Volunteer Opportunities 

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


2020 Sessions


NEW APRIL 2020: Online Meetings and Resources

Urban Forestry has cancelled volunteer events and programs until further notice. Please see below for other online activities. Emails will be sent to Stewards when the situation changes. Email stewards@highparknature.org to be added to our list.

Webinars, Training and online meetings

High Park Stewards pre-Covid met on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month, rain or shine.


High Park Stewards At-Home Resources and Activities

Hello High Park Stewards! Since field events will not be starting this month due to COVID-19, we're trying something new and different! Every two weeks, there will be a package made available on the High Park Nature website of at-home resources, projects, and activities for those who are interested in continuing to connect with and contribute to the natural environment during this time of physical distancing. Each package will include a project or activity that you can try at home, ecology-related resources, and nature-based self-care ideas. You can do as little or as much as you would like!

A series of activities for Stewards from Jaclyn Scobie



April 26, Biodiversity in Microcosm: container gardening with native plants


Speaker: Ryan Godfrey, Nature Connected Communities, WWF-Canada

ONLINE MEETING 10:30 am to 12:30 pm This meeting is being recorded and will be available afterwards.

Calling all condo dwellers and backyard citizen scientists: learn how anyone can make a small space into a green oasis for people, pollinators and wildlife alike.

Urban gardens present a unique opportunity to address the dual crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change while also connecting people to each other and to nature. It is even possible to do this in a small space like a balcony, porch, patio, walkway or doorstep if we choose the right plants and learn to garden like an ecologist.

This talk will focus on practical strategies and tools to avoid common hurdles on the way to building your own small-yet-mighty biodiverse microcosm.

This photo is avcontainer garden that Ryan planted in spring 2019.

Botanically Speaking blog by Ryan Godfrey and Gardening Resources


March 22, Project Swallowtail, Online meeting

ZOOM MEETING RECORDING MARCH 22 and and Project Swallowtail website

Speakers: Ryan Godfrey, Nature Connected Communities, WWF-Canada, Peter Ewins, Lead Specialist, Species Conservation at World Wildlife Fund-Canada and Clement Kent, past chair of The Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto, and retired adjunct professor at York University Dept. of Biology

Project Swallowtail blog

Learn about Project Swallowtail: a sustained collaborative effort connecting communities and training stewards to restore nature in the city.

In human dominated landscapes, many wildlife species are in decline or at risk of extinction. The best way to reverse this is through ecological restoration — the recovery of degraded ecosystems; a process typically done in non-urban settings.

This project will demonstrate that collaboration between citizens, NGOs and government agencies can achieve significant ecological restoration goals within an urban context. Learn how you can get involved and bring communities together to fight biodiversity loss and climate change.


Block Ambassador detailed information

Block Ambassador Sign-Up Form

We’re looking for volunteers interested in becoming Block Ambassadors for a habitat restoration initiative in west Toronto: Project Swallowtail. Together we can restore habitat and healthy ecosystems in our neighbourhoods and see the return of the magnificent Swallowtail butterflies.

  • You don't need to be a plant or pollinator expert.
  • You don't need to have a garden
  • You do need to like talking to your neighbours and helping them plant native plants (a.k.a the gold standard for pollinators and wildlife




  • World Wildlife Fund Canada
  • Horticultural Societies of Parkdale and Toronto
  • Pollinator Partnership Canada
  • David Suzuki Foundation
  • High Park Stewards
  • LEAF
  • City of Toronto Parks and Forestry
  • Business Improvement Associations
  • Toronto Botanical Garden
  • North American Native Plant Society

Feb 23, Beautiful Blooms for Birds and Bees

Speaker: Sean James Sean James Consulting

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

Join us as Sean James shows us how to select and grow many plants that attract and nurture birds, bees and other pollinators at all life cycle stages.


We LOVE butterflies in our gardens and we recognize that bees, upon which our food supply depends, are under stress. Any garden can be a pollinator garden and we’ll discuss how, with a brief discussion about pollinators themselves. RSVP Yes


This talk also covers attracting pollinators and other desirable wildlife to the garden. This ties into how biodiversity will benefit your garden…and how incredibly beautiful it can be.

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'


Jan 26 - Indigenous Land Stewardship in Tkaronto

Speakers: Members of the Indigenous Land Stewardship Circle Note: See Plenty Canada For a different Indigenous view on Environmental Stewardship

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

At this event, members of The Indigenous Land Stewardship Circle will share their visions of a path toward restoring Indigenous stewardship to Tkaronto’s oak savannahs. Depending on the weather we may integrate an outdoor experience for the participants.

We are at capacity for this presentation.

High Park’s rare oak savannahs, with their widely spaced oak trees, tall prairie grasses and wildflowers, are not just sites of scientific and natural interest. These are sacred lands; lands which have been and continue to be sites of subsistence, sovereignty, and ceremony for Indigenous peoples in the region. Indigenous people used fire to sculpt and maintain these lands for millennia before colonization. Tkaronto's oak savannahs lie within the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, a treaty made by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabe Nations to share in the care of these prime hunting and foraging grounds. The remnants of oak savannahs scattered throughout Toronto today are perhaps the most visible and lasting monuments to Indigenous legacies on these lands.

Indigenous land care protocols are very different from conventional approaches to ecological restoration, which depend heavily on pesticides. Indigenous stewardship is a form of harm reduction and climate action, and it gives Indigenous people the opportunity to heal from the traumas of colonialism by engaging the land in ceremony and in community, creating opportunities for passing on land-based teachings to future generations.


Jan 12 - Celebrating the Natural Environment in High Park

(How Healthy is High Park? Urban Forestry Update, TRCA Flora and Fauna Survey, and Monitoring Results has been postponed)

Speakers: Karen Yukich, Leslie Gooding and Sharon Lovett

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

The Natural Environment Committee has been advising the City of Toronto on the protection and restoration of the natural features of High Park since 1993. Please join us for a discussion of what has been accomplished through cooperative citizen engagement and what challenges lie ahead. We can also use this opportunity to share personal highlights of what makes High Park so special.

Karen Yukich, Leslie Gooding and Sharon Lovett will be facilitating the discussion and there will be lots of photos of our restoration work.

pdf of the High Park Terrestrial Inventory Report, 2019 and

Other TRCA Biological Inventories

20+ years of Stewardship
Stewards plant in spring and fall
Many birds live and migrate through the park
Dark-Eyed Junco

Jan 12 - How Healthy is High Park? This presentation has been postponed!

Jan 12 - How Healthy is High Park? Urban Forestry Update, TRCA Flora and Fauna Survey, and Monitoring Results

Speakers: Urban Forestry and TRCA Staff

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

RSVP YES "ticket" on EventBrite (do not print)

High Park has had over 25 years of habitat restoration work to preserve and enhance the colony of rare and specialized plants found in the Black Oak Savannah, a sandy and dry micro-climate that is sadly very diminished in North America. The pressures on the park from recreational use and development are in direct opposition to this endeavour. How is the park standing up to the pressures?

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority completed a flora and fauna survey in High Park in 2018. At this first Winter Speaker Series event, the presentation of that report will be given by the TRCA. There will also a be a presentation of Urban Forestry work in High Park, a preview of 2020 plans, and information on the Vegetative Monitoring Protocol that began in 2019.

Policies and Reports

Some of the resources to identify plants
There's no end to learning
Black Oak Monitoring 2015
Cones are wrapped around the seedlings protect them

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Content last modified on May 24, 2020, at 03:50 PM EST