2017 Youth Summit Brendan Toews

Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

On September 22-24, 2017, environmental leaders throughout the province came together at YMCA Geneva Park in Orillia for Ontario Nature’s eighth annual summit. The event, partnered with the Youth Council, allowed 98 youth from 50 communities to participate in a number of workshops including:

  • Pollinators and youth action
  • Amphibian surveys
  • Discovering nature
  • Power to affect change
  • Protected areas and making youth voices count
  • Building bee boxes
  • Medicinal plants of Ontario
  • Strengthening Ontario’s environmental laws
  • Freshwater life
  • Climate change campaigning
  • Birds of prey
  • Nature photography
  • Leadership insights
  • Exploring the link between humans and the wild

Other memorable moments included morning activities like canoeing, bird watching and a swim in Lake Couchiching and an evening campfire with stories and songs to bring everyone together. The Great Group Challenge had teams facing off in fun challenges and participants met with other leaders in their areas in the Regional Networking Forum. Kale Black, keynote speaker from BurlingtonGreen, inspired youth to be the change and consider their actions and how they would impact their environment.


  • “The Youth Summit connected me with ways that I can fight to help the environment. I am working to start an environment club in my school to help spread some of what I learned and to act on my own ideas/ ideas from others. I hope to make my community a more environmentally conscious place by spreading awareness of the need to conserve nature and natural areas.” – Matthew, age 17, Ottawa
  • “Amazing weekend! Great opportunity to engage with nature. Food was great, leaders did a fantastic job of keeping us busy, making it fun and engaging. Highly recommend it - if you have the chance, GO!” – Reece, age 16, Dundas
  • “I've been attended the past three Youth Summits and they're always the highlight of my year. To be able to see the increase in the number of youth at each summit from all around Ontario that are just as motivated and passionate about the environment provides a sense of relief and hope knowing that the future is in good hands. Attending the summit has given me the chance to meet life-long friends that are there to support me through anything. Together, we are strong, and we have and will continue to create positive environmental changes in our community. Ontario Nature has given me the opportunity to explore the field of environmental activism and sciences, and I will forever be grateful for everything they've done and for all the moments I cherish that never would have been made had it not been for Ontario Nature. Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times over. I'll be counting down the days to the next summit!” – Arani, age 17, Toronto


Ontario Nature Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership 2017


For more photos, visit the Youth Council’s Facebook Page.

Thank you to our Nature Network members and others whose financial support has made this summit possible:

Ancaster High School
Bancroft Field Naturalists
Brereton Field Naturalists’ Club
Carden Field Naturalists
Charleston Lake Association
Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority
Durham Region Field Naturalists
Eden Mills Millpond Conservation Association Inc.
Four Seasons Conservancy/Upper Ottawa Valley Nature Club
Friends of Charleston Lake Park
Friends of Mashkinonje
Friends of Nancy Island and Wasaga Beach Park
Halton-North Peel Naturalists
Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
Ingersoll District Nature Club
Kawartha Field Naturalists
Leeds Grenville Stewardship Council
Midland-Penetang Field Naturalists
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Nature Guelph
Nature League – Collingwood

Nature London
North American Native Plant Society
Ontario Field Ornithologists
Orillia Naturalists’ Club
Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club
Owen Sound Field Naturalists
Peterborough Field Naturalists
Port Hope Rotary Club
Quetico Foundation
Rankin Resource Group
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
Saugeen Nature
Sault Naturalists’ Club of Ontario & Michigan
Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
Sir Winston Churchill CVI
South Peel Naturalists’ Club
Thickson’s Woods Land Trust
Thunder Bay Field Naturalists
Vankleek Hill Nature Society
Waterloo Region Nature
Willow Beach Field Naturalists
York-Simcoe Naturalists

The success of the Youth Summit would not be possible without the contributions from the following program sponsors:


2018 Youth Summit for Biodiversity

Please check back for updates about the 2018 Youth Summit. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring the event in 2018, please contact Christine Ambre, Conservation and Education Coordinator, at 416-444-8419 ext. 244 or christinea@ontarionature.org

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