50 Acres Adjacent to Thetis Lk Protected Forever

It was 4 am in late December, just before Christmas. I was bleary eyed, tired, and shivering uncontrollably.  It was difficult to recall exactly why I had insisted on dragging my wife and infant son to the Highlands of Greater Victoria in the dark, rather than sleeping at home in a warm bed, and I was somewhat concerned that I might be required to explain my actions soon.  I was fortunate this time though – I was rescued shortly by the gentle “ho-ho-hohoho…” bouncing ball-like call of a Western Screech-Owl; a call I hadn’t heard in years.  The hope of seeing or hearing an owl was what the motivation for our family’s early morning sojourn, and the pay-off was worth the lost sleep.

Ginns stonecropThe Highlands’ forested hills are one the few places on south Vancouver Island you can still hear the once wide-spread Western Screech-Owl’s (Megascops kennicottii kennicottii )call, if you’re lucky.  The loss of old forest habitat has taken a heavy toll on this small owl.  Earlier this year, the Western Screech-Owl’s status was “upgraded” to Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, due to “serious declines in the southern part of its range in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and the Gulf Islands areas, where it has nearly disappeared over the last 10 to 15 years.” (COSEWIC, 2012)  Unfortunately, the Screech-Owl is hardly unique.  Many other species, including bats, birds, frogs, and turtles, share the Screech-Owl’s habitat, and are suffering the same fate.

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Play Again Film

What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature?

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HAT and Open Cinema are thrilled to host the Victoria premiere of PLAY AGAIN.  Join us November 7th at the Victoria Events Centre for the PLAY AGAIN film, and discussion with a panel including: Lisa Lockerbie, Sooke Nature Kindergarten, David Segal, Power To Be, Dr. Richard Kool, Royal Roads University, and HAT's own Todd Carnahan.  Tickets are betwen $10 and $20 at the door - no advance tickets are available.  

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Scouts Help Restore Conservation Covenant


This past weekend saw the 5th Tsartlip scouts at mathesonScouts from Cadboro Bay reach out to HAT and lend a helping hand in cleaning up one of our conservation covenants. Since there is no funding for invasive species removal on covenant properties we rely on groups like the Scouts to help us clear broom or whatever else may be damaging a property. With the help of their parents, this group of scouts gave up their Saturday afternoon to help clear off an entire hillside filled with broom. We cannot thank them enough for their hard work as we accomplished more than we set out to do. It was a perfect sunny day to be outdoors and culminated with the wondeful hosts and covenant landowners preparing every kids favourite lunch  - hotdogs, chips and pop!

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HAT Helps Esquimalt Plant for Centennial


HAT was fortunate enough to be apart of Esquimalt's Centennial celeberations this past weekend, helping to restore important creek side habitat. Esquimalt has a lot to be proud of as of late and we wanted to continue on that momentum by planting 100 native plants, shrubs and trees in honor of their 100th birthday. We want to thank our volunteers and every person who stopped by to plant a shrub or tree that will turn the Gorge Creek into a valuable ecosystem for hundreds of years to come.

 

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Gorge Creek Planting Project

Join HAT volunteers restoring the Gorge Creek streamside while you learn your native plants, invasive plants, planting techniques and review salt marsh restoration. Please help us in planting one hundred trees and shrubs for Esquimalt's Centennial Celebrations at Gorge Creek Park. Esquimalt Parks staff and HAT have identified a streamside planting site for a volunteer community workshop on habitat conservation.

Date: Saturday, September 8th

Time: 10am - 1pm

Location: Upstream Bridge over the Creek (see map below)

 

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