The Bats are returning from hibernation! Are you ready?

Maybe some of you see bats flying around in the summer evenings. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a few living in the crooks and crannies of your home. For those of you who co-exist with these incredible creatures, we applaud you for being fantastic bat stewards! These days, bats are struggling to find places to roost in the summer, so every chance we give makes a difference to them and to our ecosystems.

For those of you that are living with bats but maybe aren’t so excited about them, we have good news! Unlike rats or mice, bats do not cause significant damage to your home by chewing or creating nests. The bad news is that you will likely still have guano (bat poop), and depending on the size of your colony it can be a bit of a pain to clean up, although it makes a great fertilizer. See this document about safely living with bats: https://bcbats.ca/index.php/got-bats/living-with-a-bats

If you have bats living in your home and understand the vital role they play in our ecosystem, but they are very noisy or causing problems, we have an alternative: a safe exclusion and bat boxes! Exclusions are a guided process and step-by-step instructions can be found here.

The bat boxes are artificial roost structures specifically designed to mimic the conditions found between the cedar shakes or up in the attic. Installing two boxes, one in the shade and one in the sun, gives the bats more options if there is an exceptionally hot or cool summer.

Friends of Tod Creek Watershed Anne and Ian (HAT Habitat Stewards)in bat house building workshop early this month (link here).  Thank you so much Anne and Ian for showing us that all of us are able to make a difference in our communities and the creatures that live in them.

You can purchase a Bat Box from HAT for $128.40 - these boxes are specifically designed for our local bat species, we have two styles available at our office. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange pick up or delivery.

Want to build your own bat box? Here are some plans for the two different styles that work best.

Rocket Box

4 Chambered Maternity Box

If you have any questions about whether you live in a suitable place for a bat box installation or about what bat box style would work best for you, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Above: Pictures from the Tod Creek Watershed Bat Box Workshop

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Volunteer Spotlight: Lee Colwill

The HAT community is filled with outgoing, fun, upbeat people who make volunteering for a small non-profit a part of their weekly routines. This month - a month that itself is vibrant, colourful, and bringing with it a refreshing post-winter energy - we wanted to spotlight one of our most upbeat volunteers: Lee Colwill.
 
An Australian expat, Lee has been volunteering with HAT since 2012 when she started volunteering at Havenwood park. This volunteering coalesced into the Friends of Havenwood Park in 2014. This weekly stewardship group is a self-directed community group that spends some hours every week in the park, "ripping and stripping" and otherwise making sure invasive species of plants don't continue to encroach on habitat for native and other local species. As someone who loves a good joke, Lee and the rest of the Friends of Havenwood always share a laugh while they work, enjoying their time outdoors and on the land.
 
Last year, Lee added volunteering in the office to her schedule where she helps to organize community events like March's Music Bingo at the Fernwood Inn. Since her work as an event organizer, Lee has really brought some excitement to the HAT office, and a dedication to planning events that really comes through. After connecting with all the venue, the DJ, and assembling all of the prizes from all of our great sponsors (thanks again to the Fernwood Inn, Il Terazzo, Il Covo, Phillips, Fernwood Coffee, Smoke & Mirrors Coffee, Wildfire Bakery, & the Bateman Centre), and pulling off one of the most well attended music bingos the DJ (Sean) had ever seen, Lee is currently working on a number of other community events that are sure to get you excited, so stay tuned for more events!
 
Thanks Lee for being such a fun, exuberant member of the team :)

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HAT during COVID-19

COVID-19 UPDATE

Till further notice and subject to changes the HAT office will be closed to the public.

HAT wishes to do our part in reducing the viruses ability to spread through our community and are therefore temporarily closing the office for face to face visits.

All of the HAT staff will still be available by phone or by email so please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Stay happy and please stay healthy.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Meg Lovett

HAT is so lucky to be surrounded by people that are willing to give so much of their time to our cause and the environment. Each month the myriad choices of wonderful people to shine the spotlight on overwhelms us, each as dedicated and worth the praise as the next. This month however we are going to present Meg Lovett to you all, as an incredible volunteer who is making the day to day running of the office possible as well as being out in the field rain or shine cleaning out Screech Owl Boxes. (SEE BELOW)

Meg has her BSc. from the University of British Columbia in Environmental Science and is passionate about creating a sustainable environment, public outreach and working to promote habitat enhancement and protection. Meg has been an absolute pleasure to have in the office and her skills, unique perspectives and education are valuable tools that have benefited us all. Here are a few words from Meg herself: 

"Throughout my university experience I worked as a research assistant on a number of projects surrounding the topic of sustainable land use. After I graduated, being from Vancouver Island, I was looking for an organization which had the same focus in my local community and that’s when I found HAT. 

Having only been with HAT since January, I feel as though I’m still only scratching the surface when it comes to knowing just how much HAT does. In just two months I have learned so much from the team and have felt comfortable trying new things, such as learning how to write a press release or navigating to owl boxes with a GPS, because of their support. I feel very lucky to have found such a smart and passionate group to work for —  not to mention that I definitely fulfill my weekly quota of laughing when i’m at the office! I’m so excited to be a part of the upcoming events in the next few months knowing what HAT has in store! 

A big thank you to the HAT team!"

-Meg Lovett, Stewardship and Outreach Volunteer

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Update on Screech Owl Stewardship

by HAT Volunteer Meg Lovett

The first phase of HAT’s Western Screech Owl Stewardship Project is complete! 

HAT’s Western Owl Screech Project is focused on monitoring and providing habitats for the native species. Unfortunately, this owl is under threat due to severe habitat loss and increased populations of their main predators, i.e. the Barred Owl.  

As a new addition to the HAT team, I tagged along with a seasoned expert in wildlife biology and long-time HAT volunteer, Ben, to visit 11 properties around the Greater Victoria Region to clean up the 80 or so installed nest boxes for the upcoming breeding season. Together we trekked – and at times stumbled –  through the second growth forest, ladder and GPS in hand, to locate the boxes. Most of the boxes we found had been providing occupancy to our other local residents such as squirrels or northern flickers, who had left them full of all sorts of debris. Unfortunately for them, we cleaned out their nests and put down new, dry shavings in hopes of attracting the Western Screech Owls with a comfortable and safe place to nest. Furthermore, for each box, we recorded observations such as the condition of the box, the signs of use and the level of noise surrounding the box. Now that the boxes are ready for nesting, we will check back in about a month’s time to see if the owls have taken to the boxes for their breeding season of mid-March to mid-May. 

Having previously known little to nothing about owls in general, let alone the Western Screech Owl, I have now found myself becoming very passionate about the conservation of these little owls and have been able to learn so much over the past few weeks.  At HAT, we will all be keeping our fingers crossed to hopefully share the same good news as last year in finding chicks in some of the nest boxes! 

HAT would like to thank the property owners for their involvement with the Western Screech Owl Project. 

Additionally, if you think you have may have heard the distinctive “bouncing ball, whistling hoot” of a Western Screech Owl, please contact HAT at 250-995-2428 as it would greatly help in our efforts!

Screech Owl monitoring season is almost here! If you're interested in taking part in monitoring some of our winged neighbours, stay tuned here, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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