Wintery AGM

HAT hosted its Annual General Meeting Dec 17th at Swan Lake, despite the cold and falling snow.  Todd Carnahan provided a (shortened) presentation on HAT's work for the year featuring beautiful picutres of mostly sunnier days.  HAT is pleased to welcome the three new directors elected to the board - Jennifer Eliason, Andrew Harcombe, and Bruce Pendergast.  Stepping down are Tara Dunning and Moira Campbell.  Thank you both for your dedication to HAT!

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Public Presentation: Stories from 2008 and Annual General Meeting

Join us for a free presentation by Todd Carnahan
at Swan Lake Nature House

7-9 pm, Wednesday, December 17th

~ How the Turtle Got Painted ~
and Other Tales

HAT's man in the field Todd Carnahan presents anecdotes from a season chasing turtles, snakes, and kids with rakes.  Also, a Special Guest TBA... From Knockan Hill to Havenwood Park, HAT has been working in your community to create conservation legacies.  2008 was a busy time for the land trust - We'll  survey the highlights of HAT's outreach and research over the last 12 months.   

Learn why the Painted Turtle crossed the road and other mysteries.  Find out what it takes to get over 100 children planting a naturescape garden in winter weather.  Discover Vancouver Island's smallest snake and meet the hardest working conservationists in your region.  Coffee, Tea, snacks, and excellent taxidermy.

HAT members, staff, board members, and other volunteers invite you to join them for our Annual General Meeting.  We promise less bureaucracy and more nature photos.

Call 250 995 2428 for details.

Our Fall 2008 Newsletter is hot off the presses. Download it here.

Inside this issue of HAT Chat you will find:

- Whipp’s Tips

- Pacific Ninebark

- And “Simon Says”


Directions to Swan Lake

By Car: (From Downtown Victoria) Go North on Blanshard St. ( Pat Bay Highway #17) and take the McKenzie Avenue exit, right on Rainbow St., left on Ralph St., right on Swan Lake Road. The parking lot entrance is on the left.

By Bus: (From Downtown Victoria) Take Pat Bay Highway #70 or Central Saanich #75 to McKenzie interchange, walk east one block on McKenzie Avenue, right on Rainbow St., left on Ralph St., right on Swan Lake Road, follow the road into the Nature House. Total walking time is around 10 minutes.

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New School, New Students, New Garden

 

 

November 21st was a fantastic day at the new KELSET Elementary School. The day was crisp and windy, but the rain held off as we got to work with our shovels and rakes.

As a part of HAT's Green Spots education program, 6 classes from Kindergarten to grade 5 planted the naturescape garden with over 200 native shrubs and trees. The students planned the garden, deciding where the plants would go and which features will be included in the space.

Thank you to all the students and staff at KELSET for all of their hard work, and to the parent volunteers who came out to lend a hand. JB and Earl Claxton Jr. from the TSAWOUT First Nations Community were there as well, and Dave Friend of Friendly organics. There were special appearances at the end of the day from Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright, as well as HAT's own Garry Oakley! Shaw Daily came to cover the event, so keep your eyes open for the segment on TV.

The garden will be used as an outdoor classroom by the staff at KELSET, where students can learn about the local ecosystem and the history of the land around them. This is just the first part of the natural school ground that is planned for the new school.

 

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Creek flows backwards on BC Rivers Day

RiverSong is an annual event on BC Rivers Day at Cuthbert Holmes Park where the community sings the salmon home to their creek of birth. The District of Saanich, Gorge Waterway Initiative, Friends of Cuthbert Holmes Park, and community elders hosted residents in the forest with a tea tent and conversation on how to protect their ancient spawning grounds. Thanks to a flooding tide, the water in Colquitz Creek flowed upstream as residents toured along its banks with HAT's Todd Carnahan. Many learned about habitat conservation and human impacts as the Colquitz Creek watershed continues to develop. Below, residents watch a Belted Kingfisher dive for minnows.riversong_tour_colquitz_view.jpg

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Tiny Snakes in Shrinking Habitats

This little critter would sit neatly on a loonie, but he'd rather hide under a rock pile or rotten log in some woodland.  More unicorns have been spotted in our region than Sharp-tailed Snakes because most haven't even heard of Sharpies.  Despite their probable objections, HAT is trying to increase the little serpent's profile so that it can persist for another few thousand years in our region.   This snake and 117 other Species at Risk in the same habitats (Garry oak ecosystems) are facing the greatest threat since the ice age - explosive urban development.  For three years HAT and biologist Christian Engelstoft have been locating previously unknown Sharpie populations from Metchosin to Galiano Island with the help of landowners with suitable habitats.  We want to know where the snakes live so that as development occurs, their needs are taken into consideration.  We're only now learning about their habitat requirements and what it will take to maintain this biological hotspot called Southern Vancouver Island.  For more information on this project including a comparison of Sharpies to garter snakes, click here.

sharpie_on_thumb.jpg

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