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

All Ages Programs

Caregiver Testimonials

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 programs@swanlake.bc.ca 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 programs@swanlake.bc.ca.

CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS:

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, the Junior Stewards will learn about different ecosystems, engage in hands-on restoration, take part in nature based activities, and spend exploring the outdoors with our environmental educators.

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

Jr. Stewards Pro-D Day Camps:

  • Friday, May 17th:

Time: 9:30 - 3:30pm

Who: 6 - 9 year olds

Cost: $105, 10% discount for members

Registration Link

 

Junior Stewards Summer Camps:

  • July 23rd-26th (ages 5-8)

Dates: Tuesday, July 23 - Friday, July 26, 2024

Time: 9:30am-3:30pm each day

Who: 5-8 year olds (age range is a guideline; please contact us to inquire about suitability of alternate ages)

Cost: $275 for non-members; 10% discount for members (contact us to become a member)

Registration Link

  • August 6th-9th (ages 9-12)

Dates: Tuesday, August 6 - Friday, August 9, 2024

Time: 9:30am-3:30pm each day

Who: 9-12 year olds (age range is a guideline; please contact us to inquire about suitability of alternate ages)

Cost: $275 for non-members; 10% discount for members (contact us to become a member)

Registration Link

Please be aware these programs has a cancellation fee of $15. 20230109

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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 - Returning in Fall 2024

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.

*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

Three children look over a map in the outdoors.

Guided Walks at the Nature Sanctuary

Want to learn more about what’s going on at the Nature Sanctuary? Our Guided Walks series is a way for visitors to gain an understanding of the ecological, cultural, and historical context of this place. Join an educator on a gentle walk on site and learn more about one of three topics. Each of the three walks occur separately; sign up for the one most interesting to you or come back and attend all three! Each walk is between 30-45 minutes, including time for questions.

Cultural History Guided Walk (Fridays at 11:00am) – On this walk you will learn about the rich cultural history of the site including Indigenous history of the area, post-colonial activities that occurred at and near Swan Lake, and how the Nature Sanctuary became what it is today.

Ecology Guided Walk (Fridays at 1:00pm) – This walk is an overview of the natural history of the site. You will learn about the geological processes that formed the land features, the unique and diverse ecosystems that exist here, and some of the species that call the Nature Sanctuary their home. We will also talk about the restoration activities that take place on site to protect important habitats.

Native Plant Garden Guided Walk (Thursdays at 2:00pm) – During this walk, we will spend our time in the Native Plant Garden near the Nature House. We will discuss the importance of native plants and what you can do to protect them. You will learn about some of the plants growing in the garden and discover what is in bloom seasonally. This program involves the least amount of walking of the Guided Walks series.

Register here (URL embedded) to secure your spot!

Cost: $10 per participant.
If cost is a barrier to attending this program, please reach out: programs@swanlake.bc.ca

Private Sessions: If you would like to arrange a private session for your group, contact us at programs@swanlake.bc.ca for more information and group pricing.

Who: All ages welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 6 are free.

Accessibility: If you have accessibility needs, please reach out ahead of time so we can work to accommodate you: programs@swanlake.bc.ca. All of the Guided Walks can be made wheelchair-accessible.

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Bird Walk Leaders

City Nature Challenge 2024 at the Nature Sanctuary

Saturday April 27th, 2024 - 10am-3pm

Help us inventory the local landscape and track biodiversity. The City Nature Challenge is a way for community members to help collect data on species living in and around our cities. More than 400 cities around the world will be participating in the City Nature Challenge this year, as a global celebration of biodiversity in and around urban areas. Learn more here (URL embedded).

You can participate by joining the celebrations at the Nature Sanctuary. Photograph and document local biodiversity at the Nature Sanctuary using the free iNaturalist website or app, and help to build a record of the nature that surrounds us. Visit our booth near the Nature House to get iNaturalist tips and participate in our ecoquests for the chance to win a prize!

Who: Everyone welcome

Cost: No cost to participating

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Nets and other equipment ready for invertebrate sampling on a dock
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Wetland Waterkeepers

Returning April 17th, 2024 (ends October 2024)!
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 our booking calendar
Gather on the Founder's Wharf.

Pollinator Party in a Rewilded Meadow

Returning April 24th, 2024!
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.

Register via our booking calendar
Gather by the covered bike rack/information kiosk in the parking lot.

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Education Assistants

Caregiver Testimonials!

"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 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."

 

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!"

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