A child looking at a conifer

VanDusen Guardians of the Garden

Guardians of the Garden is an annual program that aims to connect children with nature by educating them on a variety of topics to gain a better understanding of our planet.

We hope that along with an interest in becoming a Guardian of the Garden (GOG), children will feel connected and invested in learning more about ecology and how they can contribute to a better habitat for everyone.

We all need each other: plants, animals, organisms, and humans!

Share your Guardians of the Garden photos with #VanDusenGOG

Conifer Champion Challenge

Guardians of the Garden returns to VanDusen Botanical Garden with a new challenge. Participate in the Conifer Champion Challenge and complete the activity to collect your second GOG badge.

Did you know that the oldest, tallest, and largest trees on Earth are all conifers? Conifers are critical in our fight against climate change with research showing that coniferous forests absorb two and a half times as much carbon from the atmosphere as broadleaf forests.

Here on the coast of the Salish Sea, we are in the heart of the largest temperate rainforest on Earth. Along the Pacific coast, conifers such as the Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir dominate the wet and mild climate. Coniferous forests protect our precious watersheds and salmon-bearing streams, and are home to many animals including the endangered Kermode or spirit bear.

Learn about different coniferous species by participating in the Conifer Champion Challenge. 

Your participation in the Conifer Champion Challenge will help One Tree Planted plant thousands of trees to recover areas affected by wildfires, restore habitats for BC’s iconic wildlife species, and improve forest health overall by planting young, well-placed trees. 

How to participate

Visit the VanDusen admission desk to purchase your admission tickets and add on a $5 + GST Guardians of the Garden activity ticket for those participating in the challenge.

Tickets cannot be booked in advance.

Adults or guardians that are supervising only require a general admission ticket.

What participants will do

Become an official Guardian of the Garden by completing the Conifer Champion Challenge. Join us this summer to learn more about coniferous species and how we connect with conifers through food, medicine, and culture.

Participants will be given an activity sheet that will take them on a designated route to spot the conifers growing at VanDusen Garden. Along the way, participants will learn about various types of conifers and try to match the facts on the activity sheet to the right conifer.

Once participants complete the corresponding activity sheet, they will receive the following GOG reward:

  • Conifer Champion badge 
  • Treat to take home
  • Customized certificate from One Tree Planted
  • Free ice cream from Shaughnessy Restaurant with purchase *see details below
  • Chance to win One Tree Planted swag

Certificates will be emailed to participants at the end of the challenge. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable footwear. Capes and costumes are always encouraged. Share your photos with #VanDusenGOG.

Shaughnessy Restaurant promo

All Conifer Champion participants can present their GOG badge at Shaughnessy Restaurant between Monday and Friday for a free ice cream with the purchase of any regular menu item. Limited one per participant.

Offer valid from Monday to Friday before 3pm, for dine-in guests only. Offer ends September 30, 2022.

Age of participants

This program is most suitable for children ages 5 to 12 years old, however, all ages are welcome to participate in this self-guided activity.

The Guardians of the Garden Conifer Champion Challenge is an add-on activity. Both the purchase of an admission ticket and the add-on activity are required to participate and collect a prize.

Connect with us

If you require assistance, or have questions,  phone us at 604-257-8463, or reach out to us through our social media channels.

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