August Stewardship - Fieldwork Fridays

Fieldwork Fridays - Stewardship Volunteer Crew needed

Starting August 7, the Stewardship Team will be operating Fieldwork Fridays for the month of August and looking for independent volunteers with some invasive plant removal experience to join us. The work will be supporting Habitat Stewards in the western communities (Metchosin, Langford, Sooke, East Sooke) to conduct habitat restoration activities on private lands. This will be primarily removing invasive plant material, but also site visits to assess properties for wildlife habitat potential and identify native plants/ecosystems.


Due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions, we are unable to offer carpooling for volunteers at this time, so your own transportation is required. Volunteers are expected to follow new COVID-safe protocols and procedures, and space is limited to 5 volunteers. Half-day (3hr) or full-day (6hr) options, available dates include August 7, 14, 21, or 28. For more information, email Stewardship Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Have you heard of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?

Have you heard of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?

by Katie Blake

HAT Executive Director 

In Canadian culture, we have largely come to know protected landscapes in the form of parks, ecological reserves, wildlife protected areas, and world heritage sites . Land trust and non-profit owned conservation areas, as well as conservation covenants (better known as easements outside of BC) have been more recent additions to the list of lands that Canadians count as conserved. This collective conservation work has surely prevented the loss of many species and ecosystems that may otherwise have succumbed to resource development, housing, and other land conversion. Protected areas are considered by many as the cornerstones of conservation that will safeguard biodiversity, provide clean air, fresh water, and food, buffer us from floods and droughts, and provide us with outdoor recreational opportunities.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of these protected areas were created without the involvement of Indigenous communities. These protected areas often restrict or outright exclude Indigenous communities from traditional use of large portions of their territories. We are now living in an age in which improving relationships between Canadian society and Indigenous communities has been embraced as a collective priority, and Indigenous rights and sovereignty are increasingly understood. How can the practice of land conservation be reconciled with supporting Indigenous communities and their long-standing relationship with the land?


Read more: Have you heard of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?

Nicole da Silva Internship Experience


"This summer I was fortunate enough to work as HAT’s Land Protection Intern for the second summer in a row. My first summer with HAT, in 2019, didn’t go quite as planned. I tore my MCL in a horseback riding accident within the first week of my work term which meant that, unfortunately, I had to miss out on many of the perks of being a Land Protection Intern. Although I was office-bound for most of that summer, I still had a fun and memorable experience working with HAT and I was thrilled to have the opportunity this year of another summer as an intern (this time, uninjured)!

Every spring and summer, HAT monitors approximately 16 of the conservation covenants that make up our Land Protection program. These covenant areas are spread across the CRD from North Saanich to Sooke and cover a variety of ecosystems such as Garry oak meadows, Douglas fir forests, wetlands and coastlines. As an intern, my job is to assist HAT’s Land Protection Coordinator, Barb von Sacken, on these monitoring trips, and back at the office while writing reports for each covenant. 


Read more: Nicole da Silva Internship Experience

Meet Rachael Tancock

Meet our Conservation Intern, Rachael TancockShe was born and raised on the unceded lands of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen peoples. Rachael is very passionate about the natural environment, which stems from spending most of her childhood outdoors, exploring southern Vancouver Island and sailing throughout the Salish Sea. After graduating from the University of Victoria with a BSc Major in Geography and Minor in Environmental Studies, she has worked as a Research Intern at the Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui and as a Park Naturalist with the Capital Regional District. Rachael enjoys spending time in natureexploring natural areas, identifying native species, and snorkeling/freediving along Vancouver Island’s coastline. She will be returning to post-secondary education in the fall to further her passion for environmental education.


Read more: Meet Rachael Tancock

Membership Changes coming to HAT

Membership has long been a mainstay of the HAT conservation community. HAT members are the driving force behind much of why HAT exists. Not only do they play a central role in HAT’s governance structure by participating in and voting at the Annual General Meeting (held at the end of every January), they are those folks who want to be involved in conservation in a direct way, whether that’s through showing their support at member events, or as regular participants at volunteer restoration workshops.

In July (2020), HAT is changing the benefits to becoming a member.

Changing the way members are recognized has been a long point of discussion at HAT. Surprisingly, it was the recent pandemic that finally gave us the motivation to make this a reality.

Much like HAT, COVID-19 is still impacting many of our local partners, and it has been difficult for us to interact with our communities as we normally do. Whether due to social distancing, confinement or other health concerns, many of us are trying to remain connected in the best ways we can. For that reason, HAT and some of our local partners have found a new way to support each other and cultivate a renewed community focus on conservation! 

Beginning in July, any HAT member with a valid membership card will be able to receive special benefits (that range from experiences to discounts) from a group of locally-based, locally-owned, community-focused and conservation-minded businesses in the area. These include Sea Cider Farm & Cider House, West Coast Refill, Metchosin Farm, Onyx Lion Herbs, and we are hoping to add more diverse businesses as we grow the program.

The actual benefits or perks to membership are listed on HAT’s Membership page, so please take a look! As well, this change means a bit of a change for folks who normally receive a tax receipt for their membership. In the past our membership fee was considered a donation and therefore eligible for a tax receipt. Since our new membership will offer benefits or "advantages" to its members, according to CRA law we will no longer be able to issue a tax receipt. To not leave anyone out, we are happy to offer an option for folks who are happy to forego the perks and wish to retain a tax receipt. So please take a close read of the Membership page, and email Chris (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you have any questions or concerns.

We are hoping that folks who are already members, and those who are actively considering becoming members, might support local partners as they tentatively reopen. Cross-promotion and working together will also give HAT the chance to reach folks we don’t often have the chance to interact with, allowing us to grow our conservation community and support more local conservation!

A huge Thank You to all of HAT’s members, and to our local partners. HAT is proud to work with each of you towards our shared conservation vision!


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