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Adult Workshops

Adult Workshops

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

Summer 2019 Workshops

To register for a Summer Workshop, click on the button below or click: HERE

Summer Workshops
Summer Tree ID Workshop - August 12

Summer Tree ID Workshop

With Nousheen Ahmed

Monday, August 12 @ 6:00 - 9:00 PM


Level: Beginner and Intermediate


Identifying trees can be a challenge in any season, but in summer it can be hard to see the trees for the forest! This workshop will begin indoors with a discussion of what to look for when identifying trees, and building up a vocabulary of tree morphology - learning about leaf shape, twig arrangement, etc. You will then go on a guided hike throughout High Park, putting these newly developed skills to use, identifying trees (and some shrubs), along some of the High Parks trails. Participants can expect to leave this workshop with some handouts, including identification keys, that will help them recall and use the ID skills learned during the workshop. Please arrive at the workshop dressed for the weather, and carry a reusable water bottle. 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. She is particularly interested in conservation, specifically the preservation of natural areas in the concrete jungle of Toronto. Her work with the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department involves organizing forestry restoration projects in many of Toronto's wild spaces. A hike with this proud ‘Nature Nerd’ provides an exploratory journey of the natural world with frequent stops to take photos and identify the surrounding flora.

From Houndstongue to Shepherd's Purse: Wildflower Names and Their Meanings - August 19

From Houndstongue to Shepherd's Purse: Wildflower Names and Their Meanings

With Richard Aaron

Monday, August 19 @ 6:00 - 9:00 PM


Level: Beginner & Intermediate


Explore the intriguing stories behind wildflower names, both common and scientific. Discover names that allude to physical features, resemblance to objects, habitats, past or present uses, honoured individuals, folklore, and much more. Whether native or introduced, valued or merely a "weed," wildflower names have many a story to tell. The majority of our time will be spent outdoors. 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:

  • discover the various ways in which wildflowers get their names
  • learn the intriguing stories behind many of these names
  • play "detective" trying to solve some of these names on your own
  • view a selection of plant name dictionaries, some over 130 years old!

At the end of the workshop, participants will leave with a completed worksheet, as well as a list of books they can consult for future reference. Please come to this workshop wearing comfortable close-toed footwear. The hike will be easy/moderate in difficulty (paved or hard-packed trails with some incline).


Instructor Bio:

Richard Aaron is interested in many facets of the natural world, with a particular fondness for plants, fungi, insects, and biomimicry. Over the years, he has done walks, workshops and lectures for over 90 organizations, ranging from naturalist clubs to universities, including a stint as a summer staff naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park. He has written articles for several leading nature magazines, and also co-founded two citizen science projects: one a multi-year survey of dragonflies & damselflies in Rouge National Urban Park, the other an ongoing study of moths in High Park. Richard places a premium on experiential learning whether it’s examining a flower through a hand lens, netting an insect (for later release), or making a mushroom spore print. He strongly encourages intellectual curiosity, while acknowledging that sometimes the best questions are those that lack clear-cut answers.Richard has been conducting adult workshops for the High Park Nature Centre since 2012. His website is at

Delving Into the Dark: Investigating Nocturnal Invertebrates - August 26

Delving Into the Dark: Investigating Nocturnal Invertebrates

With Don Scallen

Monday, August 26th @ 7:00 - 9:30 PM


Level: Beginner

Invertebrates, to quote E.O. Wilson, are the little things that run the world. They underpin the vitality of vertebrate life. Simply put, more invertebrates – insects, arachnids, crustaceans – translate into more birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Many of these invertebrates are more active after dark and for good reason: fewer sharp-eyed birds are active then. This workshop will introduce participants to the world of nocturnal invertebrates.

The indoor segment will feature images of invertebrates, especially caterpillars, taken by Don Scallen after sunset. Don hopes to have some living specimens on hand too. He will also explain the rather straightforward practice of nocturnal invertebrate discovery: where and when to search, plant species to focus on, and how to prepare bait to attract moths. Outdoors we’ll use flashlights and headlamps to search foliage for caterpillars, spiders, sleeping dragonflies and other invertebrates. We’ll attempt to ID any creatures we find. We’ll also check moth “bait” that Don will paint on a few trees prior to the session.

You needn’t any special knowledge of insects and invertebrates to participate in this workshop. Curiosity is the sole prerequisite. Participants will receive a list of publications and organizations they can access to learn more. The walk will be easy. We’ll explore an area near the nature centre that has plenty of native trees and shrubs. Please dress according to the forecast. If you wish to record any of the outdoor findings at the workshop, a camera or phone camera is recommended but not required.


Instructor Bio:

Don Scallen is a teacher, a writer and a lifelong naturalist. Many of his articles can be found at He has also written for Escarpment News magazine and On Nature, published by Ontario Nature. Don is president of the Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club He leads annual hikes and workshops for High Park Walking Tours (Tree identification and Caterpillars), Ontario Nature’s Youth Nature Camp (Freshwater Life), Royal Botanical Gardens (Tree Identification) and the Bruce Trail Conservancy (Tree Identification). He frequently speaks to naturalist clubs and environmental organizations.

Workshop Levels

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.

Past Workshops

Spring 2019 Workshops

Spring Birding for Beginners - May 8 & 11
Spring Wildflower ID - May 26

Winter 2019 Workshops

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

Fall 2018 Workshops

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

Summer 2018 Workshops

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

Spring 2018 Workshops

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

Winter 2018 Workshops

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.

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 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.

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