Tristian England

BACK TO SCHOOL: Youngsters learn about creatures great and small

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary attracts classes from all three school disticts

The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is helping kids go wild about learning.

The sanctuary offers both on-site and in-school programs, with classes ranging from 60 to 90 minutes depending on the grade.

“All of our school programs have set goals, and are linked to the Integrated Resource Package for the appropriate grade,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director at the sanctuary.

In-school programs are designed for students in the Greater Victoria, Saanich and Sooke school districts and surrounding independent schools and held in local classrooms during the school year. The in-school programs are also available at Swan Lake, where a host of on-site programs are also available. The nature sanctuary even offers programs for preschool children.

“The preschool programs are a fun and engaging way for young children to begin forming connections between themselves and the natural world,” said Burton. “Through play and interactive activities, little ones get the chance to get up close and personal with the mysterious and wonderful creatures found in our very own Victoria backyards.”

A small sample of the programs available at Swan Lake include Daring Ducks, for kindergarten and Grade 1, which explores the adaptations that help ducks live on the lake.

Frog Fables and Turtle Tales gives kids from kindergarten to Grade 3 a close look at the reptiles and amphibians that live in the sanctuary’s nature house as well as in the neighbourhoods around us.

Wetland Discovery helps children in Grade 3 to 5 gain an understanding of wetland environments through hands-on examination of the plants, aquatic invertebrates, birds, reptiles and mammals that make Swan Lake their home.

While Microscope Discoveries lets students in Grade 5 to 7 prepare specimens from living material and learn how to properly use both dissecting and compound microscopes and record their observations.

Program manager Renée Cenerini has found the students to be very enthusiastic about the subjects being covered.

“We try to make the programs as fun as possible, and the education follows,” she said. “We’re not about just having the students just sit at their desks and listen to us drone on. We want them engaged.”

Cenerini said students are able to learn through experiments, games and fun activities like using nets to catch creatures in the lake and dissecting owl pellets. “Even within an hour we vary how we do things. Because it’s hard for anybody to focus a long time on one style of learning. We try to engage people in different ways.”

Nature sanctuary staff can bring programs to the classroom, focusing on subjects such as owls, bats, spiders and snakes, and even have a portable pond they can bring in to introduce students to the creatures of the wetlands.

Just Posted

Home where grisly murder of Kimberly Proctor took place to be removed from Langford’s Affordable Housing Program

Langford woman almost purchased home, decided against it after hearing history

Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

Co-owner of West Shore Barber Shop grateful for every minute of the 16 years transplant has provided

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

PHOTOS: Victoria youth continue to gather for climate action

Local students participated in a global movement calling for climate action

Farewell Stumpy: City of Colwood removes landmark due to safety concerns

Intersection targeted for upgrades from nearby developments

VIDEO: 76th annual Swiftsure sets sail Saturday

Longstanding competition takes off from Victoria’s Inner Harbour May 25

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

Most Read