Keep sending in those camper information forms The toner is replaced and the paper tray is full! It’s hard to believe that camp is only 2 weeks away! Our last school program for the season is on Tuesday and our Camp Staff Training starts on Wednesday. It just flies by so fast. We can’t wait to see everyone at camp this summer!
We’re very excited by the number of camper information forms and media releases we’ve received over the past couple of months! Thank You to those of you that have gotten them in It makes things so much easier and makes for much simpler Monday mornings!
Alas unfortunately our fax machine is out of toner at the moment so you’ll have a little more time to get your forms in. We’re trying to get it replaced by Friday afternoon but we’ll see how that goes.
If you need Camper Information Forms, the Media Release or the extra medical forms if your camper takes medicine or carries an epi pen then go to our Eco Camp Parent Handbook Page and you can download them from there. Our Parent Handbooks will also give you all the info you need to make sure your little camper will have a great time at Eco Camp!
If you have recently signed up your child for camp or end up getting a spot from our waiting list please get your forms in as soon as possible. We’re looking forward to a fantastic summer! The Garden is already in full swing and our campers will have a great time watering, harvesting and eating all those yummy fruits and veggies (I mean seriously you should see the gooseberries we’re going to have!). We’ll see you soon!
“Imagine our City lead by a generation of lifelong gardeners and naturalists”
~ vision of the Children’s Eco Programs
This is your official invitation to our Birthday Party Bash! We’re throwing a fun-filled Garden Birthday Party on Sunday, June 2, 2013 from Noon to 4 pm here at the Children’s Garden in High Park and we want you there to help us celebrate!
It’s hard to believe we’ve been around for 15 years! It feels like just yesterday when we started our first garden program in High park and our first hike on Toronto’s Discovery Walk Trails.
In the summer of 2000 we ran our first week of Eco Camp as a pilot project. We now offer four different camps, two of which run for 8 weeks of programming throughout the summer. Plus with the addition of our Children’s Teaching Kitchen we now offer environmental education programs throughout the year.
The High Park Children’s Garden was also a one year pilot project (we seem to have a pretty good track record with these ). It was created back in the spring of 1998 in an old, rarely used parking lot. The community had safety concerns about the south end of High Park so instead of increasing the police presence in the park the City decided to try something different.
They wanted to build something that would bring the community back to the area. The City decided to add a Children’s Garden and children’s programs to the old parking lot and Picnic Shelter … I think it’s safe to say … it really worked! We now have over 5000 visitors to the Children’s Garden every year and that’s just for our programs. Many folks enjoy a walk through our Garden and kids love to run through the “maze” of the ABC garden beds.
Here’s the ultimate “before” shot It seems so bare!
As we said … the Garden was a pilot project. It’s almost as if they didn’t think we would be around long enough to warrant digging up all the asphalt. Each bed has a small amount of parking lot cut out underneath for drainage … this means all they had to do was pull out the beds and pave in the missing pieces if the programming didn’t work out.
Even though they thought we wouldn’t last … we are very glad they left the asphalt in place! The paved surface and our raised beds make the Children’s Garden fully accessible. We love the fact that anyone can come and visit our Garden to learn about growing (and eating ) organic fruits and veggies!
As the years progressed, our programming grew. We used more and more of our garden harvest for cooking programs and feeding folks during our events. This meant lots of dishes done in cold water and creative cooking set-ups.
Sadly that tree is no longer there … but we do have a nifty new Children’s Teaching Kitchen sign you should check out next time you stop by!
Over the years many parents have been astounded by the willingness of their children to do dishes at the Garden (they’re often astounded by the fact they eat vegetables there too!). It must have been the novelty of the Rubbermaid bin set up we used.
For our events we would have to drag our “kitchen” around in 10 – 15 of those Rubbermaid bins back and forth to the Rec Centre we used to cook the food, to the Garden the next day to serve the food and back to our office near King and Strachan to clean everything up and store it … whew!
Not only was all this travelling back and forth a waste of time and gas, we also found that our Youth Cooking Program Participants, who helped us cook all this food, missed out on the important steps of growing and harvesting the fruits and vegetables they cooked with. It was also very time consuming for our Program Instructors and Camp Counsellors when they cooked with veggies during our school and camp programs.
So in 2004 an idea came to mind … an idea to add a kitchen to the Children’s Garden site. The idea was to use the original footprint of the shelter for the building and create a healthy, environmentally sustainable space for everyone to enjoy.
After seven years of research, planning … and good old City of Toronto red-tape, our straw bale Children’s Teaching Kitchen was finally under way! Check out From Caterpillar … for the full Kitchen construction story.
With the addition of this wonderful Kitchen we now have the opportunity to show children and community members the whole growing and cooking process of our food.
We’ve started many new cooking programs and children are learning to eat more veggies than ever before!
We are so happy to be able to provide our community and the City with such great programs and we thank you for all of your support and enthusiasm over the past 15 years!
See you at the Party
Spring has (hopefully!) finally sprung and Eco Camp is just around the corner! We’ve posted our new Eco Camp Parent Handbooks and Camper Information Forms and we’ll be mailing them out to our registered campers within the next two weeks. Check out the information available and get ready for a great summer of Eco Camp!
Every Year we are fortunate enough to help out a new Recreation or Community Centre start up their own Eco Programs. We love to spread such fun gardening and nature education programs across the City! This year we’re working with Curran Hall Community Centre in Scarborough with organic gardening and nature programs for children. There’s even an Adventure Eco Camp starting this year. Check out their programs below or click here and help spread the word to friends and family in the east end.
It’s time to start thinking about this year’s Spring Programs and Summer Camp registrations! The first day of registration for Spring Programs & Summer Eco Camps is Saturday, March 2nd, 2013. Registration opens at 7 am and many of our camps book up fast. Make sure to be ready with our Summer Camp Barcode cheat sheet and a strong cup of coffee For Spring Cooking Program information click here.
Our Spring Cooking Program information is available on our Cooking With Veggies page! So here’s a little reminder of last year’s Registration Preparation Post
Are you ready? It’s that time of year once again! Time to hit the phones/internet/Community Centre and register your child for summer camp programming!
Registration Start Date:
High Park Eco Camps - Saturday, Mar. 2, 2013 starting at 7 am
We know it’s a little nutty trying to phone in or go online at 7 am on a Saturday morning (why is it always Saturday for the West end?!) to register your kids for camp. So we’ve prepared a little checklist for everyone to work from that includes a list of our barcodes and the themes to each week of camp. Hopefully you will now have everything you need for crack of dawn re-dialing and page refreshing.
Just try to keep conscious enough to NOT hit refresh or hang up when you finally get through (I’m pretty sure we’ve all “been there, done that” at one point in time!)
- Coffee, Tea or hot beverage of choice (for us non-morning folk … put everything out the night before so you can wake up just before 7 with caffeine available For morning folk … please tell me your secret! How do you do it!?) Continue reading
Happy New Year Everyone! We hope you enjoyed your holidays We’re back at work with a new March Break Eco Camp to look forward to! We can’t tell you how excited we are to offer you this great program.
For years folks have been asking us about March Break Eco Camp, however, with only Picnic Shelter #16 to keep everyone covered, we’ve had to say no. Fortunately our beautiful Children’s Teaching Kitchen is now complete and its a warm and cozy spot for campers to enjoy … they can even whip up a few crafts and snacks too
This March Break your Eco Camper will be hiking, exploring nature, playing games, creating crafts, cooking veggies and enjoying everything High Park has to offer. There are only a few spaces left so sign up soon!
Program Barcode: 2090964
Location: High Park Children’s Teaching Kitchen
Date: March 11 – 15, 2013
Time: 9 am to 4 pm (extended care available Before 8-9 am (2099605 – $13/week) and After 4-5 pm (2099655 – $13/week))
Registration: Call 416-338-4FUN (4386), Click here for online registration or head to your nearest Recreation Centre to sign up.
Cost: $162.00 per camper
If you have any questions feel free to call Keely at 416-392-1329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information on the March Break Eco Camp page.
Cooking, hiking, crafts, leadership and adventure … just a few things happening this winter at the High Park Children’s Garden and Teaching Kitchen. Check out our full line-up of Winter Break Workshops, Children and Youth Cooking with Veggies classes and our Eco Leadership program.
Registration for our March Break Camp starts on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 am. It’s an action packed week of nature exploration, cooking, crafts and a garden project or two. You can register for all classes online through the City’s FUN Guide or by calling 416-338-4FUN (4386). You can also drop by your local Community or Recreation Centre and sign up.
What a whirlwind couple of months it’s been! With this beautiful spring weather our Program Instructors have had their hands full with plenty of watering, weeding and seeding … this in addition to our fully booked spring school program schedule The Garden is coming along nicely and … Dut da da da (big trumpet fan fair) The Children’s Teaching Kitchen is complete!
Well, almost complete. We still have dishes to do but now we get to do the fun stuff! We get to set-up our Kitchen and take everything out of our mountain of plastic totes We’ve been using the Kitchen for rain days during our programs (after all the weather’s been so nice who would want to be inside?) and a spot for everyone to stash their lunches.
This summer our camps will get to use the Kitchen for many different activities including, of course, cooking! We’re very excited to be able to offer such great programming in such an amazing space. For the full story on how the Children’s Teaching Kitchen was built check out our From Caterpillar … To Butterfly story. Continue reading