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

Pilot Program

Toronto Nature Stewards (TNS), with the agreement of the City of Toronto Urban Forestry Division, is conducting a pilot program with unsupervised stewardship of public land in ravines and natural areas.

The pilot started in spring of 2021 with 9 sites, 23 trained Lead Stewards and nearly 200 stewards. We plan to expand our program in 2022, and have already submitted 23 additional sites to the City of Toronto for approval, supported by over 45 new Lead Stewards in training.

TNS stewards support the ecological restoration of ravines and natural areas by: picking up litter, removing invasive plants, and monitoring the ecological impact of stewardship activities. We meet as small groups of stewards led by a trained Lead Steward, to care for a piece of land within Toronto’s ravines and natural areas. Each stewardship site has been approved by the City of Toronto. Each group is committed to stewarding their site for a period of years.

Interested in participating in the 2022 TNS pilot program?

Become a Steward or Become a Lead Steward

Goals for 2022 include to:

  • Train an additional group of Lead Stewards who will lead stewardship groups in future years, mentored by Lead Stewards from 2021
  • Get City of Toronto approval for new sites, additional invasive plants, and planting native plants at select sites
  • Monitor the success and failures of stewardship activities to continually improve the program
  • Improve the ecological integrity of additional sites within Toronto’s ravines and natural areas

Toronto Nature Stewards is responsible for:

  • Recruiting and training Lead Stewards
  • Conducting site walks and offering suggestions to prospective Lead Stewards for site choices
  • Submitting applications for new stewardship sites to the City of Toronto
  • Preparing Information Sheets for identification and removal of invasive plant species
  • Creating and maintaining the TNS website with training and resource material
  • Coordinating and aggregating monitoring and reporting
  • Coordinating legal liability coverage
  • Providing first aid kits, Naloxone kits, sharps containers and name tags to Lead Stewards
  • Encouraging community among TNS stewards
  • Providing single point of contact for communication between TNS stewards and the City of Toronto
  • Providing stewardship guidance to private property owners

The City of Toronto is responsible for:

  • Providing criteria for determining sites and activities
  • Circulating information to relevant internal City of Toronto divisions for site approval
  • Reviewing Invasive Plant Information Sheets, providing input on best management practices and approving species for removal
  • Providing a Stewardship Contact person for communications between TNS and the City of Toronto throughout the pilot season