Family Adventure Walk in the Forest: A Tribute


York Region Nature Collaborative Family Day at Kortright Centre for Conservation


Honoring Dr. Diane Kashin’s Vision: A Legacy of Nature, Education, and Community

In the heart of our Nature Collaborative, there lies a vision that started it all – Diane's vision. She envisioned a place where early childhood educators could immerse themselves in the wonders of nature, a space not just for learning but for exploration and growth. Diane's dream extended beyond the professional realm; it was about creating an environment where children could also connect with the outdoors.

For the past seven years, we've been privileged to organize an annual adventure walk in the forest, a testament to Diane's commitment to bringing families closer to nature. This wonderful event not only allowed families to explore the great outdoors but also showcased the transformative power of nature.  Educators guided families through immersive outdoor activities, adventures, explorations, creating memories and fostering a love for nature in both young and old.

Diane's legacy is not just a memory but a living, breathing force within our community. We continue to carry the joy of these events ensuring her vision remains with the YRNC and TRCA. As we reflect on Diane's love for the outdoors, her dedication to children, and her unwavering belief in the impact of early childhood educators, we find inspiration to push forward.

In honoring Diane, we embark on a journey to cultivate a community where nature, education, and the spirit of collaboration thrive. Join us in celebrating the legacy of a visionary who believed in the profound influence of the outdoors and the pivotal role of early childhood educators. Together, we'll continue to sow the seeds of knowledge and appreciation for the world around us, inspired by Diane's enduring legacy.


Family Adventure Walk In The Forest: Winter 2024

On February 19, families gathered at the Kortright Centre for Conservation for a memorable Family Day filled with sunshine, laughter, and outdoor adventures. The day's activities were centered around getting outside and spending time in nature, providing families with a unique opportunity to connect with nature, engage in outdoor play, and learn about nature in the winter months. The York Region Nature Collaborative organized the event and so thrilled to see that over 100 families had attended!!



The joy of interacting with over 100 families was evident as they embraced the pleasures of outdoor cooking. The connection between play and learning became apparent as families experimented with open-fire cooking, fostering creativity, teamwork, and even encountering risky play. The aroma of roasting marshmallows filled the air, creating a delightful atmosphere that resonated with the spirit of Family Day. Exploring and engaging activities included, Snow Snakes, and other interactive adventures

The winter sun glistened on the snow at Kortright Centre for Conservation on February 19th, creating a magical backdrop for families seeking adventure on Family Day. Among the diverse array of activities, one of the TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) educators, early childhood educators, volunteers from the community, took the lead in guiding children through the enchanting world of snow snakes and other interactive experiences with snow and ice.


As children gathered with excitement, the TRCA educator introduced them to the art of crafting snow snakes. These creations involve molding snow into elongated shapes, resembling snakes, and then releasing them down a specially constructed track.

This interactive activity not only allowed children to engage in winter artistry but also provided them with insights into the principles of physics as they observed the varying movements of their snow snakes.

Children, in particular, relished the experience of tasting freshly cooked marshmallows while basking in the winter sun with their families. The event successfully merged the joy of play with the warmth of familial bonds, leaving everyone eagerly anticipating the next Family Walk and more time spent in nature.  

From playing in the snow and sledding to experimenting with food-coloring painting on the snow canvas, the day was a celebration of the diverse ways in which families could connect with the winter environment.

A highlight of the day was the creation of ice art using pre-made ice blocks. Families worked together to arrange and, in some cases, playfully smash the ice blocks, turning them into unique sculptures. This tactile experience not only allowed for creative expression but also showcased the transformative power of the winter elements.


Fabric and Stick Forts, Photo credit Cindy Green

Another engagement and exciting aspects of the day was witnessing families and children engage in building structures with natural materials and building forts with fabrics.  The outdoor environment provided a canvas for creativity, where families listened to children's thoughts and followed their lead. Together, they constructed forts, dens, and wooden structures, capturing these moments with photographs to cherish the memories.

The winter adventures at Kortright Centre continue to serve as a reminder that nature, play, and education can seamlessly come together to create meaningful and joyous experiences for families, ensuring a love for the outdoors and the great appreciation of the Land in which we are invited to engage with nature and other ways of knowing.

Comments from the Community and Volunteers

” The Family Adventure Walk in the Forest began with a sacred fire and ceremony, paying tribute to the late Diane Kashin, the visionary behind the event. Families celebrated the winter wonderland by participating in various activities, from sledding and snowshoeing to creating ice art and traditional den building”-Eunji

“February 19 was a beautiful sunny winter Family Day . I had the pleasure of meeting over 100 families at the Kortright Centre for Conservation. It was pleasure to interact with the families and introduce them to Fire and Food. Like any form of play, outdoor cooking is intertwined with a vast array of learning experiences. It involves experimentation, creativity, teamwork and first encounters with risk. It was evident that the children loved tasting the cooked marshmallows and spending time with their families outdoors. I am looking forward to the next Family walk and spending more time outdoors.”   Donna 

The next Family Adventure Walk will be on May 26th, 2024. Visit the website and follow us on Instagram @yr_naturecollaborative  for updates and information. Looking forward to the next event!













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  • Rachel Stewart
    published this page in BLOG 2024-03-09 11:21:53 -0800
  • Rachel Stewart
    published this page in BLOG 2024-03-09 11:15:14 -0800


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