Katie Blake, Executive Director
Katie Blake comes to HAT with 17 years of experience in the conservation sector with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Katie’s expertise is primarily in land protection, including conservation covenants, conservation land acquisition and the Ecological Gifts Program. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Cultivate Canada Society, which runs Sole Food Street Farms, a social enterprise that employs residents of Vancouver's Downtown East Side in an urban agriculture venture. Katie’s passion for the social impact sector and for the natural world motivates her work at HAT every day. When she's not working or volunteering you will find her in her kitchen perfecting her canning skills or out hiking. Katie lives in Victoria with her husband Ian.
Wendy Tyrrell, Habitat Management Coordinator
Wendy is originally from California, holds a BSc in Ecology & Systematic Biology and has been working in the field of restoration and invasive plant management for more than 15 years. Wendy has worked as an ecologist for a local land trust developing and implementing restoration projects on covenanted lands and monitoring the efficacy of their invasive plant program.
As part of HAT’s Land Protection team, Wendy leads the management of our protected lands including planning, assessing habitats and coordinating restoration projects. In addition, Wendy works in partnership with local schools doing habitat enhancement through our Green Spots Program.
Paige Erickson-McGee, Stewardship Coordinator
Paige first got involved with HAT through a turtle. She later joined HAT as the Conservation Intern in 2012 and 2013 and continued to volunteer until 2014 when Paige became HAT’s Community & Development Coordinator. In January of 2015 Paige moved into the Stewardship Coordinator role leading programs for Good Neighbours and Species at Risk.
Paige grew up on Shawnigan Lake exploring nature with her dogs. She completed her degree in Geography at the University of Victoria, as well as the Environmental Technologist diploma and Archeological Field Assistant certificate at Camosun College. Paige is the Pollinator Steward for the Haliburton Farm Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project and is co-chair of the Native Plant Study Group.
Barb von Sacken, Land Protection Coordinator
Barb von Sacken has been with the HAT team as the Land Protection Coordinator since the fall of 2015. After her work with the Ministry of Environment, Camosun College, and private consulting, she will be taking on HAT’s growing protected land negotiations along with covenant monitoring.
As the Land Protection Coordinator, Barb works with public and private landowners to assist them in placing permanent protection on their lands through conservation covenants or acquisitions. In addition, Barb performs annual compliance monitoring on HAT’s covenanted properties.
Chris Perrin, Community and Development Coordinator
A settler of predominantly European ancestry living on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen & W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, Chris and his partner moved to the area in 2015 from Mohawk territory (Montreal). Chris brings three years of conservation fundraising to HAT having previously worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and has done community building and outreach work with the Concordia Volunteers Abroad Program (now CEED) and the Soul Surfers Foundation. Chris sits on the board for the Alliance for Intergenerational Resilience (AIR) and is studying settler/environmental interactions and decolonization for his PhD at UVic.
As the Community & Development Coordinator, Chris’s roles include working with HAT’s amazing members, supporters, and partner organizations to strengthen the HAT conservation community while also working towards building long-lasting relationships with funders.
Ronna Woudstra, Program Assistant
Ronna is of Irish and Dutch decent and is currently residing in unceded Lekwungen territory, now known as the Shelbourne community. She is a recent University of Victoria graduate with a BSc. in Biology and a minor in Anthropology. Throughout her studies she focused on ecosystems, ecology, plant biochemistry, and how we as humans understand and conceptualize the physical world around us. In her extracurricular life she is a soccer player, pianist, painter, and a disc golf enthusiast who finds joy in being outside and exploring nature with her dog, Lily.
Estraven Lupino-Smith Bat Coordinator
Estraven Lupino-Smith is an artist-researcher currently living on unceded Lekwungen territories. Originally from Toronto, they are a white settler from Italian and Scottish immigrant families. Estraven works across the disciplines of arts, social science, and science, and their work is informed by their curiosity and critical engagements with various environments: natural, cultural, and constructed. They are interested in the interactions of human and non-human animals and interrupting dominant narratives about nature and ecologies.
Estraven started their work with HAT through a project funded by the CRD Arts Development Service where they produced sculptural work, sound art pieces, and video that investigated the ramifications of the shifting urban, suburban and rural environments for bats. Through their research and involvement with the HAT Bat project, they became part of the HAT Staff team as the Bat Stewardship Coordinator.
Christian Engelstoft, MSc, Biologist
Christian has working with HAT to locate and help steward species at risk since 2004. Christian is the Scientific Advisor to the Sharp-tailed Snake and Western Painted Turtle Recovery Teams. Christian provides an important scientific basis to HATs species at risk research and stewardship initiatives guiding surveys, providing training, and writing reports. His studies have been published in a number of journals.
Kristiina Ovaska, PhD, Biologist
Kristiina has a MSc from Acadia University, Nova Scotia, and a PhD from University Victoria. After completing two post-doctoral studies (with McGill University and University of British Columbia), she has worked as a consultant and independent researcher focusing on the conservation of amphibians, reptiles, slugs and snails, and other often overlooked life forms. She started working with HAT in 2008 in projects aimed towards protecting the endangered Western Painted Turtles and Blue-grey Taildropper slugs and their habitats. In addition to working in BC, Kristiina has conducted studies in the West Indies, Panama, and Ecuador. Kristiina is a co-chair of the COSEWIC (Committee of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee and a former member of the Mollusc Specialist Subcommittee.
Michael Brinsmead, Bookkeeper
Michael has managed HAT's bookkeeping since 2007 through his bookkeeping business, Farhill Accounting.
Sarah Loos, GIS Technician & Spatial Analyst
In 2019, Sarah joined the HAT team to assist the Land Protection Programs with mapping and spatial data management.