National Volunteer Week, Day 2 - Joanna Preston

For Day 2 of National Volunteer Week, Paige Erickson-McGee, HAT’s Stewardship Coordinator, 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 since 2017. Joanna is a Registered Professional Biologist (RPBio) and works as a Wildlife Biologist for Stantec Environmental Consulting. With 15 years’ experience in Western Canada working on bats, songbirds, raptors, amphibians and more, Joanna brings a wealth of knowledge to HAT. Despite a full-time career, Joanna finds the time to volunteer her extensive skills and expertise to HAT’s Western Screech Owl Stewardship and Monitoring Project.

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…I've learned a lot."


Read more: National Volunteer Week, Day 2 - Joanna Preston

Volunteer appreciation Week

Mid-April is International Volunteers Week!
DAY 1: Karen Yearsley: Conservation From My Head To-My-Toes. - presented by Ronna Woudstra, Outreach and Communication Coordinator
DAY 2: Joanna Preston: Western Screech Owl Champion. - presented by Paige Erickson-McGee, Stewardship Coordinator
DAY 4: Alf Birch: Covenant Monitoring, Fire Management Strategy, and More! - presented by Barb von Sacken, Land Protection Coordinator
DAY 5: Liz Belcher: Restoration Volunteer and Board Member- presented by Katie Blake, Executive Director
From Sunday 18 April to Saturday 24 April, organizations like HAT will recognize the efforts of those volunteers who work so hard, in so many roles, to help us continue to be as effective as we are! HAT is taking this chance to thank all of our many, many volunteers, all of whom help us deliver our programs, keep conservation areas as invasive-species free as humanly possible, take phone messages, plan events, and enter data into various databases. HAT not only relies on volunteers, we benefit so enormously from our strong, huge community that really HAT wouldn't be as effective as we are, and as known throughout the community as we are, without our many volunteers.
Every day from Monday (19 April) to Friday (23 April) we'll be posting a new Volunteer Spotlight to the HAT blog, each one celebrating a HAT volunteer or volunteer group who have had a significant impact on members of our staff. These volunteers have worked closely with HAT (in some cases for years), and this is one small chance for the HAT staff to thank each of you, and to celebrate you publicly.
To everyone who has ever volunteered with HAT: Thank you all so very much for making HAT a member of your conservation community! Thank you each for doing what you can, when you can, to make this world a little better to live in. You are the absolute best!


National Volunteer Week, Day 1- Karen Yearsley

Karen is an active habitat steward who lovingly tends to the Garry Oak woodlands on her property in wonderful balance with her diverse vegetable garden. She never fails to show kindness to the natural world and the people around her, sharing her garden bounty with friends, neighbours and colleagues. Earlier this year she ran a small fundraiser by making her tomato seedlings available outside her home in exchange for a donation to HAT. The fundraiser raised over $1000 since 2017 and we are so inspired by the ways that incredible people like Karen continue to show HAT support. In order for us to show off how awesome our HAT community is Karen agreed to a short email interview about who she is and why she supports HAT, the interview is preceded by a write up about Karen written by HAT Land Protection Coordinator Barb von Sacken:

"In the early 1990's as a recent UVIC graduate I was delighted to find myself working for the Ministry of Forests, Research Branch in Victoria. There I was in awe of the vast knowledge of the Ecology program team which included Karen Yearsley.   Karen's work as part of the ecology program involved annual fieldwork to many rugged and remote parts of the province to collect plant, soil, and site data that helped build what is now the ecosystem framework for B.C. known as BEC or the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification.  Karen’s varied work in ecology eventually lead her to the Conservation Data Center (CDC) where her sharing of tomato seedlings and welcoming of HAT donations idea first sprouted. Even from the early days Karen has been a keen supporter of HAT, acting as a board member for many years, attending HAT events, spending years advising the HAT Land Committee, being an annual HAT member and of course her generous donations via tomato seedlings.  Most recently Karen has also shared her knowledge and interest in ecology by volunteering for HAT’s land protection program during our annual monitoring. It’s been a great pleasure to once again be sharing field days with Karen. "

Barb von Sacken

Land Protection Coordinator



Read more: National Volunteer Week, Day 1- Karen Yearsley

Land in the Highlands Acquired for Conservation


Located! The Search for the Screech pays off

The Search for the Screech - hoot hoot!

After several years of surveying and coming up short, we are excited to announce that a NEW Western Screech Owl (WESO) territory has been located, in Metchosin on February 18 2021!

Below is a link to our audio clip we posted on Instagram, and if you turn it waaayyy up and you might hear the call of the Metchosinite WESO🦉 recorded by two new HAT Habitat Stewards on their back deck. This is an exciting discovery since we knew these little owls used to have territories in this area, but we hadn't heard them calling during nesting season in over a decade. With only five known territories left in the region (that could be as few as 10 individuals left in the CRD) each new territory is precious, and much be protected.


Read more: Located! The Search for the Screech pays off

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