Fiery Foxes - Community Outdoor School for Kids

Organization Sponsor: The Pine Project


Program Description

Children’s programming is our specialty. From basic outdoor experiences in our tracking club and after school programs, to our in-depth camp settings and Community Outdoor School, PINE has a range of programs to fit many needs.Nature based programming for new parents, kindergartners, and home schooled children.

The P.I.N.E. Project offers nature based programs that provide long-term mentoring experiences for children and youth in their home environment. These programs are almost entirely spent outside, only using indoor space for the most inclement weather, or for specific projects. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! A growing body of research is emphatically stating that children are happier, healthier, and developmentally superior (they learn better, quicker, retain more, and are more relaxed) when they spend consistent time in nature. And everyone knows the the most formative years are the first ones. We’ve seen the strongest, most resilient children develop when consistently exposed to nature and strong mentoring from a young age.

We integrate parents and siblings into the experience, with opening and closing circles, storytelling, and celebrations at important times of the year for our participants.

The foxes are a next step program to our Coyote Pups. In this class, we begin to really start using our skills to collect, create and learn through skill building! Where the Coyote Pups are adventurers and wanderers, the Foxes are builders and creators! We will be having plenty of adventures and wandering in nature to see what we find, however we’ll also be working on projects and using our hands to create with nature! It is suggested, though not mandatory that participants have been involved in some other form of p.i.n.e. programming to join this program.

Program includes:

  • Fire by friction
  • Working with tools and knives
  • Stewardship and invasive species removal
  • Working with wood, stone, bone and fibres
  • Making food and medicines from natural materials
  • Journaling, reading assignments, research and home projects
  • Much more!
          Monday: Earl Bales Park, Sheppard & Bathurst
Tuesday and Wednesday: Toronto West End Green Spaces –  Etienne Brule Park and King’s Mill (Humber Valley)
Friday: Taylor Creek Park, near Coxwell and O’Connor
Ages: 7 – 10
Dates: Winter Session 2014                                                Spring Session 2014
Mondays: January 6-March 3 , 2014                      March 31-June 2, 2014
Tuesdays:  January 7-March 4, 2014                     April 1-June 3, 2014
Wednesdays:  January 8-March 5, 2014               April 2-June 4, 2014
Fridays: January 10-March 7, 2014                       April 4-June 6, 2014
       Monday: 9am-12pm
Tuesday: 9am-1pm
Wednesday: 9am-1pm
Friday: 1pm-5pm
Program Approximate Cost: 

Cost: $330

 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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