Discovery Programs at Riverwood

Connecting our community to the wonders of nature

Discovery programs at Riverwood are designed to provide adults, families, and organized groups with key environmental messages about Riverwood and other natural areas within the Credit River watershed and beyond.

The program continues to successfully foster an understanding of the many challenges faced by natural areas; the value these spaces provide the community; the reasons to protect and restore them; and the actions individuals and communities can take to improve green spaces and their associated wildlife habitat and natural resources.

We aim to offer Discovery Program programs at a low cost to both individuals and families, and in some cases, programs are entirely free of charge. We keep costs to the public low because we know how important it is for all people, regardless of their income, to be able to safely connect with nature.

What the public learns through our nature education programs transcends the Riverwood property and connects our local community to the wider natural world.

Discovery Program Goals

  • Develop and deliver ecological literacy programs that connect people with nature, fostering community understanding and appreciation of natural areas.
  • Focus on inclusive and accessible programs.
  • Offer subject matter that supports public engagement including citizen science, conservation, natural history, and gardening.
  • Develop and provide virtual programs for those who may not be able to visit Riverwood in-person.
  • Offer programs through a lens of Indigenous culture, history, and truth and reconciliation.

Public Programs

Discovery offers a wide variety of community programs on natural and human history, outdoor skills, mental and physical wellbeing, gardening, conservation, astronomy, photography, and more. Two of our popular recurring programs are Beginner Birding, which sees participants learn the basics of birding and how to identify birds by sound, colour, shape, and size; and Forest Bathing, which gives participants a boost to their mental and physical health through mindful awareness of nature with the assistance of a trained forest therapy guide.

Guided Tours

Immerse yourself in nature with a 1.5-hour guided tour at Riverwood with our naturalists. Choose from one of our engaging programs listed below, or if you have a particular subject in mind that isn't covered, feel free to get in touch with us to explore additional options.

We always adapt our programs to meet your groups' needs! Whether it be shortening distances, slowing the pace, or simply staying in one area and observing nature while seated.

Pricing: $10 per person for a group of up to 25 participants. Minimum charge of $150 per group.

Riverwood 101 | Year-Round

Join us for a tour around Riverwood to explore the natural and cultural history of the site, as well as visiting the garden beds and conservation sites that The Riverwood Conservancy maintains.

Birding | Year-Round

Riverwood offers one of the best birding opportunities in Mississauga, thanks to The Riverwood Conservancy's work to preserve habitat and diverse ecosystems. Join us to learn bird identification by colour, shape, and sound. Binoculars will be provided for the duration of the event, along with a bird checklist to take home (and bring back on your next visit!). All experience levels are welcome, and we'll tailor the tour to accommodate your group’s birding knowledge.

Tree ID | Year-Round

Riverwood has vast biodiversity when it comes to trees, creating a healthy and thriving ecosystem. Learn how to identify Ontario’s tree species by leaves, bark, buds, cones, and shapes.

Nighttime Nature | Year-Round

Don’t be afraid of the dark – the nocturnal creatures that inhabit Riverwood sure aren’t! Come explore nature at night and learn about your nocturnal neighbours, including the sights and sounds you may not normally experience in the daytime.

Wildlife Tracking | January – March

Winter offers ideal conditions for tracking wildlife and understanding their movements. Each track offers a hint to a bigger story. Join us to explore footprints left in the snow, the remanence of animal chews, and the hints of a warm winter home beneath the snow.

Butterfly ID | May – August

Join us for a slow meander through Riverwood looking at all things that flutter! Learn the basics of identifying butterflies by their colour, size, shape, and flight. We will equip you with butterfly nets and teach you how to ethically catch, identify, and release butterflies.

Garden Tour | May - September

With nearly ten unique gardens at Riverwood, there is much to explore and learn. Join us for a stroll through our garden beds and learn about their upkeep and maintenance that is primarily done by our dedicated volunteers. Discover how you can bring the magic of these gardens to your own backyard, or get involved in our volunteer gardening programs.

Wildflower Walk | May – September

Join us for a walk in the woods as we admire our native wildflowers, and maybe some pesky invasives as well. Every new month provides an opportunity to see a new species of blooming wildflowers.

The Salmon Run | Late September – Mid-October

Join us to learn about the fascinating biology and history behind the yearly salmon run. From Lake Ontario all the way up the Credit River that runs through Riverwood, these salmon migrate through shallow rivers to lay the next generation. Please note that Riverwood does not have natural waterfalls or man-made dams, so you do not typically observe salmon “jumping” out of the water.

Fall Colours | September – October

When the fall comes around, Riverwood's forest canopy is on full display with bright reds, yellows, and oranges! Join us for a walk in the woods, observing the season’s changes and learn why natural phenomena occur at this time of the year. You may be surprised to learn that it's not only the trees that are changing colours!

Winter Wildlife | November – March

Canadian winters are extremely taxing on the survival of our wildlife. Many species have chosen between three distinct adaptations: hibernation, migration, or to completely tolerate the colder conditions. Join us for a walk around Riverwood as we look at some of the species that are braving the winter, and explore the habitats of hibernating critters.

Virtual Presentations for Groups

Can't make it to Riverwood? No worries! Immerse your group in a captivating 1-hour virtual presentation, and we'll bring Riverwood directly to you! Select from our most popular programs below or get in touch with us for a customized presentation.

Pricing: $150 per group. Unlimited number of participants. Recording or sharing of presentation is strictly prohibited.

Riverwood 101

Join us for a virtual tour around Riverwood exploring the natural and cultural history of the site, as well as virtually visiting the garden beds and conservation sites that The Riverwood Conservancy maintains.

Birds and Blooms

Learn how to be thoughtful in your backyard gardens when it comes to providing natural food, shelter, water and space for our native bird species. Birds provide humans with a tremendous amount of ecosystem services, but how can you repay the favour?

The Beaver

A Canadian Legend. This remarkable creature is not just an ecosystem engineer, creating its own habitat, shelter, and food, but also plays a crucial role in providing essential ecosystem services and habitat for other wildlife. Join us to delve into the fascinating world of this diligent tree-feller.

Meet Your Monarch

Adored worldwide for its captivating beauty and inspiring conservation story. Join us to learn about the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, its massive migration from Canada to Mexico, and the numerous challenges throughout its journey.

Booking a Guided Tour or Virtual Presentation for a Group

Please contact our Community Programs Coordinator, Stephanie Keeler, to book your group's guided tour or virtual presentation. Please ensure to include in your message:

  • Your program choice from the options above, or details on a customized program
  • 2-3 possible dates and times
  • Your group size
  • Any accessibility requirements