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Help us win $20,000 with the Great Canadian Giving Challenge from CanadaHelps

In so many ways COVID-19 has shown us the power of what we can accomplish by coming together, even while apart.

During this period of confinement and self-isolation many local businesses and charities have not been able to interact and engage with their communities in their usual ways, making this a difficult time to fund the activities that we rely on them to perform in our neighbourhoods and regions. This is another COVID-19 has given us to share - in the region, on the Island, in British Columbia, and across Canada.

In an effort to support charities that rely on financial support from communities, and to help ensure that so many valuable programs continue this summer, CanadaHelps is once again putting out a call to action, asking each of us that can to support registered charities, giving them the chance to work on the projects and programs we all see as valuable. We all understand how important charities are, as they are often the only organizations or groups able to implement programs that are vital to our collective wellbeing, and to community health.

For the month of June 2020, CanadaHelps has launched the 6th Annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge, inviting people from all over Canada to donate to their favorite registered charities, and to bring together the same power of community that is seeing us each do our best to come through the COVID-19 pandemic in a good way.

For the whole month of June, every dollar donated to HAT through the CanadaHelps online giving platforms gives us another chance to win $20,000. That means a great deal for conservation and habitat stewardship in Southern Vancouver Island! For charities of our size, $20,000 will ensure that our habitat stewardship, habitat management, and species at risk programs can continue through 2020.

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Hedgerows for Habitat at Lohbrunner Farm

Are you passionate about pollinators and local food?

As part of the Good Neighbours Program, we have recently launched the Hedgerows for Habitat Initiative, helping farmers create habitat for pollinators on the borders and fringes of the cultivated fields. We have partnered up with Lohbrunner Community Farm Co-op to create a habitat hedgerow corridor for our native pollinators in Langford - a quickly expanding community in need of pollinator-friendly spaces. This 60 metre (~200ft) line of native shrubs and perennial wildflowers were sourced from Saanich Native Plants Nursery. This site is in the Bilston Creek floodplain, and therefore is seasonally wet (sometimes underwater!) in the winter, so we chose plant species that are well-adapted to flooding conditions for part of the year.

This video just gives you a sneak peek into the planting process. More videos to come!

Thank you to our funders - EcoAction Community Fund and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and private donors like you. Find out how to support this and other initiatives:

 

This video was created by the talented filmmaker Rodrigo Inostroza - find him on Instagram as @inomonke

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Supporting Conservation During a Pandemic

These days, much of the news is about COVID-19 and the Coronavirus that causes it. In the weeks since the outbreak came to southern Vancouver Island, more and more media reports are now focusing on the political and social issues related to the pandemic. Some of these articles are important commentaries on the way different governments are handling (or have handled) their COVID-19 reactions while other stories are more polarized. There are also outlets reporting on how COVID-19 and Climate Change are “parallel” (UN News 28 April 2020), yet there are even fewer discussing how one is, like the image above hints, heavily linked to the other.

Unlike the image to the left, Climate Change isn’t “coming,” it is already here (LA Times, Opinion, 15 Sept 2019). Like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a process with a “curve” very much similar to the line graphs we’re getting used to seeing with the “flatten the curve” strategy (Treble, 29 April 2020) - the less we do to mitigate the human causes of a drastically changing climate, the steeper the “curve” of its effects (on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human society) will be in the short term. The relationship between Climate Change and the COVID-19 pandemic also serve as very good reasons for continuing to support conservation and environmental initiatives during the pandemic.

Climate change, biodiversity, and habitat conservation are very much linked to the ongoing pandemic, mostly in how this novel coronavirus began. According to Nicole Mortillaro, the global decline in biodiversity is putting species into contact in new ways, creating more conditions for viruses and the diseases they cause to “jump” species (Mortillaro 2020). Doubling the impact of this, habitat loss contributes to the loss of biodiversity and often puts species into contact in very drastic ways, particularly when that loss is linked to resource extraction.

While the current pandemic did not begin in southern Vancouver Island, the experience is giving us an opportunity to see certain things happen at home. We are only as resilient as the ecosystems that sustain us, and they are only as resilient as the biodiversity that they’re made up of. Within this resilience are built in layers of protection that slow or even stop the advance of everything from contagious diseases (in the case of a pandemic) (Roston 2020), to wildfires (Goldman 2016). It seems that biodiversity isn’t just how diverse the biological mass of the planet is, it’s actually something that regulates the way many things interact!

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Parenting during Covid–times. 

By Wendy Tyrrell 

Habitat Management Coordinator 

 

Who would have thought that I would be working from home during the beautiful, showy springtime on Southern Vancouver Island and having to decipher moment to moment, the challenges that encompass all that is our new norm like…how I’m going to attend my next Zoom meeting at the same time that my son has a Zoom meeting with his classmates on the latest book they are all reading at home under the B1 English Language Arts Curriculum section…huh?  I always thought you read books for entertainment. 

This time last year I had five really awesome community-based restoration events successfully completed and more coming up.  This year, I’m trying to figure out what it means in Grade 5 math to use an “array model” to help my son do multiplication. The beauty of all of this new learning is that I know that I am not alone and I’m good at faking it!  But, before I wallow in my own struggles, I acknowledge fully that I’m an extremely fortunate person to even consider these small dilemmas a challenge. 

There are many of us that have relied (heavily) on providing structure and education to our children via the traditional public school model.  I may be fighting this tradition with all of its downfalls, but I now realize how I have taken it for granted and how dependent upon it I have been.  I’m not a creature of structure and I’m post-menopausal, so multi-tasking no longer comes naturally… being at home with my son, trying to work 25 hours a week and take care of a new puppy (no… not a Covid-induced puppy, just a lucky coincidence), and take care of the daily chores of living in a house (a privilege I’m thankful for)  yup– you see it, you’ve heard it from your friends – this is not for the faint of heart.  

But, in my weeks of meandering, flailing and trying to do it all like superwoman and also be able to bake bread and completely set up my garden before the May long weekend – well, it’s not working, surprise, surprise.  Alas, I know why. 

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