Adult Courses at Kortright

At Kortright Centre for Conservation we realize that education is a lifelong process. To provide educational opportunities for our adult visitors, we introduced a series of courses in 2017. All of our course are taught by experts in the field and provide hands-on training that will allow you to apply your knowledge in the field.

Organic Gardening

This course will cover all the skills required to grow a successful organic garden. Led by experienced educator and knowledgeable organic farmer Buchi Onakufe, the course will include both indoor and hands-on outdoor learning. The course will meet once per month throughout the growing season at Akachi Farms, our on-site organic farm. Topics will include: seeding, site preparation, transplanting, planting for maximum yield, weed control, succession planting, backyard chickens, pest control, seed saving and harvesting. Please bring gardening gloves, knee pads (if desired), sunscreen, hat, bug repellent, a snack and a water bottle.


Sundays, March 25, April 22, May 27, June 24, July 22, Aug 26, Sept 23, Oct 14, 1p.m. - 4p.m.


$349 + HST for 8 session course

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Introduction to Beekeeping

This seven part course provides information and hands on opportunities for the beginner beekeeper. Led by experienced apiarists, this course walks participants through the active bee season from April to November. Participants will learn how to build hive equipment, perform status checks of active hives, assess the health of the Queen, control for pests and diseases, harvest honey, and prepare hives for winter. Each session contains both in class learning and hands on experience in the bee yard with experts. Veils and jackets available on request.

Preparing for the Beekeeping Season
Study the basics of bee biology and learn which plants are most important for the health of your bees. Participate in a hands-on demonstration on how to build Langstroth Beehives.

Opening the Hive after Winter
Learn how to properly open your hive after a long winter, check the health of the Queen and what to look for when monitoring for diseases.

Spring Hive Check
Acquire the knowledge to identify the different castes of bees, bee larvae, and eggs. Learn how to avoid swarming and the appropriate time to add honey supers.

Summer Hive Check
This class will focus on how to check the hives for various diseases and pests such as AFB, chalk brood, wax moths, and varroa mites. Learn how to apply treatments to the hives if such diseases or pests are found. Honey supers will be added to hives as needed.

Summer Harvest
This class will introduce the concepts of nectar flow and summer harvesting techniques. We will continue monitoring activities of the hives for pests and diseases.

Honey Harvest
Learn about the process of extracting honey from honey comb. Participants will learn how to properly use a honey extractor and winter bee feeding strategies.

Putting the Bees to Bed
This class will focus on the process of preparing the colonies for winter. Hive wrapping, merging, and common winter beekeeping challenges will be covered.



Mondays, April 9, May 7, June 4, July 9, Aug 13, Sept 10, Nov 5, 1p.m. - 4p.m.
*New* Sundays, April 22, May 13, June 10, July 15, Aug 19, Sept 23, October 28, 1p.m. - 4p.m.


$299 + HST for 7 session course

Book Monday session (starting April 9)    Book Sunday session (starting April 22)


Ancient Technologies I

This four part course will take you back in time to the ancient woodland setting of the Kortright Centre. Join expert outdoorsman Jonathan Thompson to learn about the four essential elements of survival: fire, shelter, water and food. Learn the art of fire by friction and make your own fire-bow kit to take home. This course will cover a variety of important skills essential to survival including cordage, tracking, shelter building, finding potable water and foraging.

Session 1: Shelter

This session will cover the basics of shelter building: site location, types of shelters, dead space/trapped air and natural vs modern shelters. This information will be put into practice through building a debris hut and lean-to shelter with natural materials if available like grasses. You will also build a 'super shelter' which will incorporate modern materials including tarp/parachute clear plastic, mylar foil, raised wooden platform, hoops bent over platform for support of tarps/plastic.

Session 2: Water

The session will start with a lecture on water covering location/ sources, purification techniques natural and modern, wild teas, containers. Then you will be purifying water using both materials harvested on site some materials that will be provided like cloth, containers/ teapots. You will also learn to make wild teas on a Canadian bush stove.

Session 3: Fire

The session will start with a lecture on fire building covering types of firelighting and natural vs modern technology. Then the group will collect materials for bow drill/ handdrill friction firesandattempt to make friction fires. You will also practice modern firelighting techniques including making charred cloth and using flint strikers.

Session 4: Food

The session will begin with a lecture covering the top five wild edibles and food procurement including fishing, hunting, trapping and stalking wild game. Then time will be spent making a variety of traps and other tools like an atlatls, rabbit sticks and arrowheads. You will also be cooking over the fire and learning various cooking techniques.


Saturday & Sunday, May 5, 6, 12 & 13, 9a..m. - 1p.m.


$169 + HST for this 4 session course

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Ancient Technologies II

This class 2 day follow-up to Ancient Technologies I includes an overnight in your self-built shelter. In this class, we?ll take the topics introduced in the first class and apply them to a real survival situation. You?ll need to build your shelter for the night, you?ll start your own fire (or eat a cold dinner!), harvest wild-edible plants, and live a full immersion survival experience for short period of time.


9am Saturday, September 22nd to 2pm Sunday, September 23.


$199 + HST

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The Ontario Naturalist Certification Course Level I

Certificate Cost: $429 + HST

Learn a vast array of naturalist skills from experts in the field. This blended learning course, targeted at budding or amateur naturalists, combines 40 hours of in-class, hands-on instruction and self-paced online learning. In this course you will learn species identification, ecological significance, biology, memory aids, and threats to local flora and fauna. This new found knowledge will help you experience the natural world in a whole new way. This course has a maximum cohort of 20 students to ensure high quality, individualized learning. The following 12 modules are included in this certification course and are also available as individually priced workshops. See the workshops page descriptions, times and prices.

Module 1: Introduction to Birds, Saturday, April 14 & Sunday, April 15

Module 2: Wildflower and Tree Identification, Saturday, June 23

Module 3: Dragonflies and Damselflies, Saturday, July 14

Module 4: Bat ID & Survey Methods, Thursday, July 19

Module 5: Butterflies, Saturday, August 11

Module 6: Bees, Saturday, August 25

Module 7: Reptiles of Ontario, Saturday, September 29

Module 8: Methods in Environmental Education, Saturday, October 20

Module 9: Birds of Prey, Thursday, November 15

Module 10: Natural History of Southern Ontario, Online

Module 11: Amphibian of Ontario, Online

Module 12: Mammal ID and Tracking, Online

Course dates and times have been determined based on the best season and time of day for viewing wildlife in the field and speaker availability.
An Ontario Naturalist Level I certificate will be issued when all course modules are completed.

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The Ontario Naturalist Course Level II

Certificate Course: $459 + HST

This advanced naturalist course introduces new topics and builds upon the skills learned in the Ontario Naturalist Course Level I. This blended learning course, targeted at experienced naturalists or professionals working in the field, combines 50 hours of in-class, hands-on instruction and self-paced online learning. In addition to online and in-class learning, a minimum of 30 volunteers hours are required to complete the certificate course. This course has a maximum cohort of 20 students to ensure high quality, individualized learning.

This course is open to students that have completed the Ontario Naturalist Course Level I or who can demonstrate equivalent knowledge and experience.

Module 1: Birds: Warblers, Saturday, April 28

Module 2: Ferns and Grasses, Saturday, June 23

Module 3: Wildflowers: Beyond the Field Guide, Sunday June 24

Module 4: Sparrows, Saturday, September 29

Module 5: Invertebrate Identification, Sunday, September 30

Module 6: Moses and Liverworts, Saturday, October 6

Module 7: Animal Tracking, Sunday October 7

Module 8: Fungi, Sunday, October 7

Module 9: Human Impacts on the Landscape, Online

Module 10: Winter Tree ID, Online

Course dates and times have been determined based on the best season and time of day for viewing wildlife in the field and speaker availability. An Ontario Naturalist Level II certificate will be issued when all course modules are completed.

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