Community Programs


We offer a range of hands-on educational opportunities on-site in the Nature House and on the sanctuary grounds and waterways. We offer educational programming for homelearners, school groups, and individual youth participants throughout the school year and during summer. All of our programs highlight Garry Oak and Wetland ecosystems and how learners can support local habitats by taking action in their local communities.

Quick Links!

Policy & Booking

Youth Programs

Adult Programs

Senior Programs

All Ages Programs

Caregiver Testimonials

Ecosystem Restoration Events


Visitor Experience

Policy & Booking

How To Book Community Programs

  1. Go to the Booking Calendar to select a date for your program. You will be prompted to provide some information about you or your child.
  2. To complete registration and reserve your booking, a payment will be required using a credit card. We are unable to reserve time slots without payment at this time.
  3. Complete the associated Waiver Form for the program (embedded within the registration)

IMPORTANT: If you anticipate that your child requires extra support (neurodivergent, for example: ADHD) – please contact prior to booking to ensure the program is a good fit for everyone.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list or have any questions, please email


We require 48 hours, or 2 business days, notice for cancellations.

Any cancellations within 48h before the class starts or any no-shows are non-refundable.

Please note, specific programs have associated cancellation fees. 

It puts a lot of strain on a small non-profit organization to offer refunds (due to staff time and the cost of issuing e-transfers). We appreciate your understanding.

Note for home learner caregivers - we can reserve spots in a program and provide an invoice for external payment providers (e.g. government, grants, etc.). Please do not book the program and request a refund for reimbursement.

Junior Stewards

Stewardship is about creating a sense of connection, care, and responsibility for each other and the natural world that supports us. In these outdoor, hands-on sessions, young stewards will be introduced to the Garry Oak ecosystem and then learn and practice restoration skills. These programs will specifically benefit our endangered Western Painted Turtle population, the only remaining native turtle species on Vancouver Island.

Bring lunch, snacks, and a water bottle. This program will have an indoor and outdoor component with health & safety guidelines in place. Please dress ready to spend the day outside.

Jr. Stewards Pro-D Day Camps!

When: Friday February 16th

Time: 9:30 - 3:30pm

Who: 8 - 12 year olds

Cost: $105, 10% discount for members

Registration Link

Junior Steward Pro D Day Camps continued:

When: Friday May 17th

Time: 9:30 - 3:30pm

Who: 6 to 9 year olds

Cost: $105, 10% discount for members

Registration opens soon! 

Please be aware this program has a cancellation fee of $15. 20230109

Young caucasian boy on walking trail at nature preschool
JrSt_NetDip_20230217 (2)

Big & Little

Caregivers and their littles are invited to come explore nature at the Nature Sanctuary together! Big & Little is a fun and interactive program for kids ages 3-5 and their adults. This program includes hands-on discovery, an outside ramble, a story and a craft.

Who: Ages 3-5

When: 10:00 - 11:30 am

Cost: $24 for 1 session, $8 per extra little, 10% Discount for Members

Participant Group Size: 10 Big & Little pairs

January 5th - Magnificent Mammals (Registration URL)

February 2nd - Busy Beavers (Registration URL)

March 1 - Spectacular Salmon (Registration URL)

April 5th - Brilliant Birds (Registration URL)

May 3rd - Daring Dragonflies (Registration URL)

June 7th - Purposeful Pollinators (Registration URL)

 Please be aware this program has a cancellation fee of $15. 20230109

Homeschool Science

Sign up for interactive classes and learn about nature and ecology. Using nature based learning, games and hands-on discovery, students will engage in land and science-based activities.


Registration Link (URL Embedded)

Who: 8-12 year olds

When: Thursdays Feb 1, 8, 15, & 22


Registration Link (URL Embedded)

Who: 5-7 year olds

When: Thursdays April 4, 11, 18, 25

These programs will have an indoor and outdoor component with health & safety guidelines in place.

*Note for home learner caregivers - we can reserve spots in a program and provide an invoice for external payment providers (e.g. government, grants, etc.). Please do not book the program and request a refund for reimbursement.

Please be aware this program has a cancellation fee of $25. 20230109

JrStewardsSortingInvertibrates20220424MadiHaller (1)
Three children look over a map in the outdoors.
Little girls climbing oak tree in springtime

Wellness Wednesdays

Bi-Weekly, 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Wellness Wednesdays offer a space for participants to connect with themselves, nature and community through mindfulness, gentle silence and observational activities in nature. This program aims to evoke thoughtful reflections on what it means to exist with, among or nearby nature and how nature holds expressions of us all. We welcome participants to bring a personal journal if they would like, though it is not a requirement. Sessions may include gentle walks, journaling, creating art, still observation and more!

Please assure to pre-register for this program at least 24 hours before the program so educators can prepare accordingly. Book through the Booking Calendar.

Cost: $5 per participant

If cost is a barrier to attending this program, please reach out:

This program is for ages 17+

Please be aware this program has a no refund policy. 20230109


Marvelous Mushrooms! (Bookable for Groups)

Did you know that humans are more closely related to Fungi than we are to any other kingdom? Or that Split Gill Fungus grows on every continent except Antarctica and has over 23,000 different sexes?

Whether you are a mycophile, have fungiphobia or are somewhere in between we can assure this program will prove that fungi are impressive to say the least!

Marvelous Mushrooms is for beginners to this incredible kingdom and will cover identification basics, the roles and uses of fungi, the dangers of fungi and much more! This 60 minute program will be held inside.

This program is bookable through December and January. Want to book this program for a group? Reach out to us at:



 Please be aware this program has a cancellation fee of $15. 20230829

Who: Adults ages 16+

Where: the Nature House

Cost: $135 for groups of up to 25.

Mission & Vision
Asian senior woman sitting on the wheelchair with family happy smile face on the green park

Available Time Slots:


Anytime between 12:30 - 3:00pm


Anytime between 11:30 - 3:00pm

(Note programs are one hour and please give time either before or after to explore the Sanctuary, we have a wheelchair accessible path to the Founders Wharf)

Please email to confirm time and date.

We are in the process of re-launching our Senior Programs and new programs options will be added once they are created. Some of our old favourites like ‘Mind your Mammals’ will be coming back over the next few months, we just need time to make them perfect!

Hawks, Herons & Hummers

1 hour Program

Take flight with us as we explore the lives of various birds and how their habitat, characteristics and behaviours differ from one another.

We will be focusing on birds that you can find around the Nature Sanctuary, listening to their calls and showing off their beautiful nests which have been donated to the Nature House.

This educational program is aimed to help the community fall back in love with birds, and allow participants to have a hands-on learning experience.

History Tea & Tour

1 hour Program

Learn about the history of Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and the land that it sits on. Uncover the settler history, the stories that were hidden & the environmental changes that were wrought on the land. This tells the story of how the Nature Sanctuary came to be, what we are doing now & our dreams for the future. Tea will be available for the group to enjoy whilst we go on this journey together!

Maximum Group Size: 28 attendees

Cost: $115

 Please be aware this program has a cancellation fee of $25. 20230109

A Closer Look!

This all-ages, interactive program offers participants the opportunity to take a closer look at the natural world. This program makes use of our Microeye, a user-friendly microscope that allows us to zoom into intricacies and designs we would never notice with the naked eye! Each session will have a unique topic which we will discuss as we view related props under the Microeye. We ask participants to bring in items of interest to view. Bonus if they are related to the topic, but this is not a requirement. 

This program runs on alternating Wednesdays from 1-2pm

All ages are welcome and children must be accompanied by an adult for the entirety of the program. 

Please assure to pre-register for this program at least 24 hours before the program so educators can prepare accordingly. Book through the Booking Calendar.

Cost: $5 per participant 

Themes and Dates: 

December 6th: Winter Wonder

Dec 20th - Bones and Builds

Jan 17th - Freshwater Invertebrates

Jan 31st -  Life, Death, and Decomposition

Feb 28th - Brilliant Birds

March 13th - Bones and Builds

March 27th - Freshwater Invertebrates

April 10th - Brilliant Birds

April 24th - Spring Blooms

Following weeks will be posted soon! 

If cost is a barrier to attending this program, please reach out. If bringing items from off-site, please view the collection guidelines on the registration page. 

Please be aware this program has a no refund policy. 20230109

JrStewardsUsingMicroscope20220424MadiHallerGOOD (2)
JrStewardsUsingMicroscope20220424MadiHaller (5)
Nets and other equipment ready for invertebrate sampling on a dock
10 JuniorStewards20220413 MHaller

Wetland Waterkeepers

Returning April 5th 2023 (ends September 2023)!
Bi-Weekly, 10:00 - 11:00am

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society has designed a lake water quality monitoring program that will train community members as Wetland Waterkeepers. Wetlands, also referred to as “the kidneys of the Earth” due to their ability to filter out contaminants, are areas that are saturated long enough to result in anaerobic or low-oxygen soils. These bogs, swamps and open water protect us from flooding, drought and climate change. Wetlands support a remarkable degree of biodiversity, as much as rainforests and coral reefs, because they produce large volumes of food and provide ideal habitat conditions for many organisms. Swan Lake’s wetlands flourish with abundant plant and animal life, from cattails and muskrats to red osier dogwood and nesting warblers.

Volunteers will work alongside our staff team and other local community leaders in a collaborative framework to make meaningful, positive changes to the Nature Sanctuary's sensitive marshland ecosystems. We will train stewards to conduct various water quality assessments to understand the health of the lake by making measurements about the aquatic arthropod community, dissolved oxygen, and other water chemistry. Waterkeepers will also gain an understanding of their local watershed and how their actions on-site and at home can support the resilience of critical wetland habitat. The impact of this stewardship work on site will positively benefit various sensitive wetland species such as the endangered Western Painted Turtle population.

Register via booking calendar
Gather on the Founder's Wharf.

Pollinator Party in a Rewilded Meadow

Returning April 26th 2023!
Bi-Weekly, 10:00 - 11:00 AM

Join us to help monitor pollinator biodiversity in a rewilded meadow on-site using iNaturalist and field-guides. For roughly 100 million years, insects and flowering plants have lived in harmony, with insects transporting nutritious (for them) pollen from plant to plant so that seeds are produced. This ancient symbiotic relationship is essential for human food security and the persistence of all wildlife. Pollinators also support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, and buffer the planet from climate change. Today, these relationships are at risk as pollinators and plants can respond differently to cues from a warming climate. Our community-led monitoring will help to support sensitive and threatened plant and animal species.

We will train stewards to monitor biodiversity using the iNaturalist and Seek apps, the latter of which is an educational tool designed to train students in species identification and nature journaling without posting to iNaturalist. Participants will learn to make research quality observations. Participants will also take a break from their screens and use field guides and journals to sketch their observations. Once participants are confident at making careful observations and have completed their modules, they can start contributing to the global community and its data repository.

Gather by the covered bike rack/information kiosk in the parking lot.

GarryOakDrawing_20230330 (4)
Education Assistants

Caregiver Testimonials!

"We had a wonderful time at Swan Lake. The program was tailored to engage the children, the presenter was knowledgeable and kind. Thank you!"

"This program could not have been as fun, educational and memorable without the instructors. I love that they included games, crafts and a mix of indoor/ outdoor. The structure of this program could not have been better. I loved that they were so welcoming and adaptive to different kid personalities."

"My daughter's favourite part was holding a snake, learning about the turtle and the treasure hunt in the forest."

"My son really enjoyed the pond dipping and the owl pellet dissection. There was a fun mix of talking, games, movement and nature objects. Madi and Andy and Aven were so friendly and enthusiastic."

"I really appreciated how engaged the facilitator was with the children."

Adult Program Testimonials:

"The nature educator’s passion for the subject was obvious which contributed to an interesting and exciting program overall.

"The vibe of the presentation was great. I really enjoyed getting the chance to have a hands on look at the mushrooms, and the walk around the park was the icing on the cake!"

"Presentation/display, knowledge and enthusiasm was shared in an educational format ending in a wonderful mushroom walk/talk/identification experience."

"The presenter was excellent and thoughtful...Good resources, good books recommended, thoughtful responses to audience with experience, good management of the power point and pacing."

"Madi gave a stimulating and very interesting presentation followed by an excellent nature walk to identify mushrooms at the Sanctuary. Gave me tools to explore this topic further."

"Was very engaging, the presenter was passionate."

Have you recently attended one of our Community Programs?

Leave us a review on Chatterblock today!

Program Costs

Program  Duration Cost
Biology Buddies 1.5 h $24
Homeschool Science Series 4 sessions x 1.5h = 6 h $105
Summer Science Series 4 sessions x 1.5h = 6 h $105
Big & Little 1.5 h $24 (for 1 big & 1 little +$8 for extra littles)
Junior Stewards (Pro D) 6 h $105
Junior Stewards (4 day camp) 4 sessions x 6h = 24 h $275
Wellness Wednesday 1 h $5
Pollinator Party 1 h $5
Wetland Waterkeepers 1 h $5
A Closer Look 1 h $5

All programs are 10% off with membership discounts.

Last Updated: 20230724

Ecosystem Restoration Events

Are you interested in supporting local ecosystems? Join our drop-in restoration event at the Nature Sanctuary and help restore endangered oak and sensitive wetland habitat. Volunteers will be working to remove invasive plant species alongside staff and other dedicated folx!

Wednesday September 27th 4-6pm Registration URL (free event)

Wednesday October 18th 4-6pm Registration URL (free event)

Program Inquiries

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.