Ravine Youth Team

The Ravine Youth Team is a student internship program that aims to engage youth in restoring Toronto’s ravines while providing them with enhanced employment opportunities within the environmental sector.

Applications for the 2024 Team Are Now Open!


members of TRCA Ravine Youth Team pose for group photograph

Ravine Youth Team: Program Background

The Greater Toronto Area’s ravine system is the region’s most distinctive natural feature. Engaging young people in preserving and protecting ravines is key to ensuring that this system continues to deliver ecological services and provide opportunities for residents to connect with nature.

In 2020, the City of Toronto partnered with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to develop and deliver the Ravine Youth Team program, now in its fifth year.

The program was developed in the context of Toronto’s Ravine Strategy and Ravine Strategy Implementation Plan.

TRCA Ravine Youth Team member conducting wetland restoration work
TRCA Ravine Youth Team members provide support at TRCA community learning event
TRCA Ravine Youth team members conduct environmental monitoring field work

The Ravine Youth Team program aims to provide opportunities to learn about the ravines, as well as to develop job-related and professional development skills, and to learn about career opportunities in the environmental sector with City of Toronto, TRCA, and other potential employers.

The program is designed to provide access and exposure to a variety of possible roles and career paths within the sector, as well as networking, support, and direction in pursuing future career opportunities.



Natalie“The Ravine Team gave me the opportunity to explore different paths and tasks working in conservation and in the environmental sector.

I came at it as a second career and wasn’t sure exactly what direction I had in mind for myself, let alone that there were as many options as there are in the field! The Ravine Team gave me that space to try ‘a little bit of everything’ as I entered my final year of Conservation Biology at Fleming College.

I learned more about restoration, education, monitoring, waterfront conservation, mist netting for songbird migration, tree planting, invasive removal, and largely the importance of community- and Indigenous-based conservation. Even the other staff that took us on for the day or the week commented on the diversity of the Ravine Team’s scope and a number of them said ‘I wish that was around when I was starting out.’

Either way, the Ravine Team was just an amazing internship that gave myself, my crew, and the team as a whole, a place to see what was our best fit – and sometimes that shocked each of us as interests changed by the end of the summer!

I realized through my time as a Crew Lead that it really doesn’t matter what background you’re coming from – we all ended up striving for the same thing and thrived on each other’s new perspectives. We had space to put in hard work, learn, and grow professionally.

After putting the Ravine Team on my resume, I was getting more attention from employers. While I was learning on the team, I was gaining experience that conservation and environmental positions are looking for and that brought my name to the top of the lists in a lot of cases. However, as I had a year left of school, I decided to stay on with TRCA as a Weekend Staff, but I know there are now positions waiting for me this summer!

Now, I will be finishing off my final semester of my studies and am excited for what lies ahead. Fun fact too: this past semester, I was actually able to share examples and experiences in class to help educate classmates on some field techniques because of work I did on the Ravine Team this past summer! I thought that was amazing, too – just goes to show the experience being on the Ravine Team provided me with!”


Ross“Being a part of the first TRCA Ravine Team, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but once the job started, I knew I made the right decision. I really enjoyed getting to join a diverse range of teams within TRCA, doing a variety of projects like invasive species removal on The Meadoway, aquatic planting at Tommy Thompson Park, and more.

These experiences gave me more insight into what part of the environmental field I was most interested in.

The Ravine Team also hosted workshops with TRCA supervisors, City of Toronto staff, provincial staff, and Parks Canada staff that answered any questions we had about the hiring process. This was a unique opportunity and it helped me immensely in applying for future positions.

The Ravine Team position also led me to a job at TRCA with the Ecosystem Management team because I was able to ‘try’ out the work and chat with the Ecosystem Management staff before applying to the position. These experiences built up my knowledge and skills to apply for future positions like the Community Outreach Coordinator position I have now with Credit Valley Conservation.

Overall, the Ravine Team was an amazing time, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the environmental field.”


Pascale“Joining the Ravine Team allowed me to discover a wide range of possible careers in the environmental field, some of which I’d never even heard of! I learned skills directly applicable to environmental work and expanded my professional connections. Thanks to this opportunity, I was able to keep working in a variety of roles at TRCA, where I’ve continued to explore my interests in community outreach and ecosystem restoration. My latest position as a field staff at The Meadoway inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, where I am now studying the impact of invasive plant management on native pollinators in partnership with The Meadoway team!”


Adam“I’m a super fan and constant promoter of the Ravine Team! 10 years ago, as a volunteer, and a person struggling to find work in the environmental field, I can safely say that no program like this existed. The Ravine Team program is truly unique.

The biggest strength of the Ravine Team is that it bridges the gap between school and work in the environmental field. During my fourth year of schooling, I did notice some overlap in teachings, and I thought I held a good idea of what path I’d be taking in the field. As a member of the Ravine Team though, I felt rejuvenated, and I started to imagine myself doing work which I previously knew little or nothing about.

I particularly enjoyed learning how to rear bumbles bees for identification and research, and how to monitor benthic invertebrates, in order to determine the health of a stream. These were great, hands-on learning opportunities that my schooling didn’t provide.

The Ravine Team opened doors I might not have opened myself, it provided me with snapshots of different paths to take, and promoted engagement with a diverse group of people across the Greater Toronto Area.

I must admit, there were times that I felt discouraged and down on my luck over the years. The Ravine Team marked a turning point in my professional life. I felt lucky, I felt a new beginning happening, and more importantly, I felt like I was more focused and willing to make things happen for myself. It was a healthy and powerful feeling to want to propel myself into these new spaces and engage.

Since the Ravine Team, I have done some large-scale tree and shrub planting with TRCA. I’m currently working on TRCA’s Community Stewardship Program team. We facilitate tree and shrub planting events for schools, religious groups, corporate groups, volunteers, and neighbourhood initiatives. We’re all in this together, and there’s a place for anyone at these events.

It’s inspiring to be able to tap into the thousands and thousands of people that want to make a difference for our city and our planet, and witness their collective efforts!”


Doreen“Being a Crew Lead for the Ravine Team was such a wonderful experience! Each day always brought new, fun, and fulfilling activities that gave us a wide range of experience in the environmental sector. From getting advanced experience with field work involving invasive species management and restoring environments with native species, to community engagement, to networking with industry professionals and professional development opportunities such as bumble bee monitoring. The program prepared us for career advancement by providing enriching experiences while restoring the ravines throughout the City.

At the end of the program, I was able to get job offers and accelerated my urban forestry career at LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) as the Residential Planting Programs Assistant. The Ravine Team helped advance my environmental career with relevant experience, learning opportunities and valuable support.”


Connor“Working on the Ravine Team was incredibly rewarding. I had the opportunity to really experience a huge variety of different environmental work and no two days were the same. I particularly enjoyed the days I spent doing community learning programs and helping with terrestrial monitoring. I’m very thankful I got to meet so many people that were so knowledgeable and passionate about their work. The staff and volunteers I met at TRCA, the City of Toronto, and ENAGB were amazing and their dedication to the work they were doing definitely inspired me.

I was very surprised to find a position that I feel really gave me the skills to begin my career in conservation and that was also fun. I was happy to go to work every day because I knew that whatever the Ravine Team was doing that day was going to be new and relevant to where I want to go in my future. The staff running the program and my colleagues were lovely people who all shared the same values regarding the work we want to be doing and I only had positive experiences working alongside them.”

Program Activities and Training

Ravine Youth Team members work four days a week during their contract and engage in professional development one day per week. Work tasks vary, but may include:

  • Invasive species management
  • Planting
  • Maintenance of newly planted sites
  • Terrestrial and aquatic monitoring
  • Erosion risk management
  • Litter clean-ups
TRCA Ravine Youth Team member conducting wetland restoration work
TRCA Ravine Youth Team member conducting wetland restoration work
TRCA Ravine Youth Team members conduct stream electrofishing monitoring work

The Ravine Youth Team works with TRCA and City of Toronto staff on sites within the ravine system. They also take part in outreach efforts to engage community members in protecting and using the ravine spaces close to their homes.


Professional Development opportunities are targeted to careers in the environmental sector and have included sessions on environmental monitoring and plant identification, as well as workshops on resume writing skills and networking opportunities.

In addition, at the beginning of their term with TRCA, all Ravine Team members receive full on-boarding training, including leadership training for Crew Lead positions.


Funded by the City of Toronto through the Ravine Strategy

City of Toronto