Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant Supports New Indigenous Youth Program At Riverwood

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The magnificent Riverwood urban nature reserve on the shores of the Credit River. Picture: Riverwood Conservancy

MISSISSAUGA: Through a grant of over $70,000, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) will back the creation of a nature-based education program at The Riverwood Conservancy (TRC) that aims to foster social and emotional resilience in secondary students who self-identify as Indigenous.

The pilot project will see the development and delivery of a summer school class in July 2021 that is tailored for Indigenous youth enrolled in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) secondary schools.

This date is subject to change based on the evolving situation around COVID-19. Students
facing social and emotional challenges will benefit from Indigenous elder-led teachings, nature-based training that helps manage stress, and mentor relationships that build confidence.

“We’re thrilled that the natural spaces and wildlife habitat we’ve helped preserve at Riverwood can be utilized as a unique outdoor classroom that will have a lasting and positive impact on Indigenous youth in our community,” says Douglas Markoff, Executive Director of The Riverwood Conservancy.

The initial course will host 26 students, with more anticipated in subsequent years should the course become an ongoing program. Additionally, four undergraduate students from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) will participate in the program as mentors.

The Enabling Garden at Riverwood. Picture: Riverwood Conservancy

The four-week course will take place at Riverwood, a 150-acre nature preserve situated in Mississauga. Course content will be developed cooperatively by an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, TRC, UTM, and the DPCDSB, with guidance from the Board’s Indigenous Education Advisory Council.

The Riverwood Conservancy is the charity that provides programs and direction for Riverwood – the 150-acre, urban nature preserve situated on the shores of the Credit River in Mississauga. Working together with like-minded groups and individuals, our mission is to enable people of all cultures, ages, and abilities to respectfully connect with nature and learn about the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring natural spaces for the wellbeing of future generations – all while experiencing the beauty of the Riverwood gardens.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one
of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $115 million to 644 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.

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