Volunteer Spotlight: Joanna Preston

Joanna Preston Volunteer Owl ProgramWe would like to recognize Joanna Preston for taking a leadership role in volunteering and supporting Habitat Acquisition Trust, particularly through the organization of and extensive participation in Western Screech Owl monitoring.

Thank you Joanna for giving your time to the understanding of these threatened owls and to our community!

Checking nest boxes placed by HAT with Biologist Tania Tripp this past week Joanna remarked, "we got a Screech Owl in box #22! So amazing to see her and know we have a Screech Owl nesting in Greater Victoria using one of our boxes!"

Reflecting on what inspires her about volunteering with us Joanna shared, "HAT made me realize I can contribute in a meaningful way to conservation initiatives and wildlife programs with real positive results. The HAT staff are awesome to work with and super knowledgeable, and in the short few months I've volunteered for HAT, I've learned a lot."

Joanne says, "I got involved with the Western Screech Owl nest box program this year and was inspired by how many land owners in Greater Victoria are so passionate about getting involved and wanting to protect this species at risk by installing owl nest boxes on their property. The Screech Owl population in Greater Victoria has declined witht he loss of forest that once provided natural cavities to nest in, and with the increase in predators such as Barred Owls, so this is a species that could benefit from our help.

Western Screech Owl close Ladner BC Credit Anthony Bucci and send him link

I helped install dozens of nest boxes this winter and checked up on a few of them later in spring using a tiny camera on the end of a long pole. I hoped, rather than expected, to find a Screech Owl inside one of the nest boxes. After inspecting several nest boxes and finding them either empty or occupied by squirrels, we found one! The last nest box I checked with Tania Tripp on June 2, a female screech owl stared back at us on the camera monitor, with at least one baby! I was ecstatic! If one nest box provides a safe nesting place for a pair of Screech Owls to raise a family in Greater Victoria, to me the nest box program is a success."

 "As a wildlife biologist and mother I feel my volunteer work at HAT is a great way to contribute to conservation efforts and teach my daughter the values of service in our community that connects with our passion for nature." - Joanna Preston

Habitat Acquisition Trust's staff, contractors, landowners, and volunteer Owl Monitors owe Joanna a great big thank you for all she's done to make our owl expeditions possible. It is with many helping hands and minds that we run programs like the Western Screech Owl project, and we are grateful to everyone involved. Joanna stands out to us as someone who has gone above and beyond like a Western Screech Owl flies above, carrying out an essential role in our natural environment.

Thank you so much Joanna! 

Western Screech Owl Photo by Anthony Bucci.


Read more: Volunteer Spotlight: Joanna Preston

2016 - 2017 Coastal Western Screech-Owl Surveys and Habitat Assessment Report

WSOW 20162017 reportThe 2016 - 2017 Coastal Western Screech-Owl Surveys and
Habitat Assessment Report is now available online!

Some highlights:
-This year automated recording units are being used to record and analyze audio of owls at key sites.
-30 boxes placed
- 216 owl monitoring surveys conducted for a total of 86 survey hours by 39 volunteers
- 5 survey stations had Western Screech Owl detections, including 1 that was not active in 2016

Click here to read the full report.

Would you like to help Habitat Acquisition Trust study and enhance habitat for coastal Western Screech Owls? You can donate to support this important work online here


Read more: 2016 - 2017 Coastal Western Screech-Owl Surveys and Habitat Assessment Report

Take our survey to help plan Conservation Connection Forum 2017

Take the survey here

Conservation Connection Plain Logo

Have you attended the Conservation Connection Forum before? Are you involved with one of Greater Victoria's nature-focused environmental or community groups?

We need to hear from you, please fill out our survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZBC286Y) to help make this year's Conservation Connection Forum the best yet!

Every two years, Habitat Acquisition Trust hosts a forum inviting individuals from over a hundred local environmental organizations along with students and those focused on the conservation sector. Together we meet to share ideas, build-skills, network, and collaborate for an efficient and vibrant conservation community.

Provide your feedback before June 1st with this survey


Help Habitat Acquisition Trust win $10,000 for nature with the Great Canadian Giving Challenge!

giving challengeWe would like to to tell you about the Great Canadian Giving Challenge! Habitat Acquisition Trust hopes that you can help us to inspire our fellow Canadians to say YES to charitable giving this June, a time when giving reaches its lowest levels.

Summer is such a wonderful time in Canada – great weather and longer days mean more fun outdoor activities, weekends away, BBQs and much more. It’s easy for Canadians to forget to support their favourite charities and causes, and to give back to the natural areas we deriver such joy from visiting. To help save charities coast-to-coast from the summer-giving drought, CanadaHelps and The GIV3 Foundation have launched the third annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge.

What is The Great Canadian Giving Challenge?

It is a National public contest for charities. Through this contest Every $1 donated to a Habitat Acquisition Trust in June via CanadaHelps.org, automatically enters your local land trust to win an additional $10,000 donation for nature. Wow! The minimum applicable donation is $3. That means for $3 you are giving local wildlife a big chance at greater protection. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day and we would like to celebrate with you.

With your special June donation our charity will be able to better serve our community for nature preservation and knowledge-building. That's something to celebrate! 

Make a donation online today and amplify the protection of nature. 

GCGC button 2


Read more: Help Habitat Acquisition Trust win $10,000 for nature with the Great Canadian Giving Challenge!

Eagles Lake Western Painted Turtle Habitat Enhancement

small wpt eagles lake weedingAs it turns out, Eagles Lake is not just for the eagles. Habitat Acquisition Trust has teamed up with the Highlands district to enhance the space of the resident Western Painted Turtles. 

The first step taken was installing basking logs that the endangered turtles will use to maintain their ideal body heat, important to their survival. 

Next, the Habitat Acquisition Trust team removed weedy plants from the shoreline. Excessive weed growth can get in the way of turtles looking for a space to nest. Finally, they spread some nice sandy soil. This substrate offers the turtles the right kind of material for digging a nest in. 

small wpt eagles lake spreading soil John PotterTurtle tips: in the spring, especially on warm days, keep an eye out for Western Painted Turtle Activity. Turtles can easily become road kill and baby turtles among the grass stand no chance against a lawnmower. If you spot a turtle in the road, you can help move it to safety. It's best to move the turtle safely away from the side of the road in the direction it was headed. Otherwise, it may attempt to cross again.

If you would like to help with turtle habitat restoration Habitat Acquisition Trust and CRD Parks are teaming up to remove invasive vegetation (primarily thistles) from nesting habitat along Beaver Lake. This event takes place Tuesday 23 May 2017 06:30pm - 09:00pm. The meeting location is the Equestrian Centre parking lot at Beaver Lake. Please RSVP with Colleen Long This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A special thanks to volunteer John Potter for giving his time and energy to the turtle enhancement. Keep an eye out on Shaw TV to see Paige Erickson-McGee, Habitat Acquisition Trust's Stewardship Cooridnator speaking about this project.

small wpt eagles lake Paige and Shaw TV


Read more: Eagles Lake Western Painted Turtle Habitat Enhancement

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