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The Nature Exchange is a permanently installed learning environment that encourages people of all ages to appreciate nature and to learn about the biological and physical components of our environment through observation, background research, and responsible collecting.  

At some point in our lives, almost all of us have assembled a collection from nature: seashells from a summer holiday, rocks from our travels or insects found in our backyards.  Do you remember the pleasure you derived from these simple collections, the feelings of curiosity and fascination as you studied each item? 

The Nature Exchange is truly a unique learning environment for your visitors. It relies on the "trading" of natural items by your visitors, giving them a one on one experience with every visit. Searching for trade items in one's own environment inspires a sense of adventure and activity, with a direct educational impact.


The Nature Exchange encourages visitors to come back repeatedly.  This means more ticket sales and memberships. Of the traders that registered points in our database, 73% of them returned to the Science Centre to trade again. 



Visitors bring their found natural objects to the Nature Exchange. Trained staff initiate a discussion with the collector: what the object is, where it came from, why it is special and any other pertinent details. Visitors are encouraged to further their knowledge of nature through research in an adjacent resource library.


Visitors are awarded "points" for their natural object, based on criteria developed in consultation with Nature Exchange hosts. Some criteria are fixed -- ethics of collection methods and regional availability -- while others are more subjective -- the enthusiasm, initiative, and knowledge of the trader.


Visitors can then use the points towards new items from the ever-changing Nature Exchange collection, or the points can be stored in the software’s “banking” system to use at a later date.


Only items found in nature can be traded in The Nature Exchange. If you cannot collect the item itself you can also trade field notes, drawings, and art projects about your find! Anything natural could be the subject of a trade; drawings of animals, notes about a forest, pine cones you found under a tree, or even an art project about a thunder storm.


To acknowledge each institution’s philosophical, ethical and legal responsibilities, the following criteria have been developed to facilitate public understanding and daily operations of the Nature Exchange:


  • conservation ethics by teaching and setting an example in the communities they serve.

  • respect for all living things by developing a culture of caretaking in nature.

  • responsible collection methods and acquisition by promoting laws and agreements within the Nature Exchange.

City Skyline


  • Science North - Sudbury, ON

  • TELUS World of Science - Edmonton, AB

  • Chattahoochee Nature Center - Roswell, GA

  • Springs Preserve at the Desert Living Center - Las Vegas, NV

  • Woodland Park Zoo - Seattle, WA

  • Tulsa Zoo - Tulsa, OK

  • Kidspace Museum - Pasadena, CA

  • Exploration Place - Prince George, BC

  • Gilroy Gardens - Gilroy, CA

  • Niagara Glen - Niagara Falls, ON

  • Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Museum - Santa Barbara, CA 

  • Roper Mountain Science Center - Greenville, SC

  • Pacific Grove Natural History Museum - Pacific Grove, CA


100 Ramsey Lake Rd, Sudbury, ON, P3E 5S9  |  Tel: 705.522.3701

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