The Rouge Valley Naturalists is a not-for-profit organization that has been dedicated to protecting, preserving and restoring the natural heritage of the Rouge Valley. We educate and inform residents, individuals, community groups and school groups about environmental issues relating to air, land and water. Also, we promote and execute environmental protection initiatives such as waste reduction, habitat protection, and restoration/land use planning that will help to achieve a sustainable and healthy society.

Founded in 1994, The Rouge Valley Naturalists began with a small volunteer base whose love for the Rouge Valley prompted a noble response that continues to this day. Since 1994, RVN has carried out curriculum-based educational programs for elementary and high school students, promoting physical and recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities. The facets of these programs combine guided hikes of the surrounding area with the Ontario curriculum goals for each respective topic.

Similarly, RVN spearheads community-based learning opportunities: By providing workshops, information sessions and other programs to the community, these projects reinforce community involvement and foster partnerships. In addition, over the past 18 years of annual restoration events, RVN has contributed to enhancing and protecting human and ecosystem health.


The Rouge River

The Rouge River is a two river system. Little Rouge and Rouge River are in the east and the northeast parts of Toronto and begin in the Oak Ridges Moraine in Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville. These rivers flow past:

  • Markham, Ontario, northwest, central, to south, including a couple of conservation areas.
  • Eastern edge of Scarborough
  • Rouge Valley Park

At the southern end, the Rouge River system is the boundary between Toronto and southwestern Pickering. Rouge River empties into Lake Ontario. Its original name in Iroquois was Katabokokonk.

The Rouge River is part of Rouge Park, the largest urban park in North America. It is one of a few wilderness areas left in South-Central Ontario, and has been virtually untouched by development since the arrival of Europeans. While many exclusive homes and conclaves border this area on the southern tip, it is currently surrounded largely by agricultural land. It is even devoid of recreational development but sports a considerable network of walking or bicycle paths. Unlike other rivers in the Toronto area, is allowed to fill its entire flood plain on a regular basis rather than being forced through an artificial channel. However, parts of its watershed include the Toronto Zoo and the Beare Road Landfill. Continue Reading →


Imagine yourself as a Rouge Valley Naturalists Volunteer! Join our team and share the fulfillment of bringing nature to urban children and youth. If you have an enthusiasm for nature and love to inspire children and youth about the wonders of the wilderness, then we may have just the volunteering opportunity for you!

We need enthusiastic and outgoing volunteers to deliver our outdoor environmental education programs. No experience necessary. We will provide the training. All we ask of our volunteers is they be energetic, outgoing, have good communication skills and most importantly a willingness to learn, work in a team setting – and hike! Most of our programs are held weekday mornings and afternoons, however there may be opportunities for evening and weekend programming as well. Continue Reading →