Camus covered benches on CH

Join us on Wednesdays for one of our Drop-In Community Programs. This is a new initiative to bring community together and engage them in important biodiversity monitoring work. Contribute to community-led research with either one of our biomonitoring programs designed for all ages which includes the Pollinator Party and Wetland Waterkeepers. Or find peace on a guided wellness walk designed for adults.

Program structure will largely be driven by the interests of the community. There will be a Community Educator facilitating a learning and teaching cycle among the participants. There will be an education component to these activities, but we encourage participants to share their knowledge with others as well as bring a curious, respectful, and open-minded spirit.

All programs are pay by donation; registration and waivers are required.

All Ages Programs

Wetland Waterkeepers
Bi-Weekly, 9 - 10 AM

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” because of 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.
Gather on the Founder's Wharf.


Pollinator Party in a Rewilded Meadow
Bi-Weekly, 9 - 10 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 produces. 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 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.

Adult Programs

Wellness Walks
Weekly, 1 - 2 PM

Wellness Walks are on hiatus until summer.

In this mindfulness practice, we will offer a space for participants to connect with themselves, nature, and each other. Participants will either be guided on the Summit Loop Trail (0.6km) on Christmas Hill (meeting at the Trail head by Nicholson St. and Nelthrope Rd) or the Lake Loop Trail (2.5km) (meeting in front of the Nature House). Please dress appropriately for the outdoors and any weather that may occur.