Many Humber College staff and students have found a relaxing and educational solace in the Arboretum amidst the hectic start of the school year.
“It is amazing to see people become excited about something in nature that’s new to them.” said Marilyn Campbell, communications assistant at the Arboretum.
“[It is] not just for people who visit the Arboretum or attend our events — the staff are constantly learning from the land and each other as well.”
The Arboretum is located along the West Humber River. It includes 101 hectares of large gardens and natural areas for visitors to enjoy. The Arboretum is free to visit and is open every day during daylight hours.
“My favourite part about the Arboretum is the diversity of flowers. They are so colourful and nice to look at,” said Maxime Makamdop, a Humber College Bachelor of Engineering-Mechatronics student.
Among the Arboretum’s many gardens is the Native Pollinator Demonstration Garden, filled with flowers to provide for pollinating species such as bees and butterflies.
A similar area, the Tranquillity Bird Garden, was created in partnership with Birds Canada to provide a habitat for local and migratory birds, which help pollinate plants, disperse seeds and recycle nutrients back into the earth.
There are also many walking trails of various lengths and difficulties throughout the Arboretum, with information and sighting areas. A popular spot for photography is the Garden Of The Rising Moon, which was created with the help of the Humber landscaping and horticultural students.
The Arboretum offers in-person education programs and special events at the Centre for Urban Ecology. However, it is closed for the time being due to COVID-19.
Virtual events are offered instead and are recorded for those who cannot make the live sessions. The Etobicoke Master Gardeners will be offering a virtual pruning workshop from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Oct. 16. Students who wish to attend can register through Eventbrite.
The Arboretum also has the Learning by Leading program, which helps students gain life experience and have an impact on real-world issues in the environment.
“This program also helps students that are involved in the program learn many different life skills, such as leadership and communication skills,” said Angel Suarez, the Learning by Leading program coordinator. “It also gives students a sense of belonging, and allows [them] to experience nature in ways they weren’t able to before.”