Learner in deciduous forest looking at a leaf with a magnifying glass. The learner has dark hair and a toque and a yellow sweater.

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

Environment

About

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.

 

Our Impact

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!”

See what your legacy could be

Talk to Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary about a legacy gift

Legal Name

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society

Charity Number

11920 7157 RR0001

How your gift will be used

Small gifts will be used for our successful education and stewardship initiatives on site. For $1,000, we can purchase supplies for one semester of 40 Youth Stewards to engage in hands-on ecological stewardship in our Adopt A Patch program. The incredible work from these learners was valued at over $38,000 in the first year alone! More community members have reached out to get engaged – help us to connect them to nature and active hope for the environment.

Large gifts will be directed to larger-scale ecological restoration, property management, species-at-risk support, and climate change resilience preparations. We hope to build more modern, accessible infrastructure to house our team, offer programs, and support community needs.

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