2023 On-Site Programs are available for booking!

Follow @swanlakenature to learn more.

Please note: school programs take place on-site at the Nature Sanctuary only.

On-Site School Programs

On-Site School programs are designed for districts 61, 62, 63, 64 and surrounding independent schools. They are held at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary during the school year, from September until June. All programs are 60 minutes.

Class Size

Please note: the maximum number of student attendees per program is 28. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff to support simultaneous programming for 2 classes.The class not participating in a program could walk around the lake, do a Swan Lake Scavenger Hunt (click here for a Nature House scavenger hunt and here for an outside photo scavenger hunt), do a litter pick up, and/or visit our Nature House critters including a Western Painted Turtle and various taxidermy.

Cancellation Policy

We require 48 hours notice for cancellations. Any cancellation within 48h before class start or any no-shows is non-refundable. 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.

Bus Parking

Please use alternate parking for any school buses.

Preparing For Your Upcoming Program

We will send a confirmation email of your registration along with instructions for how best to prepare, which can also be found here. Please check your junk mail for these instructions.

Indoor/Outdoor Programs

Some of these programs are entirely indoors depending on the season and weather. Certain programs focus on exploring different parts of site, while others focus on props, animals, or activities. Wetlands and Watersheds, Adaptations, Pollinators and Garry Oak Ecosystems are the best programs for exploring and learning outside. While Owls, Reptiles, Fossils and Salmon Tank Talks are best for experiencing the incredible assets that nature house has to offer.

We highly recommended arranging extra time to explore the nature house itself as well as the Nature Sanctuary grounds. If you are concerned about where your program will be taking place please contact us before booking. 

Prices:

Owls: $165

Wetlands & Watersheds: $135

Adaptions, Garry Oak Meadow, Pollinators,
Reptiles, Rocks and Fossils:
$115

Time Slots available are:

Tuesdays

10:00 - 11:00
11:15 - 12:15

Wednesdays

11:00-12:00

Thursdays

10:00 - 11:00
11:15 - 12:15

Rocks & Fossils (Grades 2-12)

Rocks & Fossils

This new program brings excitement and wonder to the world of rocks and fossils. Students will be actively learning about the rock cycle, become rock detectives and learn to distinguish between the different types of rocks. Students will get the chance to see some cool fossils, learn about past mass extinctions and the how we can attempt to remedy the one we are currently in. This is an interactive and hands-on program.

This program meets the Learning Objectives of the 2023 BC curriculum for grade 5 and grade 7, however is suited for a range of ages.

This program takes place entirely indoors. Please make sure to allocate time to explore the wonderful trails and site before or after the program.

Fossils
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Adaptations (Grades 3 - 12)

From beaver teeth to mallard feathers, our local ecosystems are filled with complex and incredible adaptations! This program delves into the adaptations of various plants, animals and fungi that we can find right here at the Nature Sanctuary. We will discuss physical, behavioral and physiological adaptations, and how they have shaped different organisms and their roles in ecosystems. In this program, we will take short walks to different microclimates on site, as well as spend time viewing some incredible preserved specimens to consider their evolutionary strategies and mechanisms of survival.  Join us for ecological questioning and an immersive nature experience!

This is an outdoor program, please dress appropriately for the outdoors and any weather that may occur.

Pacific Salmon Tank Talks (Grades K-12)

Pacific salmon are a culturally and ecologically significant species in BC. Their role in food webs support over 137 plants and animals – such as trees, bears, and orcas. Students can discover how they can make positive change and support these vital species at one of our Tank Talks. Through the Goldstream Hatchery and World Fisheries Trust salmon incubation program, we are raising Coho salmon eggs in the Nature House. Students will explore salmon life stages, their anatomy, and stewardship. We will have fun games and experiments that will engage participants in the magnificent journey of Pacific salmon. 

This program takes place entirely indoors. Please make sure to allocate time to explore the wonderful trails and site before or after the program.

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Wetlands & Watersheds

Grades K - 5

Gain an understanding and record our observations of wetland environments through hands-on examination of the plants, aquatic invertebrates, birds, and mammals that make Swan Lake their home. Please dress appropriately for the outdoors and any weather that may occur.

Grades 6 - 12

We will train students to conduct various water quality assessments to understand the health of the lake by making measurements about the aquatic invertebrate community, dissolved oxygen, and other water chemistry. Students will gain an understanding of how their actions on-site and at home can support the resilience of freshwater water systems. Please dress appropriately for the outdoors and any weather that may occur.

*Note: Wetlands & Watersheds is only available on Tuesdays

This program takes place predominantly outdoors. On the rare occasion, if there is very bad weather, we do part of the program indoors for the comfort of our participants.

Garry Oak (Grades 3 - 8)

Did you know that Garry Oak Ecosystems are home to the highest diversity of plants in coastal British Columbia, including nearly 100 species at risk? Join us at the Nature Sanctuary and learn what makes this ecosystem so incredible! This program will include different hands-on activities and a short walk outside. We will explore ecosystem components in context with Garry Oak Meadows and how the organisms living here interact. From fungi to weevils, this program dives into the extraordinary world of Garry Oak Ecosystems!

Please dress appropriately for the outdoors and any weather that may occur.

This program takes place predominantly outdoors. On the rare occasion, if there is very bad weather, we do part of the program indoors for the comfort of our participants.

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Reptiles (Grades K-12)

This popular program investigates the world of the cold blooded species! These scaly and slimy creatures and their incredible adaptations will be explored through discussion, activities and living examples of these amazing animals! We will discover the importance of reptiles, as well as the native and invasive species common in our area. Students will learn the differences between reptiles and amphibians, focusing on the adaptations of our in-house reptiles.

This program takes place entirely indoors. Please make sure to allocate time to explore the wonderful trails and site before or after the program.

Owls (Grades K-7)

We will look at the amazing world of owls through specimens, props, dissected owl pellets and owl calls. In this program students will explore the role owls play in local ecosystems as well as some of the finer details of their magnificent adaptations! Students will learn how these incredible raptors survive, how we can protect them and what species of owls we might spot here on the island. This program also includes an owl pellet dissection. 

In the winter months, this program predominantly takes place entirely indoors. Please make sure to allocate time to explore the wonderful trails and site before or after the program. In the Spring and Fall, we incorporate a nature walk into the program.

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Pollinators (Grades 6 - 12)

Join us and learn to monitor pollinator biodiversity in a rewilded meadow on-site. We will train students 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. Students will learn to make research quality observations. Students will also take a break from their screens and use field guides (Nature Sanctuary-provided) and journals to sketch their observations.

Suggested equipment for students to bring along:
- a journal/sketchbook with writing implements
- students with smartphones are encouraged to bring them for this program

This program is available from March to June and September.

Please dress appropriately for the outdoors and any weather that may occur.

This program takes place predominantly outdoors.