We offer nature connection programs for people of all ages and experience levels, in and around Toronto. Our programs take place outside – rain or shine – in all seasons. We mix wilderness (eg. shelter building and fire making), naturalist skills (eg. plant and animal ID), exploration, the arts, games and play, and mindfulness activities to create deeply impactful experiences.
With the guidance of experienced mentors, participants are inspired to:
- Explore nature
- Be curious
- Try new things and overcome challenges
- Build connection
- Have a ton of fun
Participants form a strong relationship with nature and experience transformative personal growth.
Our curriculum teaches concepts of ecology as well as practical skills for survival and resilience. Core elements of our curriculum include:
- Naturalist knowledge
- Wildlife observation: getting to know the animals who share our environment and how they live, including direct observation and tracking their movement through the landscape
- Birds and bird language: learning about different species of birds, how they communicate, and what we can learn from them about our surroundings
- Plants and trees: learning how to identify plants and trees, and how we can use them (medicinal, edible, and practical uses)
- Wilderness skill development
- Hazards and risk management: learning to identify and assess things that could be harmful in our environment, and navigate them safely
- Outdoor and survival skills: drawing on nature to meet our basic needs – fire, water, shelter, food. Skills like fire-building, carving, shelter-building, navigation, and crafting using natural materials.
Our innovative mentoring approach empowers participants to direct their own learning experience by personally engaging with nature. Our knowledgeable instructors strategically draw on the natural surroundings to create learning opportunities that encourage curiosity and critical-thinking. By providing a safe environment for participants to interact directly with nature, take measured risks, and experience natural consequences, our programs are designed to promote holistic growth and a deep connection to the natural world.
Some of the key methods of instruction include:
- Place-based: Fostering a sense of place by directly interacting with local heritage, cultures and landscapes.
- Experiential learning: Learning through direct experience, hands-on skill development and crafting, and personal reflection
- Inquiry-based: Encouraging participants to pose questions and actively seek their own answers
- Play-based: Incorporation of self-directed and facilitated learning through play, including natural loose parts
- Cross-curricular learning: Conscious design and integration of multiple subjects
In practice, participants experience our teaching approach through fun, passion-driven activities, games and experiences. Some of these include:
- Wandering through nature
- Singing and storytelling
- Playing nature-based games
- Practicing wilderness skills & crafts (eg. friction fire, shelter building, basket weaving, carving using carving tools)
- Nature journaling and other activities that help to expand awareness and observation
- Sharing gratitude as a group
- Sitting quietly in nature to listen, observe and learn
Our programs build a deep love of nature, which has a range of connected outcomes. In addition to gaining measurable skills, like identification of plants and animals, participants experience transformational growth. People who join Pine:
- Love learning
- Value community
- Practice resilience and confidence
- Are physically and mentally healthier
- Respect the land, its history, and its people
- Become environmental leaders
In a recent survey, 99% of parents reported that Pine’s nature connection programs positively impacted their child’s connection to nature, social and relationship skills, mental and physical health, personal growth and learning outcomes.
Pine is the kind of formative experience based outdoor learning that breeds a fundamental sense of connection and appreciation for our land, and resilience of character.— Parent of a Pine Participant