Swan Lake programs connect with nature

Saanich nature sanctuary gives youngsters a chance to go wild this summer

Dante Khunkhun

Dante Khunkhun

August is a busy month for the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, with something for everyone planned through the rest of the summer.

The sanctuary has a dozen or so events running throughout the month for young nature lovers, ranging from weeklong camps to drop-in special events.

“Pretty much anything to do with animals around Swan Lake, we explore in the summer,” said Renée Cenerini, program manager for Swan Lake.

Wednesday (Aug. 10), the sanctuary is hosting Mighty Mammals, showcasing the variety and adaptations of our fellow mammals with pelts, skulls and an exciting mammal mystery at the lake. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m., with admission by donation.

Then Thursday, Nature Explorers returns, exploring a different nature theme every Thursday afternoon through activities, hikes and experiments. The remaining themes include Mind Your Mammals (Aug. 11), Adaptable Amphibians (Aug. 18) and Binos & Birding (Aug. 25). Each class runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and costs $12 for Swan Lake members and $18 for non-members.

For children three to five, Swan Lake is taking a closer look at Fabulous Frogs through their Big & Little program on Friday, Aug. 12. The program encourages interactive, hands-on discovery through an outside ramble, a story and a craft. For sanctuary members, the event costs $12 per adult/child pair ($17 for non-members) and $4 for each additional child ($6 for non-members).

The following Friday, Aug. 19, families will have a chance to see some Creatures of the Summer Night, keeping an eye out for bats, owls and other nightlife. The evening event runs from 8 to 9:30 p.m. and is suitable for children above the age of six. The cost is $4 for members, $6 for non-members and pre-registration is required.

“If people want an idea of what goes on at night at Swan Lake when most other people have left, this is it,” said Cenerini.

The next week, Swan Lake will feature Birds of a Feather on Wednesday, Aug. 24, highlighting the endless variety of birds across the globe. The drop-in, by-donation event will have hands-on exploration, bird watching, crafts, songs and games.

And, as usual, Sunday mornings will still feature Bird Walks, starting at the parking lot at 9 a.m. Bring your binoculars.

“Of course, the nature house is always open for people to drop in and visit and feed the ducks,” added Cenerini.

To register for any of the events, call 250-479-0211. For more information, visit swanlake.bc.ca.