New to the HAT team: Meet Ashlea!



New to the HAT team: Meet Ashlea!

Greetings one and all, my name is Ashlea Veldhoen (sounds like "Veltoon") and I am very happy to say that I have recently come into the position of Community and Development Coordinator with HAT.  

Who I am, and how I got here...

If people were to describe me, they'd probably say I was crazy about dogs, birds and the protecting the environment.

Originally from the suburbs of Burlington, Ontario, I had always longed for adventure, connecting with nature and having a better understanding of the world around me. Throughout my life I was continually inspired by my family to love and cherish the natural world and the plants and animals found within them. My mother, father and grandmother were the biggest influences in my life when it came to developing my passion for animals. Starting with pets, my passion expanded to encompass birds and wildlife, so much so that by the time I had reached high school, I was pretty certain I wanted to work to protect the animals I so loved. This led to my two diplomas in Ecosystem Management at Fleming College, my Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science at Trent University, and eventually to HAT! And as you can likely guess, I still hold a very special place in my heart for dogs. 

This past fall, my partner and I decided to move to BC for a change of pace. We had both visited Victoria the year prior and had fallen in love with the atmosphere. I mean, how great is a city where you can see more than 7 stars at night and experience beautiful wild trails on a short distance outside of it? I love it here. 

So, after I had finished my summer contract as the Beach Stewardship Co-ordinator with Wasaga Beach Provincial Park in Ontario, we packed up our car, roof pod, and mini-trailer with the contents of our tiny cottage, threw in some camping gear and helped the dog up onto the pile of blankets that would be his seat, and we were off and running. Through the rugged North of Ontario, we saw the fall colours begin to appear. We drove north of Lake Superior, which was absolutely stunning. The inland lakes and forests surrounding the area were crystal clear and lush. We then travelled through the prairies, where a small farm seemed like hundreds and hundreds of acres and witnessed thousands of Snow Geese congregating on the ephemeral lakes along the highway. Our little car trekked through the Rockies to Jasper and the Icefields Parkway, where we were able to see herds of Bighorn Sheep, elk (wapiti), and the clear blue-white ice of giant mountain glaciers for the first time. We travelled through the Okanagan Valley - which was another first for me - and then hopped onto the ferry at Tsawwassen. After 10 days of driving and a ferry ride, we had made it to Victoria. It wasn't long after we moved that that we began volunteering within the community and joined several organizations to meet new friends - through whom I learned of the Community and Development Coordinator position! Now that it's almost Spring and the plum and cherry blossoms are in bloom, it feels like the perfect time for new beginnings. 

With that, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to HAT for the opportunity to work in furthering the conservation of nature on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands. It is an honour and a privilege to have this position and look forward to working together with the HAT and everyone interested in conserving the natural world for now and for generations to come.   

Sincerely yours in conservation, 

Ashlea Veldhoen 
Community and Development Coordinator
Habitat Acquisition Trust


Hitting the ol' dusty trail

Paige and Alanah Big Bat Bike Ride 2017 2A departing letter from Community and Development Coordinator, Alanah Nasadyk

If you’ve spent enough time roaming around Greater Victoria since the late ’90s, like me, you probably recognize the metal signs with blue dragonflies proudly displayed on fence posts and properties dotting the landscape. These Good Neighbours habitat steward signs were my first introduction to Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT).

If you love to ramble in the hills and meadows of south Vancouver Island, like me, then you’ve probably taken in the joys of nature protected by HAT, and maybe without even knowing it. Looking out through the alders at glistening Ayum Creek, perhaps kayaking by Ayum Estuary with it’s bustling birds and other seaside wildlife. Losing yourself and your concerns, but hopefully not your way, in the Sooke Hills to find the mossy summit of Mount Quimper, the tallest summit in the Capital Regional District on Mount Empress, or the swimming snakes, newts, and Red-legged Frogs of Shields, Grassy, and Crabapple lakes. The Sooke Hills were already one of my favourite places in the world when I found out that Habitat Acquisition Trust protects them. It made my heart sing to be a part of the organization that watches over such magnificent, interconnected landscapes.

alanahbatToday I am looking back at being a part of this incredible HAT community, as I prepare to depart. There is so much that I will miss, but I’m not straying far. This summer I led my third annual bat counting team, and this time, as we sat back in lawn chairs with our eyes training on the darkening sky, I was among HAT volunteers that are my friends and neighbours. Friends I made before joining the HAT team and friends I made along the way. One night, we were scolded by curious young Great Horned Owls. They were up in a snag making a raucous as if to say, “look at me – not those silly bats!” Just one of many amazing moments here with HAT.

The work that HAT does is also about helping people’s dreams, and wishes, and legacies unfurl through meaningful conservation activities. With HAT, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of the people that fostered and envisioned this organization from the very beginning. I have had tea with the people who are gifting their land to HAT to set aside a better future, who have named nature in their will to build a legacy where habitat is protected, and who have spent their last few weeks on this Earth giving their precious time to steward the land through restoration. Every day I come into the HAT office I smile and every day here I get to send my heartfelt gratitude to our donors and volunteers that make it all happen. Even though I’ll miss being in the office alongside the incredible people I call my colleagues, and behind the scenes setting connections in motion, my heart and gratitude will always be in it. I look forward to seeing the work we’ve all contributed to continue to take root and grow, as I know it will.

Thank you all for making my work with HAT fulfilling and inspiring, I’ve learned so much. I’ll be hitting the ol’ dusty trail for some new adventures now, and finding new ways to pitch in to keep our home vibrant and thriving. Now it’s my turn to say to each of you, keep up the good work and thank you for all you do for nature in our community. 


Read more: Hitting the ol' dusty trail

Hugh Mogensen gives the gift of nature

As a homeowner, naturalist, or outdoors enthusiast, you may have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of our most threatened populations of Sharp-tailed Snakes or Western Painted Turtles on Vancouver Island.  You may be familiar with the elusive call of the Western Screech Owl, or the distinctive swoop of our local bats. For others, you may still be waiting for that extra special wildlife encounter.  As a member or supporter of Habitat Acquisition Trust, you are likely familiar with our programs that aim to shed light on many of these threatened animals and take action to enhance, protect, and restore their precious habitats. What you may not be as familiar with, are the humble heroes that make this important work possible: the people that make significant contributions that support our habitat stewardship programs.

Helen and Hugh MogensenOne person that has made a significant and lasting impact on HAT’s Species of Concern Program is Hugh Mogensen. People like Hugh Mogensen are the reason we are able to take significant strides in protecting, restoring and enhancing habitat for wildlife. Not only was Hugh’s generous donation impactful, but it also helped leverage matching funding to create an even more meaningful and sustainable contribution to species of concern in our region. The momentum created by these caring gestures empowers other people in the community to come together and reach shared conservation goals.

In 2012, Mr. Mogensen gifted $50,000 to Habitat Acquisition Trust. Since then, his generosity has gone towards everything from uncovering rare Sharp-tailed Snake habitat, installing safe nesting grounds for Western Painted Turtles, and increasing awareness and knowledge of our local threatened bat populations through coordinated citizen science projects. Hugh’s gift is a lasting legacy for nature that has made a positive contribution to conservation and a lasting mark on the community.

As it turns out, Hugh has been not only supporting HAT’s efforts to protect local wildlife, but he has been lending a helping hand in his own personal way as well. “I was driving along Oldfield Road in Saanich when I saw a turtle crossing. There was a car coming, so I stopped to let them know, and help the turtle across the road. It was a father and his kids, he was glad that we stopped them. We got to show the children the turtle before it went on its way,” tells Hugh.

We can’t thank Hugh enough for his thoughtfulness, but he confesses, “My wife Helen was the real philanthropist, she was a very generous person. I am more practical. You know, I’ve looked after my children quite well. I pay a lot of income tax. So, I get some satisfaction to give some money away and pay less taxes.” Donating to HAT can be a prudent way to ensure that your contribution to society goes towards what matters to you the most, and you can feel really good about it too. (Top right photo: Helen Mogensen, left, Hugh Mogensen, right)

Hugh was first introduced to Habitat Acquisition Trust through his son-in-law, Biologist Christian Engelstoft. Christian Engelstoft is an expert Biologist working with HAT that has extensive experience surveying reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. Christian’s palpable passion for better understanding and protecting wildlife inspired Hugh to support local conservation. It’s the caring supporters like Hugh that have helped HAT take positive leaps that make lasting contributions to science and habitat protection in our region.

Mr. Mogensen also manages the Hugh and Helen Mogensen Foundation. A fund established through the Victoria Foundation that allows Hugh to donate the interest each year to charity. There are so many wonderful ways a person can make a difference, and all it takes is a little inspiration and kindness. Hugh’s gift to habitat stewardship is a shining example that we are so glad to honour.

If you would like to be a champion for nature like Hugh, and want to make your own personal difference for local conservation, Habitat Acquisition Trust welcomes your support. You can make a gift online at any time, or set up a meeting to plan a special gift by calling 250-995-2428 or sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, visit our website, or drop by the office, 825 Broughton St, Victoria.

Thank you to everyone that makes protecting nature in our region possible, we’re making a difference together every day. For the people we love, the wild places that shape us, and the wildlife that inspires us.


Read more: Hugh Mogensen gives the gift of nature

HAT is hiring

This position application closed Monday February 5 2018 at 4:00pm. Thank you to the 80 applicants who applied, however only those selected for an interview will be contacted by February 9 2018.


Position: Community & Development Coordinator
Term: full-time position starting early February 2018.
Hours: 37.5 hours/week
Wage: $20 - $22.50/hr. depending on experience

Deadline for application is Monday, Feb 5 2018 at 4:00pm.

Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) is a Victoria, BC-based regional land trust that helps people understand and care for natural environments in the Capital region. Visit our website at

The Community & Development Coordinator plans, organizes, implements and evaluates specific outreach and fund development projects as directed by the Executive Director. The Coordinator will work as part of a team including HAT’s Stewardship, Land Acquisitions, and Habitat Management Coordinators.

Duties include:

• Works closely with the Executive Director to develop and implement a comprehensive annual fundraising and development strategy focusing on building membership base, fundraising campaigns and planned giving;
• Assists the Executive Director to identify funding needs and funding sources including new opportunities for grant proposals; researching, preparing, submitting, presenting, and following up on funding applications;
• Develops and maintains collaborative relationships with existing supporters, volunteers, landowners, community groups, government agencies, local businesses, and other conservation organizations;
• Identifies and responds to public outreach opportunities including organizing community events, workshops and seminars;
• Initiates and maintains relationship with the media and social media including coordination of publicity for projects, drafting of press releases, writing and distribution of newsletters, managing display materials, and managing a variety of social media outlets;
• Maintains comprehensive and well organized project files and prepares reports for the Board and funders;
• Maintains databases related to memberships, donors and volunteers, ensuring privacy protection protocols are in place and observed
• Maintains and manages office administration and supplies.


• Strong interest in HAT and its mission;
• Post-secondary accreditation in biology, geography, environmental studies, ecological restoration or a related discipline;
• Demonstrated ability in project planning, development, evaluation and management;
• Well-developed computer skills and ability to effectively use basic office technology and software (eg: word processing, powerpoint presentations)
• Experience with website maintenance, database management; Salesforce (or similar customer relationship management software), Adobe InDesign is an asset.
• Strong interpersonal, written and verbal skills, ability to interact and consult with individuals at all levels inside the organization and in the broader community;
• Demonstrated skill in fundraising, community outreach, and education;
• Proven leadership skills and ability to be self-directed;
• Strong public speaking skills (e.g. comfortable providing interviews for radio and news media, presenting on projects to donors, municipal grantors, and public)
• ability to prioritize, problem-solve, and multi-task;
• experience working with children and school groups (must undergo criminal record check);
• Willing and able to undertake professional development and training as appropriate
• Willing and able to work irregular hours including some weekends;
• possess Driver’s Licence and access to a motor vehicle for transportation may be required;
• Sense of humour and proven ability to work in a close team;
• Experience working with non-profit organizations an asset;

Position Competencies:

Passion for the Environment: Demonstrates a strong alignment of one’s own values with those of the organization, puts the organization’s mission first and defends its principles.

Collaborative Relationship Building: able to develop, maintain and strengthen partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance and support;

Strategic Orientation: Able to link long range goals to daily work, take the long-term view and develop plans to meet over-arching goals;

Effective Communication: the ability to express ideas, facts and information in a clear, timely and organized manner to create positive supportive partnerships;

Professionalism: is honest and forthright, takes responsibility for own actions, conveys a command of relevant facts and information, acts in a manner that conveys trustworthiness, reliability and dependability.

Thoroughness: takes steps to ensure work is of high quality, that information is complete and accurate, follows up with others to fulfill commitments, monitors work quality, uses systems to organize and keep track of information or work progress

Service: demonstrates a strong commitment to meeting the needs of donors, partners, or community members, striving to ensure their full satisfaction.


Please apply to: Jill Robinson, Executive Director, with subtitle: “Community and Development” submitted by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or mail Habitat Acquisition Trust, PO Box 8552, Victoria, B.C., V8W 3S2

Application should include: Resume and cover letter that demonstrate how the candidate meets the qualifications and competencies in the job description.

We would like to thank all applicants for your interest in working with HAT. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.



Read more: HAT is hiring

Local Business Partners 2017

So many local businesses have supported HAT in a variety of ways. From donating food for volunteer events and gardening equipment for restoration, to sponsoring the events and programs that make conservation in our region possible. Every contribution makes a big difference to nature. Thank you for your support! 

The businesses listed below have taken a leadership role this year in keeping our region vibrant and healthy with their forward-thinking sponsorship of nature initiatives with HAT. Our thanks go out to them for making it possible to take action where wildlife need it most. 

See our sponsors from 2016 here.

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 250-995-2428 to talk about customizing a partnership for nature today. Be recognized for your good work in our community.


Read more: Local Business Partners 2017

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