Our workshops are aimed at an adult audience looking to learn more about nature!
You can click on the name of the workshop below for more details. Registration is required for all workshops.
If you encounter any difficulties registering or have any questions regarding registration you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 416-392-1748. Our Office Hours are between 9am – 4pm, Monday – Friday.
To register for a Summer Workshop, click on the button below or click: HERE
Fall Birding for Beginners
With Allyson Parker
Wednesday, September 18th @ 6:30 - 8:30 PM & Saturday, September 21st @ 7:30 - 9:30 AM
Learn the basics of birding from naturalist and long-time birdwatcher, Allyson Parker. This workshop will teach you how to identify birds by sight, how to use a field guide and binoculars to their maximum potential, and where to look for birds in Toronto's biggest park and beyond. Learn how birds change their appearances and their behaviour in the fall and practice your new skills with a guided birding hike to a few of the birding hotspots in High Park, looking for some of the Park's common, rare, and migratory fall birds. The hike is moderate in difficulty.
This workshop is a 2-part series. In the first session (Wednesday) you will meet inside and learn the basics of bird identification. You will learn helpful strategies to ID birds, how to use binoculars, and some common species you are likely to see in early fall during the migration season. All of this will prepare you for the second session (Saturday), when Allyson will lead you on a birding hike through High Park during which you can try out your new skills!
Allyson first became interested in looking at birds at the age of 5, starting with learning ducks because: A. they are big, B. they stay out in the open and don't move much and C. the different species actually look different from each other. This makes them a great "gateway group" of birds to work on identification skills and her passion took flight from there. She has been birding as a hobby ever since and has incorporated it into her education and work throughout her life. She has worked at Presqu'ile Provincial Park as a park naturalist for 10 years, 6 of those as the head naturalist and a summer program co-ordinator. She has done bird-related walks, talks, presentations, demonstrations and talked the ear off of many people who have shown an interest in birds. In addition to looking at birds and educating people about birds, she also participates in research through trapping, tagging and collecting information on wild birds, a process known as bird banding. What started as a chance for 11 year-old Allyson to get to touch the birds she was seeing through her binoculars turned into another lifetime bird-related passion. She earned her bird banding license before her driver's license, in what she believes is a great example of her priorities. She has banded at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory for over 15 years and has banded thousands of birds of over 100 species. She loves birds and sharing her enthusiasm and interest with people and she have been known to stop mid-sentence during a conversation to identify a bird.
Savannah Sketchbook Workshop
With Nellie Sue Potter
Saturday, September 28th @ 2:30 - 5:30 PM
Level: Beginner & Intermediate
This workshop is designed for nature artists and anyone who has ever marvelled at the beauty of High Park’s Black Oak Savannah! With the skilled instruction of botanical artist Nellie Sue Potter, you will learn techniques for drawing plants of the savannah such as wildflowers, black oak trees, and many others. We will be outdoors, weather permitting. If it rains, we will be inside, drawing specimens such as black oak leaves and bark, wildflower seed heads, and other savannah treasures found in High Park in mid-September. This course is suitable for all levels. You will learn: How to get started drawing trees, leaves, and flowers How to achieve natural textures Which details to look for and include in your artwork Art Supplies Provided*: Graphite pencils, grade HB Graphite pencils, grade 2H White vinyl erasers Copier paper & clipboards Pencil sharpeners Paper stomps *Supplies limited Art Supplies Recommended*: Graphite pencils, grades 4B, HB, 2H (or your preferred grades) White vinyl eraser Sketchbook with stiff backing; or sketching paper, tape and drawing board; or copier paper on a clipboard Pencil sharpener *We have limited supplies of these items (see art supplies provided); if you already own these, we recommend you bring them along. A sketchbook is highly recommended. Optional items that each student may wish to bring: Sunhat Water and a snack A portable stool, chair and easel A ruler and magnifying device A device for photographing subjects Paper stomp, about the size of a pencil, or a bit larger ($0.59)
Nellie Sue’s love and appreciation for the natural world is evident in her artwork and art teaching. Her work experience includes working as a botanical illustrator, teaching art to children, and teaching botanical art to adults. Her teaching venues in Toronto include the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Botanical Garden, and now her very own teaching studio, Nature Art Studio, on Dundas Street West, in the Junction area, north of High Park. Nellie Sue has had 3 solo exhibitions in Toronto, including one at Toronto City Hall. She has exhibited with the Botanical Artists of Canada (BAC) in four national exhibitions and has received numerous awards, including first place in 2015. She also exhibits regularly with the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators (SONSI). In 2018, she has 2 artworks in the international exhibition “Botanical Art Worldwide”. Her botanical artwork has also appeared in trail guides and other publications. She is a member of the Botanical Artists of Canada, The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators.
Fantastic Fungal Friends: Mushrooms and Other Fungi of High Park
With Kami Valkova
Sunday, October 6th @12:30 - 4:30 PM
Are you interested in learning about the fantastic world of fungi but not sure where to start? Join High Park Nature Centre naturalist Kami Valkova this fall for a workshop that will introduce you to the world of mycology! In this workshop we will explore: The basics of fungal identification using field guides and hand lenses, The important ecological roles that fungi play in woodland ecosystems, Some of the many species of fungi that can be found in High Park. We will begin indoors for an introduction, then head outside for a guided hike through High Park! We will search for fungi, practice our ID skills, and delve into the connection between fungi and the rest of the forest. The hike will be approximately 2 hours long, and of moderate difficulty. Please note that this is not a foraging workshop. We will not be collecting or consuming any fungi on our hike.
Kami Valkova joined the Nature Centre team in 2017 and has since been putting her background in ecology, psychology, and education to good use! At the HPNC Kami is a naturalist teacher and she also coordinates the Nature Clubs programs. Her favourite part about working at the HPNC is getting to share her enthusiasm for nature with program participants, and encouraging them to ask questions. Kami’s interest in fungi began in high school biology, when she first learned about their astounding biodiversity and important role in forest ecosystems. Being surrounded by other nature enthusiasts has only intensified that interest; follow Kami on Instagram (@thefungalnaturalist) to find out more about her nature adventures!
Nurturing Through Nature: A Workshop for Early Childhood Educators
With Jon Hayes & Kami Valkova
Sunday, October 20th @ 12:30 - 4:30 PM
Geared towards early childhood educators, this workshop will explore interactive methods and activities to help get toddlers and pre-schoolers out into nature in their local ecology. This workshop hopes to aid educators in incorporating nature and outdoor time into their programming. You will: - Learn practical tips for engaging children from 6 months – 5 years in nature-based experiences that are relevant for a wide range of outdoor spaces (daycare yards, school yards, local parks, etc.) - Be empowered to address obstacles to getting preschoolers out in nature in an urban setting. - Explore theory about outdoor education and engage in meaningful discussions on this topic with a group of your peers, facilitated by the workshop leaders. - Participate in relevant hands-on activities you’ll be able to use in your practice. - Spend outdoor time on the trails of High Park to practice new skills in nature. What to bring: - A notebook and pen or pencil - Warm clothing layers, depending on the weather - Comfortable shoes or boots - Your enthusiasm for nature!
Jon Hayes joined the HPNC team in 2006. After receiving his Bachelor of Education at OISE/UofT, Jon fell in love with teaching in an outdoor setting and has been doing it ever since. Jon looks for ways to connect people of all ages with their local ecology through immersive, hands-on experiences. Jon has also taught at Toronto Botanical Garden.
Kami Valkova joined the Nature Centre team in 2017 and has since been putting her background in ecology, psychology, and education to good use! At the HPNC Kami is a naturalist teacher and she also coordinates the Nature Clubs programs. Her favourite part about working at the HPNC is getting to share her enthusiasm for nature with program participants, and encouraging them to ask questions. Follow Kami on Instagram (@thefungalnaturalist) to find out more about her nature adventures!
Our adult workshops are organized into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Please click the drop-down menu below to read a description of each.
You are just beginning to learn about this topic and/or practice these skills. You may have engaged occasionally with this topic/activity, or not at all, and you are looking to expand your knowledge and skill set.
You have spent time learning about this topic or practicing these skills over a period of time. You have regularly engaged with this topic/activity, and likely have about one year of experience. You are looking to challenge yourself with an added layer of knowledge and technique.
You have spent considerable time learning about this topic or practicing these skills. You have regularly engaged with this topic/activity, and likely have years of experience. Workshops at this level will be aimed at experienced naturalists to learn from an expert in the field.
Summer Wildflower ID - July 22
Summer Tree ID - August 12
From Houndstongue to Shepherd's Purse: Wildflower Names and Their Meanings - August 19
Spring Birding for Beginners - May 8 & 11
Spring Wildflower ID - May 26
Teachers in Nature - January 26
Winter Bird Photography - February 2
Winter Tree ID for Beginners - February 3
Nature Journaling: Origins of Citizen Science - March 2
Birds of Prey - September 27 & 29
Making Friends with Places: A Passage de Toronto - October 9 & 11
Fall Wildflowers - October 13
Autumn Tree Drawing - October 21
An Introduction to Mushrooms and Other Fungi - October 27
Poisons, Spines & Blisters: Plants with a Dark Side - July 12
Dragonflies and Damselflies 101: Biology and Identification - July 28
Friend or Foe: The Intriguing World of Weeds - August 9
Butterflies 101: Biology and Identification - August 18
Outdoor Play in the Early Years - April 21
Spring Birding for Beginners - May 3 & 5 (Two-Part Beginner Workshop)
Spring Songbirds - May 24 & 26 (Two-Part Intermediate Workshop)
Intro to Landscape Drawing in the High Park Savannah - June 17
High Park Lichens - Feb. 10
Winter Landscape Photography – Mar. 3
Birds of Prey – Mar. 4
Winter Tree ID for Beginners - Mar. 24
Programs take place at the High Park Nature Centre located at near the High Park Avenue main gates at 375 Colborne Lodge Drive (also known as the Forest School).
Pre-registration is required for all programs. Registration cannot be confirmed until payment has been received.
Programs are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Requests for refunds made 14 or more days before the start of the program will receive a 90% refund (10% will be retained as an administration fee). Requests for refunds made less than 14 days before the start of the program will receive no refund. Requests for cancellations or refunds must be made in writing and submitted by email to email@example.com. A doctor’s note may be required for cancellations due to medical reasons. Refunds are not granted for inclement weather.
Please note, the High Park Nature Centre may cancel any event if the minimum number of participants is not achieved 14 days prior to the date of the workshop. We will notify registered participants of cancellation at that time and provide a full refund.
Programs will proceed rain, snow or shine. Please be sure to dress appropriately for the weather as workshops include outdoor time. In the case of severe weather such as heavy rain, thunderstorms, snowstorms or high winds over 35 km per hour, the workshop may take place indoors.
We have set an Inclement Weather Date for some workshops that take place entirely outdoors or when weather would greatly affect the program (ie a birding hike). If there is an Inclement Weather Date set, our policy is as follows: At the discretion of the workshop leader, the outdoor portion of this workshop may need to be rescheduled due to severe weather such as a snowstorm, thunderstorm, extreme cold alert or high winds. In this situation, the Nature Centre will email participants at least one and half hours prior to the program start time.
Lastly, we advise wearing long pants, socks and long sleeved tops to protect against poison ivy. If you have any questions please call our office at 416-392-1748.