Volunteer Opportunities 

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


2019 Sessions

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







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, 2019 To Dec. 31, 2019



About the High Park Stewards and Past Sessions


Follow us on and on High Park Stewards Facebook Group


All Summer, Boulevard Beds

It's time to clear out a lot of unwanted cold season grasses in the Boulevard Beds. We will be re-building the fencing and working on the re-design of the Boulevard Beds, that surround the outer edge of the restaurant parking lot. We welcome volunteers to help with weeding, pruning, transplanting, raking and sweeping in preparation for future planting work. All tools will be provided, but dress in layers, bring sunscreen, water, a hat and closed shoes.

Native plants awaken in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
Stewards Cleanup and Transplanting
be part of the Boulevard Bed redesign
We're ready to plant again!
June 2017
The locates are in so we can build fences
Spring 2014

Summer sessions: Invasive Species Removal and Boulevard Beds (aka Weed Whacking)

June 23, July 14 and 28, Aug. 11

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 (June 23), 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.

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.

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.

We will be working in our restoration sites 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.

Our sites can use some help
Site 10A August 2012
Proper dress for all outdoor activities
We really want you to be protected
Garlic Mustard
Tall Sweet White Clover
one of the invasives we remove in early summer
Asian Bittersweet up close
High Park September 2010
Hedge Parsley
A problem all summer
Himalayan Balsam
one of the prettier invasives we remove in mid summer
A native plant but still invasive
Himalayan Balsam - Before
July 27, 2014
Himalayan Balsam - After
July 27, 2014

June 9 Spring Planting and Boulevard Beds

UPDATE: List of plants we added on June 9


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

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

For our hands-on work, all Stewards need to sign a City Waiver Form once a year. To save time at the sessions please print and fill out these 2 pages prior to coming. We will also have them on site. Enter the dates ending on Dec. 31.


Planting in the Tablelands
June 2013
Wild Lupines are great pollinator plants
Watch for them now in the TableLands

May 12 and 26 Garlic Mustard Removal and Boulevard Beds

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

For GM removal meet us at the High Park Blvd and Bloor St. entrance to the park. The Blvd. Beds group meets at the Grenadier Restaurant

We work rain or shine

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

Pingg invite

''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:


Apr 28, Fusion Gardens - Multi-season sustainability and beauty

Pingg invite

Speaker: Sean James

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

“There are many tools available to help the planet including drought-tolerant and biodiversity-enhancing plant choices as well as weaving in rainscaping techniques, and it’s never necessary to sacrifice beauty to do the right thing.”

Named by GardenMaking magazine as one of “20 Making a Difference”, gardening has been Sean James’ hobby and profession for over 35 years. A graduate of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, a Master Gardener, writer, and international speaker; Sean is a global leader in eco-friendly landscaping with his work appearing in numerous books and manuals. He’s worked on the national Red Seal educational program, teaches at Mohawk College and sits on the editorial board for Ontario Gardening magazine. He’s the Ontario spokesperson for Garden Days Canada, sits on several environmental committees and has appeared television and radio shows coast-to-coast.

Sean runs an environmentally-friendly company, using eco-friendly materials, recycling, composting and promoting responsible use of biological controls. The office is even powered by Bullfrog Power, using 100% green hydro and natural gas which is harvested from methane from landfills, giving it a zero-carbon footprint.


Sean James Consulting & Design, Twitter, Facebook, Fusion Gardening, Toronto Star article'

Water Garden
photo: Sean James
Patio Design
photo: Sean James
New sustainable gardening techniques
photo: Sean James
Sean James and nuthatch
photo: Sean James

April 14, Restoration in High Park and Prescribed Burning, a walking tour

10:30 am to 12:30 pm. We meet in rain but not during thunder storms!

Meet in front of the Grenadier Restaurant

Pingg invite

This tour will review ongoing restoration work done in High Park by Urban Forestry and talk about the use of prescribed burning as a management tool. Visit some of High Park's Black Oak Savannah sites to learn more about the work that goes into preparing for a prescribed burn.

Tour Leader: Jaclyn Scobie, Park Program Officer, City of Toronto, Urban Forestry

Tablelands/Hawk Hill 2016 before and one month after the burn
photo: City of Toronto, Urban Forestry
After the Burn 2012
Karen Yukich
Prescribed Burn 2012
Bob Yukich

more on Prescribed Burns


March 24, Water-Loving Native Plants: Site Examples of a Marsh Restoration and an Ecological Swimming Pool

current Pingg invite

Speaker: Janice Keil

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

As a director of the North American Plant Society and passionate environmentalist, the presenter, Janice Keil, will take you into the depths of water-loving native plants.

A 97 agricultural acreage in the Land Between (Northumberland County) is home to an ongoing marsh restoration experiment to assess the impact of the invasive Reed Canary Grass on the hydrology of marsh ecosystems. An ecological swimming pool constructed to EU standards using native plants as the sole filtration system in the regeneration zone will be built next year.

Janice Keil grew up on a mixed crop farm in SW Ontario, put herself through university by growing cucumbers commercially for Bicks. That experience turned her towards organic agriculture, a sector she remains active in to this day. After a two decade stint in Toronto, she has happily returned to rural Ontario, living presently in the amazing community of Peterborough . Professionally, she is a secondary school teacher in World Religions and Philosophy with an eclectic array of degrees: Honours Music, M.A. German and Master of Divinity.

She is presently working on a feminist sustainable building project, Active Women Building Passive House that will take place on the 97 acres this summer. This beautiful piece of land will be home to 20 acres of tall grass prairie for seed production, a heritage sheep CSA and organic vegetable/fruit gardens, the produce of which will be donated to women’s shelters. Last but not least, she is an avid native plant enthusiast and has served on the board of directors of the North American Plant Society (NANPS) for the last seven years.


March 10, Planting Seeds in the Greenhouse (by Invite only)

Daylight Savings - Set Clocks ahead 1 hour

We will be taking the seeds that were cleaned on Feb 10 and planting them in flats to grow into seedlings used in restoration projects in the park. Due to space restrictions this session is by invite only for Stewards who have helped with the outdoor work in 2018 including planting, seed collecting, invasive species and buckthorn removal. If you have done that and do not receive an invite by Feb 18 please contact stewards@highparknature.org.


Feb 24, Design Inspired by Nature with Jonas Spring

current Pingg invite

Speaker: Jonas Spring, Ecoman

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

Learn about how to use ecological references as practical tools in urban planting design. Buildings are cliffs, Streets are canyons, Roofs are islands.

Jonas is organizing a symposium with Landscape Ontario called Reference: The Natural City on Feb 21 at Ryerson University and will share some of the exciting new ideas and trends discussed. Symposium info

Ecoman is a landscaping & gardening practice that shapes private/public space of all sizes. We’ve got a thing for working with both Mother Nature and human nature.

Designing, developing, and maintaining green spaces that balance both interests creates a compost that produces the most returns, year after year. Let us show you how you can be a steward to your land, while we create a space that fits your needs and satisfies your desire.

Check the many interesting articles and links that Jonas provides on his social media and website.

Ecoman.ca, Twitter, Facebook

Children's Garden High Park
photo: Sharon Lovett
Animal Overpass, Banff Alberta
photo: Sharon Lovett
Green Roof 215 Spadina Ave.
photo: Sharon Lovett
Green Roof 401 Richmond St.
photo: Sharon Lovett

Feb 10, Seed Cleaning in the Greenhouse

Due to space restrictions this session is by invite only for Stewards who have helped with the outdoor work in 2018 including planting, seed colllecting, invasive species and buckthorn removal. If you have done that and do not receive an invite by Feb 4 please contact stewards@highparknature.org.



Jan. 27, Urban Birds and Citizen Science with Emily Rondel

current Pingg invite

Speaker: Emily Rondel, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Records Councillor for the Toronto Ornithological Club and former Toronto Projects Coordinator Bird Studies Canada

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

Toronto's birds and how to support them through the seasons (including participating in citizen science programs). Geared for the backyard gardener but special information for stewards.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario. We work with municipalities and other partners to look after the watersheds of the Toronto region and its Lake Ontario waterfront. We help people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. Our vision is a city where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature’s beauty and diversity.

More about the TRCA

Bird Studies Canada, Citizen Science

There are a number of legislative bills relating to nature protection (many of them reducing protections) under review from municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions. If you are interested in fining out more, download this document with links. more info on bills and STOP BILL 66, from PNTO

Male Goldfinch
photo: Emily Rondel
Pine Siskin
photo: Emily Rondel
White-throated Sparrow
photo: Emily Rondel
Dark-eyed Junco
photo: Emily Rondel

hosted by canadianwebhosting.ca | powered by pmwiki-2.2.102
Content last modified on August 12, 2019, at 02:00 PM EST