The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Sanctuary staff have posted signs indicating safety protocols that visitors should follow. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Sanctuary staff have posted signs indicating safety protocols that visitors should follow. (Black Press Media file photo)

Nature House at Saanich’s Swan Lake reopens with new hours, safety protocols

Programs for children, adults resume with limited spaces

Nature lovers can once again stop by the Nature House at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary to explore and learn while adhering to safety protocols.

The Nature House – located on the north side of Swan Lake – was closed to the public in mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 8, staff announced the Nature House would partially reopen to the public with limited hours of operation.

On weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the public is invited to stop by the Nature House provided they aren’t sick, agree to wash or sanitize their hands upon entering and practise social distancing inside, said Renee Cenerini, program manager for the nature sanctuary.

Little “duck feet” have been pasted to the floor to indicate the direction visitors should move in and to mark out proper social distancing. For now, only 12 visitors will be permitted inside at one time. Enhanced cleaning protocols have also been implemented at the Nature House.

The honey bee hive, an interactive display showcasing bees at work, has also returned to the Nature House, Cenerini said. The hive is located indoors and tubes connect to the outer wall allowing bees to travel outside while sliding panels let visitors see inside the hive.

Several nature programs have also been relaunched, Cenerini noted. The Biology Buddies and the Les Petits Explorateurs children’s programs resume this summer along with the Forest Therapy Walks series for adults, she said.

Cenerini said there will be “very limited participation” in the programs and those interested should call or stop by to register.

Trails around the lake and throughout the sanctuary remain open but visitors are asked to take precautions to protect themselves and others. The trails have been reduced to one-way foot traffic and posted signs indicate the proper direction of travel. Visitors are also asked not to use the telescope or the benches located around the sanctuary.

All of the usual rules remain in effect including no smoking, no dogs, no cycling, no fishing or hunting and no littering. Visitors are also reminded that there is currently no nearby street parking as the area is reserved for residents.


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