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Who We Are

Sooke Region Lifelong Learning is a volunteer organisation offering educational programs and workshops for older adults in the Sooke region. Based on the Elder College model, we provide stimulating and enjoyable learning environments which address the unique and diverse interests of participants. Programs are offered at SEAPARC Leisure Centre and at other locations in the community. Sooke Region Lifelong Learning functions as a working group under the auspices of the Sooke Region Communities Health Network (SRCHN).

Contact Us



Registration will begin in August after all programs have been confirmed and posted.  We hope that everyone will have a safe and happy Summer and we look forward to your participation this coming Fall.  

To register, please make your request by email: 

At present, the sessions are free of charge, but if you wish to donate to support SRLL, please send a cheque to :


Sooke Region Lifelong Learning

c/o Sooke Region Communities Health Network

PO  Box 642

Sooke BC, VOZ 1H6

or click on the donation button below and view the drop-down offer for Sooke Region Lifelong Learning, and you will immediately receive an electronic tax receipt.

SRLL Spring 2022 Program

Zoom Welcome to 2022

Come and spend an hour with your Sooke Region Lifelong Learning Committee and meet the presenters for the coming term. 


When:  Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Sessions: One

Time: 1pm to 2pm

Where: ZOOM link

Cost: Free


History and Restoration of Sheringham Point Lighthouse

The historic Sheringham Point Lighthouse, located at Shirley, BC, was constructed in 1912, in response to numerous shipwrecks in the area.  Through years of pounding weather, two wars, numerous changes in technology, and many lightkeepers, the lighthouse has stood – relatively unchanged – as an iconic example of Vancouver Island’s maritime history. In 1989 it was destaffed, and the site was largely neglected, until it was ultimately declared “surplus”.  In 2015 the site was taken over by the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society, protected as a Canadian Heritage Lighthouse and, subsequently, fully restored. This presentation will discuss what we know of the history of the lighthouse over the years.  It will also discuss the acquisition and restoration of the site and its remaining structures by the Society and the measures being taken to ensure its long-term conservation. 


Presenter: Ian Fawcett, Project Manager, Sheringham Point Lighthouse.  Ian Fawcett is Conservation Consultant who is currently engaged with the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society as project manager and heritage coordinator for the restoration of the historic lighthouse in Shirley, BC.  He also created and manages the Society’s website, is a primary fundraiser and helps with communications. A principal with Change Canada Consultants Ltd, he also serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the National Trust for Land & Culture, a BC-based conservation charity and land trust.

When:  Tuesday, January 18th 

Sessions: One

Time: 1 -2:30PM 

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free

Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion

Mindful Self-Compassion is a practice for emotional resilience. In this practice, the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion are combined to increase kindness for self and other, and cultivate peace. Developed by psychologists Kristin Neff and Chris Germer, mindful self-compassion curriculum has been taught around the world for use in daily life. Given the many stresses of our lives today and intersecting social-ecological crises, MSC can be an important antidote to the anxiety and stress of our time. 


In this introductory workshop, participants will be introduced to the research behind Mindful Self-Compassion and its three core elements:  mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity. There will be an opportunity to practice mindful self-compassion and engage with exercises that can be readily incorporated in every day. 


Presenter: Alysha McLaren-Jones, Alysha is an experienced primary care nurse with a Master's degree in Environmental Studies.  She currently sits on Sooke's Climate Action Committee and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment. Alysha has been studying Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) for the past several years and completed teacher training in MSC and MSC for health care providers. 


Presenter:  Alysha McLaren-Jones

When:  MONDAY  January 24th, 2022

Sessions: One

Time: 1 -2:30pm

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free

Host: Chris Moss

Water, Water, Everywhere?

Water is no longer a “given” and shortages continue to climb even in our region.  Whether you are on a well, surface water, or piped water you should know where your water comes from and how it is replenished.


This program will introduce you to the aquifers of southern Vancouver Island with a focus on the vulnerable 606 Aquifer.  It underlies  most of us from Langford to Jordan River and there are at least 640 wells drilled into it and possibly over a thousand.  We do not know enough about the sustainability of our aquifers, the primary source of water for thousands of people.  


Owners of wells that have commercial use or are used for a water supply system (more than one household on the well) are required to have applied for a groundwater license by February 28, 2022.  


All well owners are encouraged to register their wells so they will be considered when future groundwater licenses are issued.  


The 606 Water Group is a group of residents from Langford, Metchosin, Sooke, and Otter Point that have come together to raise awareness about planning for water.  If you have questions about the future of water and development on  southern Vancouver Island you should join us for this special session. 


Presenter: Heather Phillips: Heather is a long time resident of the Sooke region and is active on many fronts including Transition Sooke and 606 Water Group. Members of the 606 Water Group will also be on hand to present and answer questions. 


Sessions: one

Time: 1 – 2:30 pm

Date: Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Location: ZOOM link

Fee: Free

Host: Chris Moss  

Sustainable Communities

A conversation with Dr. Mark Roseland.  Dr. Roseland was the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University. He lectures internationally, advises communities and governments on sustainable development policy and planning, and has been cited as one of British Columbia’s “top 50 living public intellectuals.” 


Presenter: Dr Mark Roseland


When:  Tuesday Feb 1st 

Sessions:  One  

Time: 1-2:30 pm

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free


New Session


Conversations on Climate Change and Income Security in Sooke:  What do we need for the transition to a greener, fairer, and more resilient community?


Climate change and income insecurity are two of the most urgent challenges facing Canada and the world. As such, the Green Resilience Project is hosting a series of community conversations across the country - with several occurring in Sooke - on how climate change and income security relate to each other, and how they affect people's day-to-day lives.


Sooke, like many communities in Canada, is making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly and a fast transition to a green economy is on the horizon. The desperate need to decarbonize comes at a time of growing income inequality, lack of affordability, and housing insecurity - the need for just transition policies and community resilience is greater than ever. 


The intention of the "Climate Change and Income Security" community conversations is to create "brave spaces" for a diversity of community members to talk about how the uncertainties brought on by climate change, affordability, income and housing insecurity impact their lives. What is shared will aid the development of government policies on income security, climate change, and community resilience in Canada. 


Pre-readings will be sent out to participants to provide a background on the ideas and questions to be discussed.



Alysha McLaren-Jones is a member of Sooke's Climate Action Committee and the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment. She is a registered nurse with a Master's in Environmental Studies and a keen interest in climate justice and connecting with nature for health. 


Presenter: Alysha McLaren-Jones

When: Tuesday February 8th (Note: Maximum enrollment is 30 people)  (If more than 30 people apply we will open a new section  for Thursday February 3rd, 1pm to 3pm) 

Sessions: One

Time: 1pm to 3pm

Where: Zoom link

Fee: Free

Host: Chris Moss

Co-Housing Living- Why is Sooke a world leader in Cohousing and how can that improve my life?

What do many parents of young children and many elders have in common today? They wish they had more connection with and support from their neighbours. This course introduces Cohousing, which provides opportunities for oldfashioned community connection with minimal obligation, expecting only that we all be good neighbours. Cohousing is an intentional neighbourhood design with private, compact homes and expansive community spaces in which decisions are made by consensus. Is this for you? What are the pros and cons? Sooke is the only community in North America except for Boulder, Colorado, to have two cohousing communities. Find out more in this 90 minute introduction and if you are curious, come to Harbourside's free monthly tour on the fourth Saturday of the month.


Presenter: Margaret Critchlow.  Margaret Critchlow, Phd, Prof Emerita in Anthropology, York University (Toronto), loved researching what makes communities work in Ontario Cooperatives and Vanuatu (SW Pacific). She supplemented her 7 books and 50+ scholarly articles with publications in Communities, the Globe and Mail, and Pacific Yachting. After retirement, she took courses at The Haven, in California with Charles Durrett, and online with Laird Schaub to facilitate cohousing communities. As a volunteer she co-created Harbourside Cohousing in Sooke where she lives with her husband, John Boquist. She became a facilitator with Cohousing Development Consulting and brought two new cohousing communities to fruition in 2021: West Wind Harbour in Sooke and Ravens Crossing in Sidney.


When: Tuesday, February 15th

Sessions: One

Time: 1 – 2:30 pm

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free

What is Science?

The course will focus on how the terms Science, Scientific Method, and Scientist are defined. We are in an era when science is being challenged on all sides of the political spectrum, left and right. The course will discuss what science is, what its limitations are, and how it can best function within and serve society in the 21st century. 


Presenter: Dr. Michael Cox, Michael Cox is a Biochemist, teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


When: Tuesdays, February 22 , March 1st

Sessions:  Two

Time: 1-2:30 PM

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free

The Periodic Table of the Elements

The Ancient Greeks conceived the idea of elementary particles called atoms to explain the Universe. I will attempt to describe the evolution of scientific thought, enabled by the scientific method of experimentation, data collection and analysis leading to our modern understanding of the periodic table of the elements. This will include the brilliant work of 19th century chemist Dimitri Mendeleev. I will also attempt to explain why the elements are arranged in the table as they are, by touching on the underlying physics of the atomic nucleus, the electron shells surrounding the nucleus, giving rise to the concept of valency and bonding which underlies all chemical compounds and their reactions.


Presenter: Roland Alcock B.Sc., Ph.D. I am a retired Information Technology (I.T.) professional scientifically educated in the U.K. I studied chemistry at the University of Southampton and for my Ph.D. I developed computer programs for mathematical analysis and modelling of chemical reactions. In the past, I have co-authored some scientific papers and a university level chemistry text book. After I left academia, I went into commercial I.T. and had a career in system analysis, business software development and deployment, project management, data modelling and technical infrastructure and database management.


When: February 10, 17, 24 

Sessions: Three 

Time: 1-2:30 pm 

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free


Humanitarian Aid - Dilemmas and Successes

Humanitarian Aid is noble in its onset but even good deeds can have implications. We will explore the benefits, dilemmas and, at times, terrible implications of humanitarian aid during an armed conflict.


Presenter: Christine Bossi, Former humanitarian aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross, presently Executive Director of Sooke Region Communities Health Network and Victoria Literacy Connection


When: Thursday, March 3rd 

Sessions: One

Time: 1 – 2:30pm

Where: Zoom Link

Fee: Free

World Events

Join us for a chance to share coffee and solve the world’s problems.  Discussion and your opinions are requested about current and ongoing events around the world, in Canada, and how they impact our lives here in Sooke.  


Presenters: Chris and Lynn Moss


When: Thursdays, January 13, 20, 27

Sessions: Three

Time: 1 – 2:30 PM

Where:  ZOOM link

Fee: Free



How to prepare for a road trip driving an EV. Tools that help you along the way including apps and maps, charging and navigation tools to ensure that you reach your destination. Range for currently available Electric Vehicles. How to take the worry out of taking a road trip in your new EV!


Presenters: David and Carol Mallett

Carol & David are Electric Vehicle enthusiasts and members of the Victoria Electric Vehicle Association (VIC EVA) online. They drive a 2019 TESLA Standard Range, Model 3. In 2019, they travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba and back in the US, relying on TESLA Level 3 Superchargers and Level 2 universal chargers to complete the trip.. Other trips include the Pacific Circle Route and trips to the Okanagan Valley. They also planned a second trip to Winnipeg staying in Canada, Summer 2021, which they could not do because of fires on the Coquihalla Highway.


When:  Tuesday March 8

Sessions: One

Time: 1 – 2:30 pm

Where: ZOOM link


An Introduction to Nicander's Theriaca

Nicander of Colophon is a Hellenistic Greek author whose Theriaca, a poem on venomous animals and remedies for their bites, has a reputation for being difficult and uninteresting. In this session, we'll place the work in its historical and literary context, then examine some key passages that challenge these unflattering views. Far from being a boring relic, the Theriaca is crafted with a learned artistry that exemplifies the cultural milieu from which it came.


Presenter: Dr Brian Moss, B.A., M.A. (UVIC) D.Phil (Oxon)  Brian grew up in Victoria, and first stumbled across ancient literature at UVic. He subsequently went on to specialize in Hellenistic poetry, earning his DPhil at Oxford in 2010. He now lives in Brisbane, Australia, with his wife and two sons, where he works as a technical writer for a software company.


When: Tuesday, March 15th 

Sessions: One

Time: 1-2:30 pm

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free


Eat well to Age Well "Detoxing and Cleansing With Care"

Spring is a natural season to take some time to cleanse our bodies. This talk will cover: how a spring detox can benefit your body and your spirit, some symptoms of toxicity in the body that suggest a cleansing might be in order,  Jo will suggest a variety of ways to incorporate detoxing and cleansing into your life to match your circumstances (including who should avoid detoxing altogether), including  a basic 5-7 day cleansing diet, adjuvant therapies to help with removing toxins and some general rules for cleansing safely.


Presenter: Jo Phillips, R.N.C.P. Registered Nutritional Consultant

Jo has been studying nutrition for 50 years and has been a Registered Nutritional Consultant for 25. She has given talks on nutrition for places as varied as Camosun College Continuing Education, Alcohol and Drug Services, Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre and CUPE SD #62 Wellness Days. She retired in 2015 from her day job as a Community Nurse but she continues to upgrade her nutrition knowledge and enjoys sharing it with other Life Long Learners.


When: Tuesday, March 22

Sessions: One

Time: 1 – 2:30 pm

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free


Eat (and Drink) the Weeds

Pity the poor weed. Dug up, discarded, sometimes even poisoned, weeds are actually more nutritious than domestic veggies. Spring is the time to harvest wild edibles such as dandelion, plantain, violet and chickweed for fresh greens, cooked foods and beverages. We'll discuss medicinal/health benefits of at least seven and review some simple recipes. 


Presenter: Carolyn Bateman, Carolyn has been growing and studying herbs since 1989, and in 2020, completed certificate training with American herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, a well-known teacher and author.


When:  Tuesday March 29

Sessions:  One

Time: 1 – 2:30pm

Where: Zoom link

Fee: Free 


The Great Derangement

In The Great Derangement, Climate Change and The Unthinkable, Amitav Ghosh argues that we are embedded in a kind of systemic lunacy which prevents us from seeing climate change clearly.  The book has three sections.  The first looks at literature and the cultural blinders that limit what we can take seriously. The second looks at history and the role of imperialism. He presents us with a picture that we need to be more familiar with - climate change from the perspective of South Asia.  In the third, politics, he argues our obsession with the individual prevents us from acting in for common good.   The course will be a discussion of Ghosh’s insights.  You do not have to read the book, although there are a few resources you might have a look at (email Hester for information).  I will present his ideas and we will thrash them out together. 


Presenter: Dr. Hester Vair. I am a trained as a sociologist and spent much of my working life as a university instructor, and I bring a sociological lens to what I do. But it is my earlier experience in an interdisciplinary Master's program that sowed the seed for my interest in Amitav Ghosh’s book.  In that program, I looked at the way that cultural ideas affect social change – a question that still troubles me.  Ghosh’s book provides an answer.

When: Thursdays  March 31, April 7, April 14

Sessions: Three Sessions

Time: 1 -2:30pm

Where: ZOOM link  or in person

Fee: Free


SRLL Book Club Sessions

Curtailment of practices harmful to the oceans has become an urgent international concern. This program element will involve a reading of The Oceans Whistleblower, profiling a senior UBC staff member and leading Canadian authority on oceanic issues.  Participants will delve into the often murky world associated with the use and misuse of this critical element of our planet. 


Tim Traynor is planning a walk through the book “The Oceans Whistleblower” by Daniel Pauly.  This program will take place in the first two weeks of April and we are hopeful that our new Sooke Library will be the venue. 

Presenter: Tim Traynor, The presenter's work within the Federal Public Service gave him a familiarity with severe overfishing as it has affected Canadian and adjacent waters. 


When: Tuesdays, April 5, 12

Sessions: Two

Time: 1-2:30pm

Where: ZOOM or Sooke Library

Fee: Free

 *New special session April 19th*

 Protecting Our Community from Wildfire

 BC has experienced one of the driest and most active wildfire seasons on record. Higher temperatures and drought conditions are all leading causes of aggressive fire behaviour and longer wildfire seasons. The Wildland Urban Interface zone is the transition between infrastructure and the natural environment. Sooke is within the Wildland Urban Interface zone meaning our community is at a greater risk of a devasting wildfire.


FireSmart is a planning tool designed to reduce the likelihood of large uncontrollable wildfires within the Wildland Urban Interface zone. Over time, FireSmart principles have shown to be effective at reducing the risk related to losses in the most extreme wildfire conditions. Preparing for the threat of wildfire is a shared responsibility. From homeowners to businesses to government - we all have the responsibility to reduce the impacts of wildfire within our community.


Learn about the threat of wildfire within our local community. Topics include wildfire risk and behaviour, the wildland interface zone, what is FireSmart, FireSmart principles, how to protect where you live (home and property) and how we all can increase community resiliency.


Presenter(s): Meet Ashlene Aktarian, the Local FireSmart Representative with Sooke Fire Rescue. In the past seven years, she has worked with four different emergency response agencies. She most recently worked for Emergency Management BC in the Provincial Emergency Support Services program. She worked in emergency operations as a Fire Information Officer and Dispatcher for BC Wildfire Service. Ashlene worked with the Canadian Red Cross in their Disaster Management department for both flood and fire response. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, her passion for the natural landscape led her to study geography, resource management and public safety.


When: Tuesday, April 19th

Sessions: One

Time: 1pm to 2:30pm

Where: ZOOM link

Fee: Free

Host: Chris Moss


May 2022 field trip

Outer Coast Seaweeds: Myths, Truths & the Future

***The Seaweed Walk is closed to registration until March 9th, 2022.  Others will be sent detailed information on the trip and a request to respond and confirm attendance by March 8th. A WAIT LIST will be kept in case registered people drop out. ***

In this fun and informative field trip, learn about the beneficial and healthy properties of some of BC's 600 wild seaweeds. Learn why seaweed is regarded as a superfood and a powerhouse of minerals and antioxidants. Join us for this informative, fun tour and you'll never look at wild seaweed in the same way again! Remember to wear your gumboots (rubber boots) or arrange to borrow a pair in your size before attending this outing. (Diane has extras!) And dress appropriately! The weather may be quite cool.

***The group will meet for this “Show & tell” Meeting in the Whiffin Spit parking & walk out on the shore at low tide in front of Sooke Harbour House. Wear gumboots or ask to borrow some (Diane has extras. Diane will provide walking sticks.  (Diane has extras!) And dress appropriately! The weather may be quite cool.

Presenter: Diane Bernard: Meet Diane Bernard, formerly known as the Seaweed Lady, to learn about Vancouver Island's wildest garden - the ocean garden, and about the healthiest plant on the planet - wild seaweed. Diane is the founder of SEAFLORA, and her company continues to teach about the healing benefits of wild seaweed and thalasso therapy. She is currently retired and her company continues to operate within the unceded territories of the T'Sou-ke First Nations.

Location: Whiffen Spit, Sooke BC

Time: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., May 25, 2022 

Length of tour : 2 hours

Class size: List of participants taken now but registration confirmed in May. Reminder confirmation request will be sent to those on the list. Class size may be limited.

Fee: Free

Our Story

Sooke Region Lifelong Learning is part of a growing North American network of volunteer organizations providing informal learning opportunities for adults. These groups exist under a variety of names: Elder Colleges, Institutes for Learning in Retirement, Lifelong Learning, etc. Our Sooke group began planning in Spring 2017, and offered some initial courses over Fall 2017/Winter 2018 under a “Sessions for Seniors” program run by the Sooke Age- Friendly Committee with a partial grant from the federal government’s New Horizons Program.

With meeting space, promotional help, registration assistance, and volunteer support from SEAPARC and from the Sooke Region Volunteer Centre, we were able to offer a full slate of programming for Fall 2018.


Past Presentations

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Past Programs

Fall 2019 Sooke Region Lifelong Learning
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Fall 2018 Sooke Region Lifelong Learning