A rendering of what the new walkway over the lake will look like.

7 reasons to ‘Give-a-Sheet’ about Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary

New floating boardwalk to improve Swan Lake accessibility and sustainability

Do you ‘Give-a-Sheet’ about Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary?

The Saanich nature sanctuary’s tongue-in-cheek fundraising campaign aims to replace the aging cedar boardwalk with a system of eco-friendly, long-lasting fibreglass “sheets” – allowing the sanctuary to continue sharing the importance of nature stewardship for generations to come, notes executive director Kathleen Burton.

So, do you “Give-a-Sheet?” Here are a few numbers highlighting why you should!

65,000 – Recorded visitors to the sanctuary last year, not including many more who visited through the day and evening to walk the trails. “A wild oasis in the middle of Saanich, ranging from Swan Lake to the Garry oak ecosystem of Christmas Hill, we have something for everyone,” Burton says.

10,000 – School children who participated in programs, in addition to many more in Swan Lake’s registered pre-school and school-age programs. Programs often encourage children to dip for water samples from the boardwalk, then head to the nature house to explore under the microscope. “It’s so important to foster that appreciation for nature, and at a young age,” Burton says.

1,040 – Linear feet needed to cross the lake, plus “teaching pods” to the side so others can more easily pass classes working on the boardwalk. “Bridging people to nature,” the boardwalk allows people to get much closer to the lake ecosystem.

$800,000 – Estimated cost of Phase 2 of the project. Phase 1 replaced the north section through the willows, but Phase 2 is the larger section with the lengthy floating boardwalk over the lake.

$350,000 – Amount raised to date thanks to supporters including the District of Saanich, Community Spaces and TD Bank. Last year’s Swan Lake event with the Moscow Ballet was a huge hit, raising $15,000 and Burton hopes to welcome them back this year. Other possibilities include a winemaker’s dinner with community partner Camosun College. More ideas are welcome!

65 to 75 – Years the new walkway will last. Part of the trail circling the lake, the 1991-built cedar boardwalk is aging and staff are replacing boards almost daily. The new system brings several unique benefits. Raised about eight inches above the lake, it offers a wildlife corridor for muskrat, otter, waterfowl and other creatures, plus “it offers a teaching pod and more stability to visitors crossing the lake,” Burton says.

$500 – Approximate cost of each fiberglass “sheet” of decking for the new walkway, while a full section rings in at approximately $5,000.

Burton is thrilled with the direct support they’ve received from businesses like Van Isle Paint, which sees the impact of the sanctuary and its programs. “We’re very, very grateful to Van Isle Paint,” she says. “And if anyone has new ideas – I’d love to work with them!”


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