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Youth Summit

Held in September each year since 2010, the Youth Summit engages young leaders from dozens of communities across the province.

Meditating on the escarpment during the scavenger hunt © Anna ET

2021 Youth Summit for Mother Earth

From September 25 to 26, 2021 environmental leaders from across the province gathered virtually for cross-cultural learning and knowledge sharing. In partnership with the Youth Council, the Youth Circle for Mother Earth partners and Coordinating Circle, this re-imagined gathering brought 92 young leaders and 12 youth mentors together. These youth represented 54 communities across Ontario from as far as Windsor, Ottawa and Kenora, with youth identifying from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island and cultures around the world.

Art in Nature, 2021 Youth Summit © Arlo W

Sessions

  • Cultural humility
  • Ontario’s native plants and food security
  • Invasive species
  • Environmental policy
  • Traditional medicine
  • Bee-washing and action for pollinators
  • Power to affect change
  • Traditional beading
  • How the best of both Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science be applied to help meet the challenges of today (Two-Eyed Seeing)
  • learning Anishinaabemowin
  • Allyship with Indigenous Peoples
Art in Nature, 2021 Youth Summit © Evening M

2021 Highlights

Youth also participated in virtual discussions and youth-led sessions on nature-inspired art, dealing with eco-anxiety, story sharing, climate action, biodiversity and networking.

Team Tree won the team challenge trophy with activities including nature scavenger hunts, writing poems and creating artwork inspired by Mother Earth, while also learning about traditional languages and the importance of the medicine wheel. Congratulations to the winners of our leadership challenge, Derek N, Vamika S, Edie H and Kayla H for putting together their “Healthy Lakes, Healthy Living” mock event, to educate the public about shoreline development and algal blooms.

This year’s keynote, Dr. Dan Longboat – Roronhiakewen (He Clears the Sky), shared stories, inspired the summit community to come together from different knowledge systems to solve the world’s complex issues, and reflect on how we are all interconnected.

Cleanup challenge, 2021 Youth Summit © Summer W

“The biggest impact for me would be to focus on the land that is around me. Not only taking in to account the traditional land and care takers that lived before me but the many diverse Indigenous communities that share the space now. Additionally, I will appreciate the physical environment around me and take time to notice the plants and animals that I share my home with. I will continue to advocate for the earth and respect all the inhabitants from plants, people and animals. I will also see the earth through a more spiritual lens, noticing how everything has been created for a reason and a purpose.”
–  2021 Youth Summit participant residing on the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Treaty 13 Territory, in what is currently known as Toronto/Tkaronto


“I have always loved being outside, but I don’t think I understood until this summit how deeply interconnected human beings are to the environment. When we pollute the air, water and soil we are also polluting ourselves. This is where I feel two-eyed seeing and Indigenous teachings have the most impact and where I will, from now on, always try to employ. This Summit has shown me different ways of seeing things, will change how I approach tasks and even how I learn!” – 2021 Youth Summit participant residing on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation – in what is currently known as Almonte

Cedar, 2021 Youth Summit © Arlo W

Thank you to our Nature Network members and other organizations whose support has made the 2021 Youth Summit for Mother Earth possible:

  • 4imprint Canada’s One by One Program
  • AWARE Simcoe
  • Bancroft Field Naturalists
  • Beaverton Horticultural Society 
  • Bert Miller Nature Club
  • Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation
  • Birds Canada
  • Brodie Club
  • Carden Field Naturalists
  • Credit Valley Conservation
  • Durham Region Field Naturalists
  • Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association
  • Four Seasons Conservancy
  • Friends of Charleston Lake Park
  • Friends of Frontenac Park
  • Friends of Mashkinonje
  • Friends of Minesing Wetland
  • Friends of Ojibway Prairie
  • Friends of the Rouge Watershed
  • Halton-North Peel Naturalists
  • Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
  • Headwaters Nature
  • Huron Fringe Field Naturalists
  • Ingersoll District Nature Club
  • Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club
  • Kawartha Field Naturalists
  • Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
  • Leeds and Grenville Stewardship Council
  • Macnamara Field Naturalist Club
  • Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists
  • Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
  • Nature Barrie
  • Nature Guelph
  • Nature League of Collingwood
  • Nature London
  • North American Native Plant Society
  • North Durham Nature Club
  • Ontario Environment Network
  • Ontario Horticultural Association
  • Orillia Naturalists’ Club
  • Owen Sound Field Naturalists
  • Patagonia Toronto
  • Pembroke Area Field Naturalists
  • Pickering Naturalists
  • Quinte Field Naturalists
  • Sarah Margolius Impact
  • South Peel Naturalists Club
  • Southern Ontario Orchid Society
  • Sudbury Naturalists
  • Symbiotic Living/The Bornstein Family
  • Thunder Bay Field Naturalists
  • Toronto Field Naturalists
  • Urban Minds
  • Waterloo Region Nature
  • Willow Beach Field Naturalists

This project has been made possible by:

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) logo

and Ontario Nature members.

Miigwetch – miigwech – nya:wen – hiy hiy – nakurmiik – merci – thank you!*

*The above translations may differ from other Ojibwe, Kanien’kéha, Cree and Inuktitut dialects, and reflect the languages shared with and spoken by members in the Youth Circle for Mother Earth’s Coordinating Circle and project partners.

2022 Youth Summit

Please check back for information about the 2022 Youth Summit.

If you have any questions about our annual Youth Summit or are interested in sponsoring our event, please contact Christine Ambre, Conservation Education Coordinator, at 1-800-440-2366 ext. 244 or christinea@ontarionature.org.

Medicine bundle, 2021 Youth Summit © Arlo W

2021 Youth Summit for Mother Earth

Over the past 12 Youth Summits, we have engaged 231 communities across Ontario.