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.







2018 Upcoming Sessions

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.

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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Content last modified on April 23, 2018, at 05:00 PM EST