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Adult Workshops

Adult Workshops

Our workshops are aimed at an adult audience looking to learn more about nature. No previous knowledge is required!  

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 naturecentre@highpark.org or by calling 416-392-1748.  Our Office Hours are between 9am – 4pm, Monday – Friday.


Summer 2018 Workshops

Poisons, Spines & Blisters: Plants with a Dark Side - July 12

Poisons, Spines & Blisters: Plants with a Dark Side 

Thursday, July 12th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM

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While interacting with the plant world is typically a safe pastime, in this workshop you will be introduced to a select group of High Park plants that can cause harm to humans. The first two hours will be spent outdoors getting acquainted with these potentially harmful species, with the final hour devoted to an enlightening slideshow presentation discussing other plants in the GTA to avoid. Your instructor will be Richard Aaron, a popular naturalist and educator who has done many programs for the Nature Centre over the years.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Be shown plants in High Park to avoid
  • Find out what sort of risk each of these plants poses
  • Become enlightened about other harmful plants found in the GTA
  • Discuss various folk & modern remedies

The outdoor component of this workshop will take place entirely on High Park trails that are considered moderate in length and terrain.

Instructor Bio:

Richard Aaron has been studying the natural world for over 30 years. He is highly regarded for his passion, encyclopedic knowledge and communication skills. His main areas of interest are plants, trees, fungi, slime moulds, dragonflies & damselflies, moths and biomimicry. Over the years, he has done walks, workshops and lectures for more than 85 organizations ranging from naturalist clubs to universities, including a stint as a staff naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park. Richard has been conducting adult workshops for the High Park Nature Centre since 2012. His website is at http://natureknowledge.weebly.com.

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Plants with a Dark Side workshop is: Thursday, July 19th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

Cancellation Policies: Please see our website for information regarding cancellation at www.highparknaturecentre.com/a...

Cost:
$40 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance - June 21)
$45 Regular
$33 Seniors (age 60+)

Dragonflies and Damselflies 101: Biology and Identification - July 28

Dragonflies and Damselflies 101: Biology and Identification

Saturday, July 28th, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

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Join David d’Entremont as he dives into a whirlwind tour of the Odonata – the amazing and ancient group of flying insects that includes Dragonflies and Damselflies.

In this workshop you will:

  • Learn about Dragonfly and Damselfly biology and anatomy
  • Learn how to identify various species
  • Practise your new skills outside as we search for Dragonflies and Damselflies in High Park

This workshop will begin indoors, followed by an outdoor component in High Park.  The hike will be moderate in difficulty.

Instructor Bio:

David d'Entremont is an enthusiastic naturalist and Butterfly/Odonata aficionado who has been working in terrestrial ecology since 2010. David is a graduate of the University of Guelph, where he completed his B.Sc. Honours in Biological Science. Originally working in nature education at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory and Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens, he quickly gravitated towards work in field ecology, and has spent much of his time working as a field ecologist for the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority (Mississauga). He now works as a Terrestrial Ecologist with Azimuth Environmental Consulting, Inc. (Barrie), where he is involved in a wide variety of projects including surveys and monitoring of ecosystems, birds, reptiles, insects, plants, and species at risk, as well as habitat restoration. David is passionate about many aspects of the environment, but since childhood has gravitated towards insects. Over the course of his working career, he has become ever-more fascinated by the Odonata and Lepidoptera, and he has assisted with and spearheaded a number of official and volunteer surveys in hopes of increasing our regional knowledge of these fascinating groups. David enjoys having the opportunity to share his passion for and knowledge of Ontario's rich natural heritage with others when possible!

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Dragonflies and Damselflies 101 workshop is: Sunday, July 29th, 1:00 – 5:00 PM.

Cancellation Policies: Please see our website for information regarding cancellation at www.highparknaturecentre.com/a...

Cost:
$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)

Friend or Foe: The Intriguing World of Weeds - August 9

Friend or Foe: The Intriguing World of Weeds

Thursday, August 9th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM

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Contrary to popular belief, weeds, those pariahs of the plant world, are actually quite fascinating. This workshop will consider weeds from an uncommon perspective – that of a naturalist. We will consider what weeds are, look at their amazing survival skills, ponder some of the behaviours that have garnered them a bad rep, and celebrate the ways many weeds can be used. By the end of this workshop, you might even gain some respect for these botanical outcasts. Your instructor will be Richard Aaron, a popular naturalist and educator who has done many programs for the Nature Centre over the years.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Learn what a weed is (there are several definitions)
  • Find out how weeds got here & how they spread
  • Discover what makes weeds so successful
  • Identify dozens of weed species growing in High Park
  • Discover some of their uses (edible, medicinal, etc.)
  • Learn about the detrimental effects of weeds

This workshop will take place entirely outdoors on High Park trails that are considered moderate in length and terrain.

Instructor Bio:

Richard Aaron has been studying the natural world for over 30 years. He is highly regarded for his passion, encyclopedic knowledge and communication skills. His main areas of interest are plants, trees, fungi, slime moulds, dragonflies & damselflies, moths and biomimicry. Over the years, he has done walks, workshops and lectures for more than 85 organizations ranging from naturalist clubs to universities, including a stint as a staff naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park. Richard has been conducting adult workshops for the High Park Nature Centre since 2012. His website is at http://natureknowledge.weebly.com.

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Intriguing World of Weeds workshop is: Thursday, August 16th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

Cancellation Policies: Please see our website for information regarding cancellation at www.highparknaturecentre.com/a...

Cost:
$40 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$45 Regular
$33 Seniors (age 60+)

Butterflies 101: Biology and Identification - August 18

Butterflies 101: Biology and Identification 

Saturday, August 18th, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

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Join David d’Entremont as he delves into the colourful and fascinating world of Butterflies – the curious and other-worldly insects known for their strange life cycle and striking visual style.

In this workshop you will:

  • Learn about Butterfly biology and anatomy
  • Learn how to identify various species
  • Practise your new skills outside as we search for Butterflies in High Park

This workshop will begin indoors, followed by an outdoor component in High Park.  The hike will be moderate in difficulty.

Instructor Bio:

David d'Entremont is an enthusiastic naturalist and Butterfly/Odonata aficionado who has been working in terrestrial ecology since 2010. David is a graduate of the University of Guelph, where he completed his B.Sc. Honours in Biological Science. Originally working in nature education at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory and Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens, he quickly gravitated towards work in field ecology, and has spent much of his time working as a field ecologist for the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority (Mississauga). He now works as a Terrestrial Ecologist with Azimuth Environmental Consulting, Inc. (Barrie), where he is involved in a wide variety of projects including surveys and monitoring of ecosystems, birds, reptiles, insects, plants, and species at risk, as well as habitat restoration. David is passionate about many aspects of the environment, but since childhood has gravitated towards insects. Over the course of his working career, he has become ever-more fascinated by the Odonata and Lepidoptera, and he has assisted with and spearheaded a number of official and volunteer surveys in hopes of increasing our regional knowledge of these fascinating groups. David enjoys having the opportunity to share his passion for and knowledge of Ontario's rich natural heritage with others when possible!

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Butterflies 101 workshop is: Sunday, August 19th, 1:00 – 5:00 PM.

Cancellation Policies: Please see our website for information regarding cancellation at www.highparknaturecentre.com/a...

Cost:
$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)

Register for Summer Workshops

Spring 2018 Workshops

Outdoor Play in the Early Years - April 21

Outdoor Play in the Early Years

April 21st, 2:00 - 5:00 PM

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Join experienced early years educators and naturalists Sinéad Rafferty and Claire McCann for a workshop which will focus on the importance of getting children outside in their early years and include practical approaches on how to incorporate outdoor education into the lives of children under 5 years old.  Whether you are an early years educator or a caregiver, this workshop is meant to inspire you to tune more deeply into your surroundings, so you, and the little ones in your life, may delve deeper into nature together.

Instructor Bios:

Claire McCann (BEd) is an experienced educator who takes children outside to explore the natural world in all seasons and weathers. She previously worked at High Park Nature Centre as a naturalist teacher, where she planned and facilitated early years programming for children and their caregivers. She has also worked in several downtown child care locations in Toronto and currently works in the Kensington Market area at a Montessori School. Claire is a member of the Council for Outdoor Educators in Ontario (COEO).       

Sinéad Rafferty is a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) with a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES), and her graduate research focused on pedagogies for childhood, nature and place in early childhood education. Sinéad integrates play-based ecological literacy approaches in her daily work with preschool children at the University of Toronto Early Learning Centre and facilitates an early years Forest School program with the Kortright Centre for Conservation.

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Outdoor Play in the Early Years workshop is: April 22nd, 2:00 - 5:00 PM.

Cost:
$55 Regular

Spring Birding for Beginners - May 3 & 5 (Two-Part Beginner Workshop)

Spring Birding for Beginners 

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Part 1: May 3rd, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Indoors
Part 2: May 5th, 8:00 - 10:00 AM, Outdoors

In this two-part workshop, learn the basics of birding from naturalist and long-time birdwatcher, Zak Smith. This workshop will teach you how to identify birds by sight and sound, 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. Practice your new skills with a guided birding hike to a few of the birding hotspots in High Park and look for some of the Park's common, rare, and migratory Spring birds. The hike is moderate in difficulty.

Instructor Bio:
Zak is a long time lover of nature, avid birder, and teacher for the Toronto District School Board. He has always found the beauty, complexity, artistry, and musicality of our avian friends fascinating and humbling. He has taught the basics of birdwatching to children and adults, learning more and more from those he's introduced to birding, and the birds themselves, each time he teaches workshops. He has taught experiential nature programs for students in schools and in High Park, as well as workshops for the Toronto Botanical Gardens on birding. He welcomes all to share in his passion and hopes to help ignite the same passion in others to intersect their lives with the nature around them, where it's always waiting to be connected with.

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Spring Birding for Beginners workshop is: May 6th, 8:00 - 10:00 AM.Cost:

$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)

Spring Songbirds - May 24 & 26 (Two-Part Intermediate Workshop)

Spring Songbirds

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Part 1: May 24th, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Indoors
Part 2: 
May 26th, 7:00 - 9:00 AM, Outdoors

It's called birdwatching, but it should be called bird-listening! Birds of all kinds are known for their incredible songs and calls, and birding by ear is a sure way to find and appreciate all sorts of bird life that aren't obvious to the eye. Learn the basics of birding by ear and all about the common bird songs and calls of High Park.  In this workshop we will cover: Different types of bird vocalizations (songs, calls, chips), as well as what they are for and how they help birds communicate; The main types and categories of bird songs; The common bird songs heard in High Park and beyond; Tips and tricks for distinguishing between similar songs.  The hike is moderate in difficulty.

Instructor Bio: Emily Rondel is the Toronto Projects Coordinator for Bird Studies Canada. In this role, she plans public bird monitoring efforts within the GTA to track the diversity and health of our urban avian populations. She also provides outreach and education to create local support for Bird Studies Canada's national efforts such as Project FeederWatch and the Christmas Bird Count.  Emily gets out of the city every field season, when she leads a research program on Golden-winged Warblers and investigates their widespread decline.  She is also the Records Councillor of the Toronto Ornithological Club.

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Spring Songbirds workshop is: June 2nd, 7:00 - 9:00 AM.

Cost:
$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)

Intro to Landscape Drawing in the High Park Savannah - June 17

Intro to Landscape Drawing in the High Park Savannah

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June 17th, 2:00 - 5:00 PM

Enjoy a nature-filled afternoon in High Park drawing the stunning Black Oak Savannah.  Participants will learn the fundamentals of landscape composition and classic drawing techniques using dry media, while finding inspiration in the natural surroundings.  Each student will receive individual attention from art instructor Alan Li.  Beginners are welcome!  The hike is moderate in difficulty.

Materials extra - please bring the following:
- HB & 3B artist quality graphite pencils (eg. Faber-Castell, Staedtler)
- Gray kneadable eraser
- Pencil sharpener
- Paper stump or paper towel for blending
- 9x12 to 11x14 inch sketchbook or loose sheets clipped to a drawing board 
- Paper should be thick (110 lb is good) and have a slight texture
- Folding chair or portable stool
- Sun hat, water and snacks

Instructor Bio:
Alan Li is a visual artist with a focus on nature.  He supports conservation efforts through the sale of his artwork and is active in volunteering.  Alan grew up near the Niagara Escarpment and spent much of his childhood exploring the cliffs and forests.  He currently pursues his own projects, teaches nature drawing workshops and collaborates with grassroots environmental groups.  www.alanlidrawings.com

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Inclement Weather Date:  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, freezing rain, 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.  The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Landscape Drawing workshop is: June 24th, 2:00 - 5:00 PM.

Cost:
$45 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$50 Regular
$39 Seniors (age 60+)


Register for Spring Workshops

Past Workshops

Winter 2018 Workshops

High Park Lichens - Feb. 10

High Park Lichens: Discover the “Corals” of the Forest 

Feb. 10th, 2018 12-4pm

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Lichens are composite organisms comprised of a fungus and photosynthesizing partner, which is usually an alga, but it can also be a cyanobacterium, or both! Like ocean coral, this unique relationship results in a wide variety of rich colours, diverse forms, and they are sensitive to pollution. Their intolerance to air pollution means you will not see them in many areas of Toronto, but you will in High Park, which acts as a refuge for these sensitive species. Join us to learn about the ecological function of lichens and their uses in science, medicine, food, and space! There will be a presentation, field time, and lab time in the Nature Centre learning how to identify species in the park. Please bring a hand lens and a dissecting/stereo microscope if you have one. Hand lenses will also be provided. A key to the lichens in the region will also be provided and regional field guides will be available for purchase. The hike will be moderate in length and difficulty.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Troy McMullin is a research scientist in lichenology at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. He is one of the few authorities on North American lichens. His research has taken him from the Arctic to the Everglades and California to Newfoundland. Troy has also done considerable research in southern ON and in the Toronto area.

Cost:
$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)

Winter Landscape Photography – Mar. 3

Winter Landscape Photography 

Mar. 3rd, 2018 1:30-5:30pm

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Winter…. a time of pristine snow, sparkling icicles and frost-covered trees. So, don’t hide inside! Put down that hot drink, leave the cozy fire, and join us for a winter landscape photography workshop in the beautiful grounds of High Park. Photographer Sylvia Galbraith will host a discussion and visual presentation on the unique challenges of winter photography. Topics will include exposures & lighting, protecting your equipment from the cold, lenses & equipment for landscape photography & more. We’ll explore choosing winter subjects and study creative compositions. Then we’ll head outside to practice, with a fun photographic scavenger hunt included. Suitable for all skill levels and camera types.

What you’ll learn:

- Exposure control for winter lighting 
- How to protect your camera from the cold 
- Creative compositions & ideas 
- Learning to see textures and details 
- Using camera controls for abstract photos

Required supplies:

- Camera, any type + extra lenses 
- Fully charged battery 
- Lots of memory card space 
- Warm mitts, coat, boots & hat 
- Notebook & pen

Optional: 

- Snow pants (or wind/waterproof pants) 
- Tripod Water and nut-free snack

Inclement Weather Date: 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, freezing rain, 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. The rescheduled Inclement Weather date for the Winter Landscape Photography is: Saturday, March 10 1:30-5:30pm.

Instructor Bio

Sylvia Galbraith is a well-known landscape, documentary and commercial photographer whose photographs have won many awards over the past 30 years. She exhibits her work throughout Canada and teaches photography at Conestoga College in Kitchener, and the University of Guelph’s Arboretum, for all ages. Sylvia is happiest shooting in remote locations in challenging weather, and has participated in artists’ residencies in Alberta, Northern Ontario and Newfoundland. Many of her abstract landscape photographs are from these locations and will be exhibited for the first time this coming May at Abbozzo Gallery in Toronto as part of the annual Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Her workshops are fun and inspirational, and offer ideas and tips for photographers of all skill levels. You can see Sylvia’s work at www.sylviagalbraith.ca 

Cost:
$55 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$65 Regular
$52 Seniors (age 60+)

Birds of Prey – Mar. 4

Birds of Prey 

Mar. 4th, 2018 2-6pm

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Learn all about High Park’s Birds of Prey from expert birder Emily Rondel! In this adult nature workshop you will learn: the amazing adaptations all birds of prey share, how to identify High Park’s raptors by sight and sound, how to use a field guide and binoculars to their maximum potential, and where to look for birds of prey in Toronto’s biggest park. The workshop will include a birding hike, which will take participants to some raptor hot spots in High Park.

This workshop is open for all levels of birders, including beginner. The birding hike will be moderate in difficulty.

Instructor Bio

Emily Rondel is the Toronto Projects Coordinator for Bird Studies Canada. In this role, she plans public bird monitoring efforts within the GTA to track the diversity and health of our urban avian populations. She also provides outreach and education to create local support for Bird Studies Canada’s national efforts such as Project FeederWatch and the Christmas Bird Count. She is also the Records Councillor of the Toronto Ornithological Club. 

Cost:
$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)

Winter Tree ID for Beginners - Mar. 24

Winter Tree ID for Beginners 

Mar. 24th, 2018 2-6pm

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Build skills, knowledge and learn how to identify the trees of Ontario while they sleep. This workshop will be led by Nousheen Ahmed and will begin indoors with a discussion of what to look for when identifying trees in winter– bark, twigs, buds and tree shape. You will then go on a guided hike on some of the lesser known nature trails of High Park to practice your new skills by identifying a variety of trees. This course is recommended for the beginner-to-intermediate tree observer. Dress in layers for both indoor and outdoor learning. The hike will be moderate in length and difficulty.

Instructor Bio

Nousheen Ahmed is an experienced forest ecologist who has always loved the natural world. This love compelled her to study Ecosystem Management at Sir Sandford Fleming College, and later to a establish a career with the City of Toronto Forestry Department. She currently works to restore Toronto’s wild spaces, including High Park. A hike with this self-described ‘Nature Nerd’ provides an exploratory journey of the natural world with frequent stops to take photos and identify the surrounding flora.

Cost:
$50 Early Bird (Must register at least three weeks in advance)
$60 Regular
$44 Seniors (age 60+)


Policies

Location

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).

Registration

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. 

Cancellation Policy

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 naturecentre@highpark.org.  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.

Weather

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.

Copyright 2017 - High Park Nature Centre