Summer harvests, and other adventures

After getting home from my European adventures, it was time to get right back into the swing of things. Still somewhat jetlagged after just a couple of days at home, I headed back to High Park for my 5th summer of working at High Park EcoCamp. For my first two weeks there, I was with the 4-5 year old “Sprouts”. I haven’t worked that much with that age group over the years, and was afraid I’d be zonked from the jetlag, but it’s amazing the energy you get from little kiddos. Right away on Monday morning, I was pumped and ready to go. The weeks with the Sprouts were great! We saw some wee critters (lots of bugs and slugs), and some bigger ones (some geese and herons, and some creatures in the High Park Zoo). We did lots of gardening and cooking. Brownies with kale? Why, yes please. And pizza from scratch, zucchini muffins, humus, and lots of pickled cukes and beans.

For the last two weeks of camp, I was with our Junior campers; it’s amazing how old 6-9 year olds seem after 2 weeks with the Sprouts. 🙂 With the Juniors, we’re able to cover more ground on our hikes, and we also have some lovely off-site trips to the Humber Valley and canoeing up the Humber River with the Inner City Outtripping Centre down at Sunnyside beach. We explored animals’ habitats in High Park, saw lots of birds (like egrets, herons, swans, wood ducks and Mallard ducks, and lots of cardinals too), found some animals tracks (and made plaster casts of them), and also spent lots of time in the garden exploring, watering, harvesting, and tasting. And of course, we did some cooking too!

I’m so fortunate to be able to spend my summers working outside with kids in such an amazing park! This camp is such a great combination of so many things I love to do and teach about – gardening, cooking, nature activities, environmental lessons… High Park is such a special place in this city.

 

Now we’re full swing into harvest season, and into the school year as well. Not only is it the time of year for harvesting, cooking and eating local goodness, it’s also the time that plants produce their seeds for next year’s crop. Keep your eyes peeled for my next post about some of the seeds we’ve been finding in the gardens.

Happy growing (and harvesting and cooking and eating)!

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