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Nature Guardians Youth Program

Dedicated teens leading conservation initiatives

Youth Council at the 2018–2019 leadership retreat © Natalie Rae


Our Nature Guardians Youth Program brings youth together through nature-based experiences and leadership opportunities to inspire and grow the next generation of conservation leaders in Ontario.

We aim to support high-school aged youth by:

  • Offering hands-on opportunities for meaningful engagement and community involvement through outdoor events and campaigns
  • Developing the knowledge, tools and networks youth need to create lasting, positive change through conservation action
  • Providing insight on volunteer, education and career opportunities to help youth grow the skills, experience and confidence needed to make a difference
Our Special Spaces, Peterborough 2019 © Robert Ormston

What We Are Doing

Youth Council
Dedicated teens leading conservation initiatives

Youth Summit
A weekend-long event that inspires youth

Youth Circle for Mother Earth
A cross-cultural network of young Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental leaders

Pollinator Campaign
Youth take the lead to protect wild pollinators


The Nature Guardians Youth Program responds to an urgent need in society to reconnect youth to the natural world. By providing opportunities to explore, discover and protect wild species and spaces, our program offers environmental volunteering opportunities while nurturing a love for nature and a commitment to conservation.

For more information about the program, please contact Christine Ambre, education manager, at 416-444-8419 ext. 244 or christinea@ontarionature.org.

March Break Birding Social, Nature Guardians Youth Program © Simone Cao

Youth Environmentalist Award

The Youth Environmentalist Award recognizes and celebrates the contributions to nature conservation made by a youth in Ontario Nature’s youth programming and honours the memory of the Canadian victims on Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. On March 10, 2019, Flight ET302 was on its way to Nairobi, Kenya where many of the passengers were going to attend the United Nations environmental conference that was scheduled to take place the following day.

The Youth Environmentalist Award is a tribute to the efforts and interests of the Canadian victims, and nominations were reviewed by their loved ones alongside Ontario Nature’s Education Team.

The winner of the 2023 Youth Environmentalist Award is Luke Nguyen, a member of the Ontario Nature Youth Council, who has done outreach about Ontario’s wetlands, supported and led plantings in Durham Region, led a session on starting community-based environmental initiatives at the 2023 Youth Summit, and has contributed his excellent writing skills to activities, Ontario Nature’s blog and the Youth Council Instagram page. Luke is the co-founder of Operation EcoPen, an organization that recycles used writing instruments, and has grown mealworms and produce to donate to the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

Youth Environmentalist Award 2023 ceremony © Sarah Hedges


The Nature Guardians Youth Program is generously supported by: