News Release
August 12, 2020

Mayor John Tory today announced that starting next week, the City will resume its Forestry Community Stewardship Program. The program involves hands-on work by volunteers to support and encourage native biodiversity in various ecologically sensitive sites across Toronto. Volunteer teams will begin stewardship activities by mid-August.

Community stewardship volunteers help restore the natural integrity of Toronto’s green spaces by planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers, which contribute to the growth of Toronto’s urban forest. By participating in the program, volunteers can:

  • Learn more about native trees, shrubs and invasive species
  • Learn how to plant a tree and other native plants
  • Participate in a wide-range of environmental stewardship activities
  • Meet new people, make new friendships and network within the community
  • Gain experience and develop leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Acquire documented volunteer hours

Participants work in a team that is guided by an experienced volunteer team leader. Each team visits a specific site once a week until September. The City expects to provide additional events throughout the fall to help restore our green spaces, reduce the impact of invasive species and keep our parks clean throughout the year.

Participants must be at least 14 years of age or be accompanied by legal guardian. Stewardship activities include weeding invasive and non-native plant species, planting native species, watering vegetation, mulching trees, collecting litter, maintaining bird boxes and building habitat brush bundles. Participants also monitor site-specific conditions including water chemistry and levels, birds, vegetation and aquatic animals.

The program was suspended in March as part of the City’s response to COVID-19. The Forestry Community Stewardship Program will resume this summer in a modified format to meet provincial restrictions and public health recommendations.

Changes to the program include:

  • Team sizes are limited to 10 individuals including City staff
  • Each participant will complete a health screening prior to and at the start of each event
  • Participants must practise physical distancing and use a mask or other facial covering when distancing cannot be ensured
  • Equipment must not be shared among participants

Participants should continue to follow Toronto Public Health’s advice to stay home when they are ill, wash hands often, practise physical distancing and wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces and when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Volunteer involvement is critical to increasing public awareness of Toronto’s ecologically sensitive areas and sustaining them for future generations.

Information about volunteer opportunities and the Community Stewardship Program is available online.

More information about the City’s ravine strategy is also available online.


“Torontonians have always displayed an interest in helping clean up our parks and green spaces. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the work required to tidy up our parks remains. Our community stewardship volunteers will help us restore the remarkable nature found in our city and grow our urban forest for people and wildlife alike. By cleaning up our city’s parks and green spaces we can create an environment for residents to enjoy. I encourage Torontonians to consider volunteering their time at one of eight natural sites across the city this year through this this volunteer program.”
– Mayor John Tory

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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