Education and School Field Trips

Investigating The Living City Spaces

The education programs at Tommy Thompson Park provide unique opportunities to experience the phenomenon of migration, explore Toronto’s urban wildlife habitats, and more.

For information on Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) education programs at other outdoor sites, CLICK HERE.

As an online alternative to our regular programming, we are offering Virtual Field Trips!

New! Special Program
OUTDOOR FAMILY EXPERIENCE: TIME TRAVELLER’S BACKPACK

This fall, Tommy Thompson Park hosts Toronto history experts from Black Creek Pioneer Village!

Join a “time traveler” on an outdoor family experience as you are guided through activities and challenges that will prepare you for a trip back in time to the 1860s.

Black Creek Pioneer Village history actor in costume examines Common Tansy plant

As trainee time travelers, your group will learn about life in Toronto many years ago, find out what the waterfront looked like before Tommy Thompson Park existed, and discover connections between today’s local flora and how these plants were used in the past.

This experience is suitable for families and history buffs of all ages.

BOOK YOUR SPOT TODAY

VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS

Grades 1-8*

Students will explore the biodiverse habitats of Toronto’s wilderness spaces – from their classroom! A TRCA educator will guide students on a virtual journey to discover hidden details of meadows, forests, and shorelines, exploring these ecosystems together. There will be ample time for students to ask questions about Toronto’s local flora and fauna throughout the virtual field trip. Your curriculum-linked program can be customized to include aspects of scientific inquiry being addressed in class at the time of the session. Weather conditions at Tommy Thompson Park may prompt relocation of our education staff to an alternate TRCA site. 

Virtual Field Trip Booking Details

Program length: 1 hour – including time for a question and answer period
Program cost for one class: Contact Raja – pricing tiers vary depending on level of customization
To request available booking dates or for more information, please contact Raja Raudsepp at raja.raudsepp@trca.ca

*Virtual Field Trips are available for grades 1-8.  For secondary experiences, please connect with us and we can discuss what is available to meet your needs.

We look forward to “seeing” you soon!

Children take part in outdoor education program during a school field trip at Tommy Thompson Park

SCHOOL FIELD TRIP PROGRAMS

Unavailable at this time due to Covid-19 related restrictions

Bring your students on a field trip to Tommy Thompson Park!

(Click on your program of interest below for a link to further information.)

BEYOND THE PARK PROGRAMS

Unavailable at this time due to Covid-19 related restrictions

We bring the experience to you! For school or community groups who would love to learn about environmental and nature-themed topics, but can’t make it to Tommy Thompson Park, we will send a Tommy Thompson Park instructor to your school or centre.

(Click on your program of interest below for a link to further information.)

School Field Trips: Available Programs

Unavailable at this time due to Covid-19 related restrictions

ANIMAL DETECTIVE
Grades 2 and 3

Students will become Animal Detectives as they explore Tommy Thompson Park’s trails looking for animal clues. What types of animal evidence can we look for based on their various characteristics? Depending on evidence observed, concepts may include animal life cycles, seasonal behaviours, what human animals can do to protect other animal habitats, and more.

A TRCA educator leads a school program during a field trip at Tommy Thompson Park

GET THE SCOOP ON SOIL
Grades 3

By solving a soil mystery, students will learn about soil components and the impact humans can have on soil characteristics required for plant growth.

children take part in wildlife education program at Tommy Thompson Park

WETLANDS: SOAK IT UP
Grades 2 to 8

Soak up the wonder of wetlands by immersing your class in an incredible story of the significant habitat restoration taking place at Tommy Thompson Park. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to experience wetlands first-hand and better understand their importance in our health and the health of our environment. It enhances any unit plan focused on biodiversity or habitats.

children take part in outdoor education program at Tommy Thompson Park

WINGED MIGRATION
Grades 4, 6 and 7

This program invites students to become immersed in the phenomenon of bird migration and develop a deeper understanding of the importance of urban wilderness. Students will be actively engaged in activities designed to hone their observation and data collection skills. When weather conditions permit, students have the exclusive opportunity to examine migratory species at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and observe staff and volunteers who are carrying out their daily monitoring and bird banding activities.
PLEASE NOTE: This program is available mornings only.

Students take part in Winged Migration program at Tommy Thompson Park, and learn about the bird migration through Toronto.

CITY LIFE, WILDLIFE
Grades 4 and 6

This program provides a unique opportunity for students to better understand the urban wildlife that lives in their neighbourhoods and would enhance any unit plan focused on biodiversity or habitats. Visiting groups will explore the diverse habitats and communities that make up Tommy Thompson Park. An interactive hike engages students in an investigation of biodiversity, pollinators, and a reflection on the impacts of human activity on natural spaces.

High school students explore the trails at Tommy Thompson Park.

POLLINATION INVESTIGATION
Grades 4 and 6

This program encourages students to offer conclusions based on their own observations of natural habitats and strengthens students’ understanding of the importance of pollinators to their everyday lives. Students will investigate meadow communities at Tommy Thompson Park, specifically exploring the role pollinators play in maintaining healthy habitats.

monarch butterfly clings to a leaf

INVESTIGATING BIRD DIVERSITY
Grades 9 to 12

Students will be immersed in the phenomenon of bird migration and develop a deeper understanding of the importance of healthy ecosystems in urban wilderness settings. Having learned how to identify bird species and custom-adjust binocular settings, students will set out on Tommy Thompson Park trails to document observed bird species.

Students will be actively engaged in focusing on the anatomical characteristics of birds as they hone their observation and data collection skills. When weather conditions permit, students have the exclusive opportunity to examine migratory species at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and observe staff and volunteers who are carrying out their daily monitoring and bird banding activities.

PLEASE NOTE: The half-day option of this program is available mornings only.

high school students on field trip at Tommy Thompson Park

INVESTIGATING INVASIVE SPECIES
Grades 9 to 12

The presence of invasive species (such as Japanese Knotweed, pictured below) represents an ongoing concern for ecosystem biodiversity and health. In this program, students will:

  • Learn to identify on-site plant and animal invasive species
  • Learn the strategies invasive species use for taking over a space
  • Understand the role humans play both in spreading invasive species and protecting against them
  • Take part in a habitat restoration tour of Tommy Thompson Park to learn about our specific tactics to manage the invasive species in the park

Concepts of ecosystem sustainability and ecological balance will also be addressed. If season and species management conditions align, invasive species removal may be included in the program.

Japanese knotwood

PEDAL THE SPIT
Grades 4 to 12

Bring your class to experience Tommy Thompson Park on our new quadcycles. Your students arrive to Tommy Thompson Park by school bus or the TTC, and a short walk from the entrance brings us to our fleet of four-wheeled bikes. We hop on and ride, with thematic stops by our park educator – choose your theme for the experience from the list below:

– Habitat creation and restoration
– Bird diversity and migration
– The importance of wetlands
– History of Tommy Thompson Park
– Biodiversity
– Stewardship

This program can accommodate up to 25 students, and 4 adults.

Please note, Pedal the Spit is available as a half-day program only. If you wish to incorporate the quadcycles into a full-day experience, see the Quadcycle Program Add-on information below.

To book, please contact Raja Raudsepp at raja.raudsepp@trca.ca

Students on quadcycle at TTP

NATIVE PLANTS PROGRAM
Grades 3 to 12

The Native Plants Program is a free, curriculum linked, hands-on educational experience. The goal of the program is to increase students’ awareness of the value of wetland, meadow, and other ecosystems in maintaining the ecological health of our region. By growing and transplanting native plants from seed, and participating in activities, students will learn to care for their environment through local habitats. This program involves daily student commitment to care for plants in the classroom as they grow. Spaces are limited.
NOTE: To receive notification of when registration becomes available, please contact Raja Raudsepp at raja.raudsepp@trca.ca.

children take part in wildlife education program at Tommy Thompson Park

CUSTOM PROGRAMS
Grades 2 to 12

Bring your students to Tommy Thompson Park for a simple nature walk, habitat exploration, restoration tour, or birding hike! We also offer real-world challenges for you to incorporate into classroom learning on program solving strategies.

We’d love to share the wonders of Toronto’s Urban Wilderness with you and your group!

Custom Programs are available year-round.
To develop a customized experience for your class, please contact Raja Raudsepp at raja.raudsepp@trca.ca.

TRCA instructor leads an outdoor education program at Tommy Thompson Park


 

SCHOOL FIELD TRIP PROGRAM BOOKING DETAILS

For Booking Assistance
Call TRCA Visitor Services at 416-667-6295 or email VisitorServices@trca.on.ca, unless otherwise stated above.

Program Costs
Flat fees for up to 30 students

Half-day visit: $255 + HST (if applicable)
Additional students (up to 5): $8.50 per student
2 hours: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Full-day visit: $420 + HST (if applicable)
Additional students (up to 5): $15 per student
4 hours + 30 minutes on-site for lunch: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Transportation
Groups must arrive by school bus which needs to stay on-site for the duration of the visit. Our programs take place in the park’s interior over 2 km from the gated park entrance. The park is located at the foot of Leslie Street, south of Lakeshore.

New this year! Quadcycle program add-on
Arrive to the park by TTC and ride our quadcycles into the park to our program area. Students will put sustainability into practice! Available with full-day program option only, for groups of up to 25 students + 4 adults. Available for grades 4 and up.
Quadcycle add-on cost: $80 +HST (if applicable).

Questions about the quadcycles? Email Raja Raudsepp at raja.raudsepp@trca.ca.

 

TD Friends of the Environment FoundationDevelopment of the Winged Migration, City Life, Wildlife, and Pollination Investigation programs was generously supported by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.


youngsters run on trail at Tommy Thompson Park

Beyond the Park: Available Programs

Unavailable at this time due to Covid-19 related restrictions

We bring the experience to you! For school or community groups who would love to learn about environmental and nature-themed topics, but can’t make it to Tommy Thompson Park, we will send a Tommy Thompson Park instructor to your school or centre. See Booking Details below for fee information.

WHAT’S THE WORD, URBAN BIRD
Ages 6-12

Birds are all around us — but how well do you know them? In this session, participants will find out just how fascinating our feathered friends are. Focusing on bird species found in Tommy Thompson Park and elsewhere in Toronto, participants will explore the world of birds through sight and sound, discovering what makes them unique!

bird perches in tangle of brush

WETLANDS MATTER
Ages 6-12

Why are wetland habitats in Toronto so important? Through games and activities, participants will learn what a wetland is, why it matters, and how we can be part of wetland conservation. Let’s discover the world of wetlands together!

wetland area at Tommy Thompson Park

NATURE IN THE CITY
Ages 6-12

Learn about the wildlife we share Toronto with! Participants’ understanding of local urban wildlife will grow through activities, games, and an opportunity to explore fur and skull replica specimens. An emphasis will be placed on the concept of sharing the city space with wildlife, ensuring their needs are met alongside ours.

boy examines animal skull in classroom

MICROPLASTICS IN LAKE ONTARIO
Ages 14+

Discover microplastics, a significant environmental issue affecting aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Participants will analyze terrestrial samples from Tommy Thompson Park and aquatic samples from the Toronto harbour. Through an in-depth presentation and hands-on exploration, participants will gain an appreciation of the impacts of our daily plastics use and discuss approaches to being part of the solution. Microscopes and sediment sorting sieves provided.

To book the Microplastics program, please contact Raja Raudsepp at raja.raudsepp@trca.ca.

view of Toronto skyline from Tommy Thompson Park


 

BEYOND THE PARK PROGRAM BOOKING DETAILS

For Booking Assistance
Call TRCA Visitor Services at 416-667-6295 or email VisitorServices@trca.on.ca.

Program Costs
Flat fees for up to 30 students

Single Program: $255 + HST (if applicable)
Additional students (up to 5): $8.50 per student
Two Programs on the Same Day: $420 + HST (if applicable)
Additional students (up to 5): $15 per student

Programs are 2 hours in length.

 


elementary students in classroom

OTHER PROGRAMS

NATURAL MINDS — LASTING CONNECTIONS

Cover of Natural Minds report

Read the program report.

Spending time in nature can enhance one’s sense of well-being. Natural Minds — Lasting Connections was a 2016 pilot program that worked with communities of Torontonians living with mental illness to grow relationships with nature, offering excursions in outdoor park environments — specifically Tommy Thompson Park.

Individuals interested in initiating their own guided walks took part in a Nature Ambassador Training Program, gaining skills and knowledge to positively impact fellow community members in the future. The program offered a means for people to strengthen connections — with other people, and with our natural environment.

Strategies are being explored to grow this program.

For more information, contact Raja Raudsepp at rraudsepp@trca.on.ca.

Funding for this pilot initiative was generously provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation

 

MY GREAT LAKE, MY FUTURE Student Conference

cover of My Great Lake summary report

View the final report

Tommy Thompson Park, in partnership with Harbourfront Centre, hosted the first annual My Great Lake, My Future Student Conference for SHSM-Environment students in Toronto school boards on May 7, 2015.

Interested in holding a similar event in your region? see the Event Planner.

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation logo