Coyote Camp-Urban Day Camps in Toronto

Organization Sponsor: The Pine Project


Program Description

Coyotes live at the edges, at the periphery of our perception, highly aware and rarely seen. This camp is all about the Coyote’s way of life. Camp groups play out a week-long challenge with each other, creating various home areas, gathering food and water, and fulfilling several nature-based challenges and tasks to gain knowledge and honour for their team. Each camp group is part of a larger game: sneaking up on others, attempting to steal or deliver special items without being seen. It’s basically a huge game of capture the flag, but steeped in nature awareness and the skills of Coyote. We’ll be learning wildlife tracking skills, bird language, silent movement through the woods, natural camouflage, and a variety of wilderness living and naturalist skills as we come upon the amazing things our urban woodlands have to offer!

Coyote Camp is fun for all ages, and fun for all types of kids. It’s not a competition so much as a carefully crafted set of circumstances to introduce and encourage a high level of sensory awareness throughout the week. Teamwork and skill development are high priorities, and learning from each other through shared stories at the end of the day/week is vital. We use games as a means to inspire learning, and we have a ton of fun in the process!

Location: Toronto Etienne Brule Park – Humber Valley

Dates: July 7-11; July 21-25; August 5-8**

Times: 9:30am-3:30pm  *before and after care is available for an additional fee.

Ages: 4-12 Before care begins at 8:30am, after care goes until 5pm

Pre-registration dates for returning campers from last summer (2013)  - Monday February 3 (at 11:00 am)- Friday February 7, 2014


Program Approximate Cost: 

Cost: $300.00, $270.00 (**for August, 4 days of camp)

Before care for the week is $40, after care for the week is $45. Both before and after care for the week is $70.  For one day of either before or after care or both is $15.

 Bursaries are an available option through the Best Day Ever Fund. Contact our office administrator (Amanda) for an application or further questions.

Funding Sources: 

The Institute for Natural Learning, Earth Tracks, Sticks and Stones Wilderness School,Sassafrass Earth Education,Earth Mentorship Program.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

The Primitive Integrated Naturalist Education (P.I.N.E.) is a non-profit organization created to bring the wonders of the natural world back to the urban jungle. ps we sell awesome shirts!

Impact Of Program: 


Stephanie, a long time wilderness traveler, educator, and nature enthusiast wrote this about her experience at the Art of Mentoring program hosted by p.i.n.e. each year:

“We’re deeply grateful for the most amazing and powerful week of learning, connecting, and play. Thank you all for your hard work and for helping to make the experience so incredible. I’m so grateful for the scholarship as well, that made it possible for the four of us to attend. Perhaps Christopher, who was exploring with the teens all week, summed it up best for all of us when he said “I feel new”. We all feel new, and super excited to continue working with all that we learned, on a daily basis and with our community. Christopher is one of many who struggle in school. I was so moved when the night we got home he decided to stay up late in bed and make a list of 20 birds of prey (his commitment) so that he can memorize them over the next two weeks. Suddenly, not only is he interested in learning about birds, but he’s taking initiative to learn about them himself! After experiencing the Art of Mentoring I’m not surprised, but it’s pretty incredible to see the difference between not caring about force-fed facts and being inspired and excited to discover and experience more. How can I possibly find proper words of gratitude for transformations such as this?

We look forward to seeing you next year and to being in touch through our ‘Granite Shield’ (Muskoka Art Of Mentoring) regional group.

With many thanks we wish you all the best,” Stephanie Aykroyd, David, Christopher and Alexa

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Our mission is to build healthy communities, deeply connected to the natural environment.

To achieve this, we deliver programs focused on building relationships between self, others, and the environment. Using music, drama, storytelling, naturalist studies, stewardship, outdoor adventures, games, play, and intergenerational learning, we weave it all into a “culture of nature connection” empowering our mantra: Be More, Need Less.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

Andrew McMartin, founder and executive director of the Toronto-based P.I.N.E. Project, sees connections between so-called Nature Deficit Disorder (a hot topic brought on the cultural radar by Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit disorder) and rising rates of obesity, ADHD, depression, and anxiety among children with a lack of time spent freely in nature. While traditional nature and outdoor education programs take students out of the city and into the woods, one of P.I.N.E.’s key differentiators is using the natural space in Toronto—High Park, Humber Valley, or the patch of lawn or tree by the front stoop—as a classroom. “The goal is to foster an intense connection to where they’re from and what sustains it,” McMartin says of his choice to base his children’s programs in the city.

“We are raising the weakest, most unresilient generation in history,” nature educator Mark Morey told a room of parents, teachers, environmentalists, and outdoor educators at a recent talk at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton. Not surprisingly, the room went silent. In this era of over-scheduled kids whose parents structure family life around the goal of providing the best opportunities for the children to succeed, it’s jarring to hear that children growing up in a world of computer screens, standardized testing, and customized early-childhood education could turn out to be less effective adults than the generations that have come before them.

Length and Stage of Project: 


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