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Volunteer Opportunities 

High Park Stewards meet on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month, rain or shine.

 
 

2018 Sessions

High Park Stewards meet on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month, rain or shine.

ABOUT OUR PROGRAM

CONTACT TO VOLUNTEER

UPCOMING SESSIONS

PAST SESSIONS

PLANTS & SITES

BROCHURE 2017


Waiver Form All Stewards need to sign a City waiver document once a year when working in the park. To save time at the sessions please print and fill out these 2 pages prior to coming to work sessions. We will also have them on site. Enter the dates as 12 months From Jan 1, 2018 To Dec. 31, 2018


Summer sessions: Invasive Species Removal (aka Weed Whacking)

June 24, July 8 and 22, Aug. 12 and 26

10:30 am to 12:30 pm. (please check here on the session morning at 9 am if the weather is questionable in case we need to cancel)

Meet in front of the Grenadier Restaurant

The Targets: Garlic mustard, hedge parsley, ragweed, tall sweet white clover, and more!

For your protection, please dress as per the photo below, long sleeves and pants, closed shoes and socks, a hat and bring water and sunscreen. We will supply tools and gloves. Pingg invitation to current session

Although our native savannah plants require less water than others when established, we may be watering our planting sites if required. Urban Forestry has a "Rainbird" tank of water that we use to fill watering cans. We really hope it won't be necessary and that all of the plants in the park will be replenished naturally.

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 our restoration sites (on July 8, in the Tablelands) weeding and monitoring the growth of native plants in the site. The Boulevard Beds group will also be working to update our demonstration garden.

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, Site 10A near Bloor Street and The Tablelands (behind the Grenadier Restaurant).

The main suspects in High Park are Garlic Mustard, Hedge Parsley, Himalayan Balsam, Oriental Bittersweet, 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 our group can make such a difference in one morning.

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

Steve Smith has generously provided us with a copy of his presentation to the High Park Stewards on Feb. 24, 2013. This is an excellent practical resource guide.Management of Invasive Species in Toronto Parks

On the updated Ontario noxious weed list are: common barberry, dog-strangling vine, European buckthorn, bull thistle, Canada thistle, wild carrot, Colt’s foot dodder, goat’s 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.

 
No hoses here, just buckets
Urban Forestry "Rainbird"
New plants need gentle watering
Many, many watering cans worth are needed
Our sites can use some help
Site 10A August 2012
Proper dress for all outdoor activities
We really want you to be protected
 

Spring Planting, 2 sites - Sunday, June 10

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 Pingg Invite TBA

We hope to plant many, grasses and shrubs so lots of hands are needed. Savannah Plants

Post session note: Thanks to our regular volunteers and the great group from Accenture, we planted 1200 native plants in the Tablelands next to the Labyrinth.

 
Spring 2016 planting Group
June 12, 2016
Plants originate in the Native Plant Greenhouse
June 12, 2016
 

Boulevard Beds Fencing & Planting and Garlic Mustard Busting

May 27, 2018 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Lots of people are needed for 2 activities, why not bring a friend!

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant.

We work rain or shine Pingg invite

 

We weren't able to work on fencing at our last session, but did clear out a lot of unwanted cold season grasses. The locates for utility lines are now all in so we now are ready to re-build the fencing and work on the re-design of the Boulevard Beds, that surround the outer edge of the restaurant parking lot. Sand has been delivered and re-planting will begin. We have plants available so all we need are people. All tools will be provided, but dress in layers, bring sunscreen, water, a hat and closed shoes.

 
We're ready to plant again!
June 2017
The locates are in so we can build fences
Spring 2014
 

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 allelopathic 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.

We cleared this whole area in 2 hours!
May 28, 2017
Garlic Mustard
yes, it does smell like garlic and mustard
 

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

Also see:

 

May 13, 2018

Boulevard Beds Fence Building and Re-Design

Pingg invite

 

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant.

We work rain or shine

The Fabulous Earth Day Stewards did an amazing job of removing leaf litter, cold weather grasses and cut back winter growth. We now are ready to re-build the fencing and work on the re-design of the Boulevard Beds, that surround the outer edge of the restaurant parking lot. Sand will be delivered and re-planting can begin. Much of what we do will depend on the weather, so exactly what happens will be determined at the time.

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

 
Getting a jump on spring cleaning
June 2017
There's lots of hands needed in the Nursery
Spring 2014
Native plants awaken in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
Stewards Cleanup and Transplanting
be part of the Boulevard Bed redesign
 
Stewards work in rain or shine
March 8, 2018
April is for planting in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
 

Earth Day - Sunday April 22, 2018

Update: Boulevard Beds Spring Cleanup

Pingg invitation,

 

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Meet us in front of the Grenadier Restaurant. DO NOT GO TO THE NURSERY.

We work rain or shine, but the forecast is sunny and warmer

Thanks to our fabulous volunteers, we had a great start on April 8 in the Nursery, but the ground is still too cold to complete the clean-up there.

We now plan to celebrate Earth Day with a cleanup in the Boulevard Beds, that surround the outer edge of the restaurant parking lot. They are getting an exciting re-design this year. Much of what we do will depend on the weather, primarily removing old stalks and hopefully uncovering the existing plants that survived the winter.

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

 

Sunday April 8, 2018

Nursery and Boulevard Beds Spring Maintenance

Pingg 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 Beds are getting an exciting make-over this year. The group will be working in front of the Grenadier Restaurant parking lot uncovering the existing plants, removing old stalks and transplanting new native plants from the Nursery if weather allows.

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.

 
Getting a jump on spring cleaning
Spring 2014
There's lots of hands needed in the Nursery
Spring 2014
Native plants awaken in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
Stewards Cleanup and Transplanting
be part of the Boulevard Bed redesign
 
Stewards work in rain or shine
March 8, 2018
April is for planting in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
 

Nature, Restoration Ecology and Health: March 25, 2018

Pingg Invite

Speaker: Ben Porchuk. Ecologist, Forest Therapy Leader, Writer

10:30 am to 12:30 pm, HOWARD PARK TENNIS CLUB, 430 Parkside Drive

Ben will be talking about native plants and bolstering urban ecology, safeguarding urban natural areas from invasive species and extensive human over use, while capitalizing on events that give people full nature experiences even in large cities.

Ben will also discuss the native plants in the World Wildlife Fund and Carolinian Canada website, In the Zone Gardens, as well as Forest therapy and other activities that can build pride and integrity in socio-environmental initiatives to ensure long-term viability of diverse urban natural ecosystems.

 

About our speaker: Ben Porchuk. Ecologist, Forest Therapy Leader, Writer

A few of Ben’s areas of expertise: Forest Therapy Guiding, Restoration Ecology (rural and urban), Outdoor Yoga, Medicinal Plants, Native Plant Garden Design.

From Ben's website Restorative Nature Experiences

… After moving away from the horse farm I grew up on, I studied wildlife biology and became a field researcher, and an expert on endangered species and habitat conservation. After many years in science and conservation, I shifted my energies towards using my personal medicines (a.k.a. 'gifts') in my desire to help rekindle and cultivate the connection. In studying Reiki, Shinrin-Yoku, Yoga, Medicinal Wild Plants, Access Consciousness, Paganism, Buddhism and other body-mind and spirit modalities, it became clear to me that our next great discoveries aren't in space, in the depths of the oceans, or on the peaks of the tallest mountains. The next great discoveries are in fact, 'recoveries.'

 

Also see Lost and Found in Nature, the Official Blog of Ben Porchuk’s Restorative Nature Experiences

Global Institute of Forest Therapy (GIFT) Gift of the Forest, is a not-for-profit that is comitted to furthering the global movement of natural healthcare through training skilled forest therapy guides, promoting forest medicine, and collaborating in the evolving field of green prescriptions and holistic health.

 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Transplanting in the Greenhouse

View Pingg invitation, Directions

 

10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Meet at the High Park (Native Plant) Greenhouse, Greenhouse Road

DST: Please set clocks ahead 1 hour on Sat. night.

Greenhouse work is very popular, but due to space limitations we must restrict the number of participants to those who are currently on our email list.

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 on May 6. Please meet us in the native plant greenhouse (where we did seed cleaning) or if you don't know where it is, at the main greenhouse.

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
 

 

In the Zone

Your Garden can help native species thrive: Feb 25, 2018

Pingg Invite - In the Zone Gardens

Speaker: Peter Ewins. Lead Specialist, Species Conservation at World Wildlife Fund-Canada

10:30 am to 12:30 pm, HOWARD PARK TENNIS CLUB, 430 Parkside Drive

In the Zone provides gardeners in Canada’s Carolinian Zone with the tools to gradually transform backyards into woodland, water and wildflower gardens for native wildlife.

In the Zone website

 
 

Free gardening resources: Receive advice from wildlife and gardening experts to cultivate habitat for warblers, frogs, owls, butterflies, bees and more.

Track your impact: Using the In the Zone Tracker, gardeners can measure the progress we’re making together to restore lost habitats in this fragile ecoregion.

Connect: When you join In the Zone, you can connect with a community of gardeners to share tips, exchange native plants and celebrate successes knowing you are making a difference where you live.

About our speaker: Pete Ewins, D. Phil. Lead Specialist, Species Conservation WWF-Canada

Pete spent 12 years in Shetland, including a post as Assistant Warden for three years at the world famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory. His introduction to applied conservation was provided during six years working for the UK government as Nature Conservancy Council officer for Shetland, and then Hertfordshire. His doctoral work on Black Guillemots in relation to the offshore oil industry, was completed at Oxford University in 1986.

In 1990 he moved to Canada and worked until 1996 on the Great Lakes wildlife toxicology programs of the federal government’s Canadian Wildlife Service, documenting levels and impacts of toxic pollutants on wildlife at the top of aquatic foodwebs.

He joined World Wildlife Fund Canada, as Director of Canada’s Endangered Species Program in 1996 and then directed WWF’s Arctic conservation work from 2000-2006, focusing heavily on shifting the industrial development paradigm to one that provides adequately for conservation of intact ecosystems, and ecological and cultural diversity, while the opportunity still remains.

Pete now leads WWF’s Canadian species conservation work, with a strong focus on flagship species in globally significant regions, such as whales and polar bears, the recovery of wildlife listed by Canada’s Species At Risk Act, and increasing the connection of urban citizens to wildlife species and their needs.

Pete's WWF-Canada Blog

Shifting the Paradigm - Forum 2018, Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Growing the Native Plant Industry through Innovation and Collaboration St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto

 

Sunday, February 11, 2017

Seed Cleaning in the Greenhouse

Please fill in the Stewards Waiver Form and bring it with you to save time.

View Pingg invitation

Greenhouse Directions

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

High Park Greenhouse, Greenhouse Road

By invitation to those on our email list.

Seed Cleaning in the Greenhouse is very popular, so please RSVP so we know how many work stations we need to set up. We work even in snow, and we will be inside.

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
 

Protecting Biodiversity in Ontario; the Environmental Commissioner’s Perspective: Jan 28, 2018

ECO presentation to HP Stewards

current Pingg invite

Speaker: Ellen Schwartzel; Deputy Commissioner, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

10:30 am to 12:30 pm, HOWARD PARK TENNIS CLUB, 430 Parkside Drive

Ellen will share how Ontarians can use the Environmental Bill of Rights to strengthen environmental laws and policies, including protecting natural heritage. Biodiversity highlights from the Commissioner’s recently released report – especially the province’s track record on species at risk and protected areas – will also feature in her talk.

This is an opportunity to discuss issues and strategies for protecting nature in urban as well as rural areas.

Note: The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) is an independent officer of the Legislature who reports on government progress on climate change, energy and other environmental issues. The ECO is the province’s environmental watchdog and champion of Ontarians’ environmental rights. Environmental Commissioner of Ontario website

2017 Full Report

 
Ellen Schwartzel
Deputy Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
Good Choices, Bad Choices
2017 Environmental Protection Report
 

The Boulevard Bed Squad will have most of their sessions at the same date and time as our regular ones. Contact stewards@highparknature.org if you would like to join them for extra information.


Outdoor sessions are dependent on weather and growing conditions and what is determined to be the greatest need for our volunteer efforts.

 

High Park Stewards meet on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, rain or shine.

 

About the High Park Stewards and Past Sessions

 

Follow us on and on High Park Stewards Facebook Group

If you would like to be added to the email list please email stewards@highparknature.org.

Mailing address for legal purposes: High Park Stewards c/o High Park Nature Centre, PO Box 30044, Toronto, ON M6P 3K0

 

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