A 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.
Today 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.