Stewarding and connecting urban visitors to nature.
We have been a leader in teaching environmental stewardship and restoration for nearly 50 years (est. 1975), with many of our programs being adopted by other local organizations and our municipal government. We have 250 volunteers that support our activities with a volunteer value of $154,000 in just 2022!
With our engaged community, we steward the fragile wetland and Garry oak meadow ecosystems of Swan Lake and Christmas Hill. Just 6km from downtown Victoria, B.C., the Nature Sanctuary spans over 170 acres of critical migratory bird habitat. Our work supports roughly 10% of the municipality’s rare, threatened, and endangered species that call the Nature Sanctuary ‘home.’
Ensuring areas with high ecological integrity are openly available to diverse and marginalized urban visitors is an equity issue. Access to time in nature is known to reduce anxiety and depression, and to increase feelings of connection and sense of place. Although not everyone may have the means to go on a remote trip in the wild, the Nature Sanctuary is readily accessible by three bus routes and adjacent to a major cycling and active mobility path.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge – We are building relationships with Indigenous collaborators and weaving Two-Eyed seeing approaches to stewardship. We respectfully connect different ways of knowing and relating to one another, and to the natural world.
Species-at-risk – Our site is home to significant biodiversity, with rare, threatened, and endangered species on site. We are partially funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada to work toward ensuring these species can remain in their home habitats long into the future.
Trails and Educational Programs – 70,000+ site visitors enjoy the trails, 10,000+ visitors come to the Nature House, and 17,000+ learners enroll in our programs. Many of our programs are free or low-cost and actively engage learners in current research and monitoring efforts on site. Join us for ‘Wetland Waterkeepers’, ‘A Closer Look’, or a ‘Pollinator Party’!
Stewardship Opportunities – We have one of the last breeding populations of Western Painted Turtles on site. Junior Stewards (ages 8-12) have a hand in helping us to remediate their habitat. This program has a HUGE impact for the Stewards —
“It makes me feel like I’m helping to give back to the environment that has raised and nurtured me!”