Steward using Seek App at Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve, 2021
Stewardship on Public Land


Site Stories – Betty Sutherland Trail Stewards

Lead Stewards Gary James and Laura Muntean

We are a dedicated group of volunteers working to restore, monitor and preserve the biodiversity of the  Betty Sutherland Trail ravine through the Toronto Nature Stewards. Our specific TNS Site Page can be found here which includes contact information.

We have also created our own website to make communications with our volunteers easier. Please see documents posted there for more information about our site, including our Site Assessment and Stewardship Plan for the year and messages that have been sent to our Stewards on our progress.

Check out iNaturalist for our ongoing tracking of plants at our site at the Betty Sutherland Trail Project.

Here is a sample of our August 3rd message to our stewards.

Site Stories – Cherry Beach

Anna Hoad, Lead Steward

This spring we thought our site at Cherry Beach was doomed. The empire (of invasive plants) strikes back!

We took off half the old phragmites stalks in one area, but the rhizomes were so thick they had killed off all the undergrowth and were in the process of choking out the bushes and trees. Seeing the completely bare earth was sobering… garlic mustard, wood avens… Dog strangling vine was springing up and I thought, that’s it. We’re doomed! This site’s just too disturbed. It’s invasives ALL the way down.

Cherry Beach Phragmites in spring

Then I remembered Paula Davies telling us that the natives were hiding there; waiting to be released. So, we went on a hunt in areas we’d just cleared. And there they were … baby raspberries, currants, cottonwood trees, sumacs, and clumps of bergamot. They’re thrilled to have light and nutrients to themselves and are thriving. There were also non-natives, like comfrey and valerian, hopefully fitting into the ecosystem and feeding someone. There was even a little orchid (eaten too soon to be identified. As well as clearing the weeds around it, I should have been building a branch fence!)

Now every day we’re out stewarding, we point out to each other the plants we’ve discovered and released. It keeps us going.

Black Swallowtail butterflies love bergamot aka bee balm

Posts from the Cherry Beach Stewards

Cherry Beach Mid-August post

Cherry Beach August post

Cherry Beach July post

Cherry Beach June post

Cherry Beach Spring post

Gearing up for 2022 Lead Steward training

Incredibly excited for Lead Steward training to start on January 12th, 2022! We have a big group this year – over fifty Lead Stewards are registered. We cannot wait to virtually meet everyone and start talking all things ecological restoration. Ravines here we come!

A friendly reminder that registration for 2022 Lead Steward training is CLOSED. Keep an eye out for a site near you to become a steward in the spring!

Site Stories – Middle Mill Stewards

Stewardship in the Snow

Had a wonderful morning working (playing really) in the snow at our Middle Mill stewardship site in the Don Valley. As it was our last session for the season, we made bush piles from the Buckthorn we’ve been pulling for the last month. Bush piles will provide habitat for the furry little creatures trying to stay warm over the winter.