also speaks about

  • shifting baselines (how we forget how great it once was)
  • dark diversity (how we can get back some of whatís missing)
  • should there be a native tree law
 

Celebrations invite

 

see Eric's posting Growing a healthy environment with native trees and website

 

The most important thing that trees provide is a habitat for insects and birds which promotes a healthier environment and ecosystem. During the project, I analyzed the number of insects and birds living in native trees and found there to be 25 times more wildlife activity than in non-natives.

 
 

Sunday, February 8, 2014

Seed Cleaning in the Nursery

for Active Stewards by invitation

View Celebrations invitation

Directions

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

High Park Greenhouse, Greenhouse Road

Seed Cleaning in the Greenhouse is very popular, but due to space limitations we must restrict the number of participants to those who have braved the elements and assisted in planting, invasive species removal, at our native plant sale, or are a core member working on special projects. This special activity is a benefit for helping out during the past year.

RSVP to invitation is required as space is limited. If you have planted or removed invasive species with the Stewards in the past year and do not receive an invitation by Feb. 1, please contact stewards@highparknature.org.

Seed Cleaning is the separation of the usually tiny seeds from the dried flower heads, collected in High Park in the last year. Planting these separated seeds has proven to be very successful in cultivating as many rare and limited back oak savannah plants as possible.

 

For more information on using seeds in restoration projects. See page 23 in particular for seed cleaning: - Planting the Seed (pdf) Environment Canada

Some low-tech tools of the trade
Greenhouse, Winter 2014
Separating the seeds from the flower pod/head
Butterfly Milkweed is one of the easier seeds to separate
 

How to make awesome things happen in your neighbourhood, January 25, 2015

Speaker: Jode Roberts Communications Strategist, David Suzuki Foundation

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive Toronto, M6R 2Z3

The first light S. of Bloor from Keele. It's the brown building in the back. Please enter via the bottom door. Free. HPTC Directions

Jode Roberts will provide insights into effective community organizing based on his decade of experience managing media, branding and outreach efforts, most recently with the David Suzuki Foundation's Homegrown National Park Project.

Community Canoe Project

The Community Canoe Project is bringing nature to the city, one canoe at a time. The project works with local residents to take old, retired canoes and transforms them into canoe planters in parks and schoolyards, filled with bee and butterfly-friendly plants and shrubs.

 
#Got Milkweed Campaign
David Suzuki Foundation
Community Canoe Project
David Suzuki Foundation
 

#GotMilkweed

In April 2014, the David Suzuki foundation began selling milkweed plants to Toronto residents to support monarch butterflies and its Homegrown effort to create a butterfly corridor through the city.

Jode Roberts is a writer, painter, beekeeper and schemer. By day he is a wordsmith and strategist, bringing nature to the city through the Homegrown National Park Project and shilling milkweed on behalf of monarch butterflies. Most recently Jode has begun installing planetary wayfinding signs in Toronto neighbourhoods as part of the Walkable Planets project.

Home Grown National Park and David Suzuki Foundation

 

Room Enough For Nature: Unusual nature discoveries in High Park, January 11, 2015

Speaker: Richard Aaron

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3

The first light S. of Bloor from Keele. It's the brown building in the back. Please enter via the bottom door. Free.

Despite its many built-up areas, High Park still has an impressive diversity of nature. For years, our speaker has wandered the trails seeking to learn about the park's flora and fauna. On occasion, he has chanced upon a totally unexpected animal or plant. Richard will share some of these unusual encounters with you. Following the talk, the floor will be open for audience members to share their own unusual High Park nature discoveries.

This squirrel was sighted in fall 2010 and spring 2011 and is actually an Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, which has white fur as a result of mutated genes. Itís a partial albino - the eyes are dark, not pink like a pure albino. Photo: White Squirrel, Lisa Kemp, High Park, November 2010 ''

 

Richard Aaron is a passionate naturalist who loves sharing his knowledge with others. He has conducted 100's of nature walks & workshops and presented lectures to more than 65 organizations, including naturalist clubs, nature festivals, environmental groups, and universities. He has also worked as a provincial park naturalist. Widely regarded for his eclectic knowledge, sense of humour, and communication skills, let Richard help you expand your connections to the natural world.

Learning About Nature Workshops


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Content last modified on November 01, 2015, at 08:39 PM EST