Stewards at Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve, 2021
Stewardship on Public Land

Site Stories – Sunnypoint-Neilson Park

August 30, 2022

Happy Monday to our Sunnypoint Stewards!

** As the sun is setting sooner and the mosquitos are coming out earlier, we are moving our start time to 6:30pm.  We know that this may make it a rush for people coming home from work, so please just come and find the team whenever you can arrive at the park **

Thank you to the volunteers who worked so hard along the fence line last week.  We know that this is an area that we cannot rid of DSV because we cannot cross the barrier.  But it was a valuable lesson to see what unchecked DSV can do to the native plants in an area.  It also gave us an opportunity to witness the DSV seed pods opening up and to see how quickly the seeds disperse over a wide area.

DSV seed pods opening

We would also like to welcome our newest steward, Gloria!  

Debbie and Gloria with DSV

Toronto Nature Stewards was in the news last week as part of a Toronto Star article by TFN President Ellen Schwartzel describing the need to protect our green spaces.

Lorna and Shirley removing DSV

Our goals for this week:

(a) Interested in learning more about native plants? Daniela will be taking one group into the woods ( MU1) to locate and map the native trees and plant species we are working so hard to protect.  This will be a nice change of pace from cutting DSV.

(b) The second group will return to the north end (MU3) to check up on the native species and remove any remaining DSV and burdock.

Natasha, Daniela and Cheryl

August 1, 2022

Happy Holiday Monday to Our Sunnypoint Stewards,

We hope that you have had a great long weekend! We successfully tackled both burdock and dog-strangling vine in the northern section (MU3) of the park last Tuesday. The DSV was no match for Natasha, Debbie and Marcia…and the pictures prove it! 

I have also attached a couple of pictures of second year burdock so you can see how tall it can grow, its wide leaves and the burs starting to form.  Fortunately, there was not a lot of this in MU3, but we will keep an eye out for it. 

Our goals for this week:

(a) try to clear out the last of the DSV in the meadow ( MU2)

(b) begin tackling the DSV along the guardrail in MU4 if time allows 

Please pass this message along to any neighbours who might be interested in helping. 

July 26, 2022

We hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend and that Sunday’s rain helped your gardens struggle through this heat wave. Tuesday’s weather forecast looks promising, so we hope we will be able to work in MU3 and MU4, just as we had planned for last week.

So….our goal for this week’s session is to have a little change of scenery and work at the north end of the park, removing the stalks of burdock and any other invasive plants at the top of the ravine. We’ve attached the information sheet describing how to identify and remove burdock. (It’s the plant that looks quite a bit like rhubarb.)

Please pass this message along to any neighbours who might be interested in helping. 

Burdock 2nd year growth
Monarch caterpillar on Swamp Milkweed

Our goals for this Tuesday (June 14, 2022):

Hello to our amazing stewards!!

Thank you to all of the stewards who worked so hard last Tuesday. We hope you have had a wonderful week….and that pulling all of that garlic mustard is not taking its toll on your back.

(a) to remove garlic mustard in the north end of the park. (MU3 and MU4)

(b) to begin tackling the dog-strangling vine (DSV). We have attached an information sheet about this notoriously invasive species


About our 2022 Stewardship Season 

TNS has 23 sites (more than twice from last year) and 60 trained Lead Stewards but there is much more to do. There are 6,600 hectares of public ravine land and we are currently stewarding approximately 74 hectares on 23 sites.  Each hectare needs active regular stewardship to improve biodiversity and ecosystem health.  Each site has one primary Lead and other co-Leads as needed to keep our ratio of 1 Lead to 10 volunteers at any one time. We’ve had from 2 to 145 people at each session and they occur every day of the week and at different times so there are lots of opportunities for everyone. Each group has (or will have) a dedicated team but there are also pop-up sessions organized by the site Leads. 

Each site works independently and organizes itself based on the needs of the Leads and the Volunteer Stewards but all following the same city approved protocols. You can view the sites, schedules and register to join on our Get Involved page (if you want to be an ongoing Steward) . Once you register for a site, the Lead Steward will contact you with details. People wanting to join a pop-up should contact torontonaturestewards@gmail.com for more info.

Currently there are 10 specific invasive plants that we can remove on approved sites on public land. If you want more info on them you can find it on our website.

Lead Steward Training session with Paula Davies, President at Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve (TMWP). Photo by Sharon Lovett
Photo by Gary James
Boots on the ground