Photo: 2013 Homegrown Park Rangers
All photos taken by Katy Chan
Ranger Georgia has a background in design and architecture and has been actively involved in a litany of grassroots groups in Toronto, ranging from the Centre for Social Innovation and Human River to Karma Food Coop and Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market. As part of the Homegrown National Park Project, Georgia is working with Ranger Anjum to create some magic by working with their neighbours on Palmerston Square to bring some nature back to her neighbourhood

Ranger Kristi mastered the art of catching frogs by hand at a very young age during summers spent at a cabin in Temagami, Ontario. She now gets her nature-fix by enjoying the wonders of Trinity Bellwoods Park and hanging with the Toronto Field Naturalists — and she occasionally blogs about it.

Ranger Annie studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto where she learned a lot about of the city's "Lost Rivers." Among her many talents, she is an illustrator and conducts workshops on gardening and DIY bike repair. Annie aspires to bring more green to the city and is starting by planting native species in her own backyard and getting her neighbours to do likewise.

Ranger Chris is an architect with a keen interest in restoring Toronto's historic buildings and bringing more attention to the history of the Garrison Creek. He chairs the Trinity Bellwoods Community Association and has been involved efforts to Bring Back the Don River. Chris is currently working with Charles G. Fraser elementary school to naturalize their grounds.

Since growing up on a farm in Austria, Ranger Andrea has always been connected to the wonderful world of plants. She trained as an agricultural engineer, has been actively involved in the vibrant community at Dufferin Grove Park and currently volunteers as a horticultural therapist at CAMH. She aspires to convert "little unused spaces" throughout the city into productive gardens.

While growing up in Scarborough, Ranger Lori and her brothers spent most of their time hanging out in a massive tree on her family's yard. Now her playground is Liberty Village, where she is active in the Liberty Village Residents Association. Lori and her team of newly 'deputized' Park Rangers will be taking on projects to green condos and under-appreciated public space throughout the neighbourhood this summer.

Ranger Maxyne fondly recalls organizing 'frog races' at the local pond and foraging for specimens for her mother's science class as a kid. She is finishing her degree in Environmental Design at OCADU and last year spearheaded an award-winning effort to establish a children's garden on the rooftop of the Arcadia Co-op. She is a former costume designer and devoted champion of Little Norway Park

Ranger Franny grew up in Trinity Bellwoods Park; tobogganing down the hills, walking her dog in the pit and learning to swim at the community centre. Despite being raised in the heart of a big city, early canoe trips as a kid really had an impact. For several years Franny has been guiding epic whitewater canoe trips through the arctic and northern Ontario.

Ranger Gabe literally had a forest in his backyard when he was growing up. So its not suprising he studied Horticulture at Humber College and wants to bring living green walls to alleyways throughout the Homegrown National Park. Gabe DJs at several clubs in the city and volunteers to help people build and fix their own bikes.

Ranger Andrea spent several years working with the formidable folks at the Western Canada Wilderness Committee in B.C. and is a currently completing a Masters of Environmental Studies degree at York University. She is a veteran of Choir!Choir!Choir!, Toronto's hip weekly choir community, and worked with the urban food advocates at FoodShare. As part of the Homegrown National Park Project, Andrea is developing the Get Growing Gardening Contest. Get Growing will celebrate the work of community members in Toronto's Ward 19 who have taken a particular interest in greening balconies, front yards, backyards, abandoned public spaces and planters.

Ranger Aidan is a natural-born story teller that has lived in Toronto's west end for most of his life. He recently returned to the city and will start his PhD in Theatre Studies at York University in the fall. Aidan is developing a performance-based project that enlivens one of Toronto's lost rivers. When this city was established, you could canoe along Garrison Creek from today's Bathurst Station to Lake Ontario's shoreline at Fort York. Watch for his "Community Canoe" project this summer.

Ranger Anjum grew up on the edge of a forest in Scarborough and was the only girl on her block brave enough to collect bugs. As a mother, she now realizes that what she took from granted in her childhood — magical nearby places to climb fallen trees, build forts, learn about nature and imagine endless possibilities — requires care and thought to cultivate. As part of the Homegrown National Park Project, Anjum hopes to create some magic by working with Ranger Georgia and their neighbours on Palmerston Square to bring some nature back to her neighbourhood.

Since 2005, Ranger Jennifer has been watching Liberty Village explode with new development and is keen to ensure that the neighbourhood's future is bright green. Following culinary celebrations like Soupstock, which brought together great food and advocacy in a city park, Jennifer has ambitious plans to create a Homegrown Park Crawl through more than a dozen parks in the Garrison Creek corridor this summer.

Ranger Lindsey's first memories of nature were catch-and-release snake hunts with her dad. She is a natural fit for the Park Rangers project, participating in the Ontario Ranger program with the Ministry of Natural Resources as a teen. She is now a real estate agent within the Homegrown National Park and is keen to encourage residents to green their properties — and increase their property value! As part of the Homegrown National Park Project, Lindsey is developing the Get Growing Gardening Contest. Get Growing will celebrate the work of community members in Toronto's Ward 19 who have taken a particular interest in greening balconies, front yards, backyards, abandoned public spaces and planters.

Growing up in a mountainous region of Taiwan, Ranger Ruby and her sister spent plenty of time exploring the outdoors. Her active childhood has rubbed off. By day she is a high school teacher. When school's out, Ruby is a member of Momentum Dance Toronto, a community dance company, and is a yoga instructor at Yoga Tree.

Ranger Sean grew up on ten acres of fields and forests outside of Guelph, Ontario and someday hopes to get back to quiet surroundings. Sean is a web developer and talented singer-songwriter, recording under the name Sheltered in Sound. As an active member of the Christie Pits Residents Association, Sean is keen to bring more green to his neighbourhood.

While on a childhood family camping trip, Ranger Gillian baited her first ever fishing line — and promptly hooked her finger. But that did nothing to dampen her love of nature — Gillian keeps bees and is a member of the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative. As a director of the North American Native Plant Society, Gillian is always happy to help offer advice about what plants are best to support local birds, bees and butterflies.

Ranger Simon has lived, worked and played in the Homegrown National Park most of his life. He is an elementary school teacher and runs a summer camp program called Toronto Trekkers. Each day the camp starts and ends at Christie Pits Parks and during the day they explore green spaces throughout the city; orienteering in Bickford Park; building forts in High Park, guided nature hikes at the Evergreen Brickworks.

Ranger Gene is no stranger to greening his neighbourhood. For more than a decade he has been initiating and organizing community projects, like plantings in Trinity Bellwoods Park and communal gardens along Queen Street West. This past winter he helped turn the community greenhouse in the park into a pop-up café. Through the Homegrown National Park Project Gene will be continuing efforts to establish a community garden project and host community meals in the park.

Long lost underground rivers, lush jungles full of wonderous little-seen creatures and the golden treasure of sunlight shining through a vibrant tree canopy. This is the life of adventure Ranger Rodney now shares with Indiana Jones since joining the Homegrown National Park Project. Rodney is educated in landscape architecture and is a serial digital media entrepreneur. He focuses his time and effort upon building community through physical and virtual interventions wherever he can.

Ranger Nehal fondly remembers delicious childhood picnics along the Niagara Escarpment and sharing her parents' enthusiasm for Canada's parks. After spending time in la belle province, she has relished living in the Homegrown National Park corridor for the past decade. Nehal recently completed a masters degree in public policy, has studied law, public health, political science and religious studies, and generally loves to wonk it up. She is passionate about food, social justice and vegetable gardens and is excited to work with her neighbours to create a community that is inclusive, accessible, diverse, safe and as green as can be!

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