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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.

Youth Summit, 2019 © Noah Cole

2023 Youth Summit for Mother Earth

Our annual Youth Summit brings together young people aged 14–20 for a weekend of nature exploration, environmental learning and outdoor fun.

For the 2023 Youth Summit, Ontario Nature, the Indigenous Environmental Institute at Trent University, Plenty Canada, and Walpole Island Land Trust will be partnering with our leaders on the Youth Council and Youth Circle for Mother Earth’s Coordinating Circle to offer a unique, cross-cultural event for youth across Ontario.

Nogojiwanong Hub with Matt Levac, Youth Summit for Mother Earth 2022 © Maggie Cummings

Weekend Details

When: September 22–24, 2023
Where: Camp Wahanowin, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, Odawa and the Pottawatomi Nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy. The Chippewas of the Rama Mnjikaning First Nation have played an integral role in shaping and strengthening the surrounding community. Camp Wahanowin is located on what is now known as Longford Mills, just north of Orillia, Ontario.
Who: 90 youth (aged 14–20) from across Ontario

This year, as we transition back into in-person programming, we are especially enthusiastic about delivering an action-packed weekend of hands-on, outdoor education and land-based learning opportunities alongside our incredible partners. Ontario Nature’s COVID-19 Precautions for Events provides details on the prevention measures we will take in advance of and during the event. The Youth Summit for Mother Earth will be held in compliance with Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s COVID-19 measures at the time of the event.

Vertablitz challenge, Youth Summit 2019 © Noah Cole


Registration for the Youth Summit for Mother Earth is now closed.

Please contact Maya Davidson at mayad@ontarionature.org or 416-444-8419 (toll-free 1-800-440-2366) ext. 280 if you are a sponsored youth or if you have inquiries about sponsorship.

Great Group Challenge Champions, Youth Summit 2019 © Christine Ambre

2022 Youth Summit Highlights

From September 24–25, 2022 environmental leaders from across the province gathered in a hybrid version of our Youth Summit. While many attendees participated in the event online, in-person hubs were also held in Peterborough (Nogojiwanong), Walpole Island (Bkejwanong), Thunder Bay and Toronto. This re-imagined gathering brought 36 young leaders and 4 youth mentors together through livestreaming and hubs. These youth represented communities across Ontario from as far as Windsor, Ottawa and Thunder Bay, with youth identifying from Indigenous communities and diverse cultures around the world.

Other highlights included sessions on cultural humility, Two-eyed seeing and Ethical Space, land-based activities and teachings, the beauty of birding and more.

We were also lucky to have Elder Shirley Williams (Migizi ow Kwe), member of the Bird Clan of the Ojibway and Odawa First Nations. She spoke of language, important elements in Anishinaabemowin: land (ki), air (nesewin), fire (mskkode) and water (nibi) and how youth can learn more and be better allies.

Youth Summit for Mother Earth 2022, High Park Hub, Bird Hike © Ontario Nature

“I gained a symbolic ring representing the four directions/the four stages of life, and I gained experience with the area, the history, and the culture of Indigenous Peoples. I also really loved the orchid-gami making. It was fun to fold, helped me practice my origami skills and patience, and the end result is super fun to look at. I also loved connecting with [event partners], and all the other wonderful people who helped me learn over the summit.”
2022 Youth Summit participant residing on the territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Attawanderonk peoples in what is currently known as Eden

“I really enjoyed the summit and am so grateful to have participated. I learned so much about Indigenous teachings and connections to the land and Mother Earth. I am excited to bring all the knowledge and resources from the summit to my school community and green team. It will allow us to work on new projects and give me an opportunity of being a leader in my green team.”
2022 Youth Summit participant residing on the traditional lands of the Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson Superior Treaty of 1850, in what is currently known as Thunder Bay

Wolf Lake © Ryan Mariotti

Thank you to our Nature Network members and other organizations .

Their support made the 2022 summit successful.

  • Bancroft Field Naturalists 
  • Bert Miller Nature Club
  • Carden Field Naturalists
  • Charleston Lake Association
  • Credit Valley Conservation
  • Durham Region Field Naturalists
  • Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation
  • Friends of Mashkinonje
  • Friends of Minesing Wetlands
  • Friends of Ojibway Prairie
  • Four Seasons Conservancy
  • Friends of Salmon River
  • Halton-North Peel Naturalists
  • Huron Fringe Field Naturalists
  • Ingersoll District Nature Club
  • Kawartha Field Naturalists
  • Leeds and Grenville Stewardship Council
  • Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists
  • Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
  • Nature Barrie
  • Nature London
  • Nith Valley EcoBoosters
  • North American Native Plant Society
  • North Durham Nature Club
  • Otter Valley Naturalists
  • Peterborough Field Naturalists
  • Quinte Field Naturalists
  • South Peel Naturalists Club
  • Thunder Bay Field Naturalists
  • Thickson’s Woods Land Trust
  • Vankleek Hill and District Nature Society
  • Waterloo Region Nature
  • Willow Beach Field Naturalists
  • York Simcoe Nature Club

This project has been made possible by:

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) logo
Ontario Trillium Foundation logo

Ontario Nature members

2022 Youth Summit for Mother Earth

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

*The above translations may differ from other Ojibwe, Kanien’kéha, Cree, Oneida 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.

Over the past 14 Youth Summits, we have engaged youth from 237 communities across Ontario, representing nations across North America/Turtle Island and cultures around the world.