Volunteer Spotlight: Claire Matthews

Volunteer Spotlight: Claire Matthews

In 2019, the Land Protection Coordinator had a secret weapon in the ongoing battle of untangling the mysteries of the HAT archives. This secret weapon was none other than the unassuming-by-day Claire Matthews.  During her summer break from the rigors of working at Hansard, Claire took on the task of sorting through stacks of paper files, maps, photos and random notes on the multitude of conservation inquiries that have come into the office since HAT’s inception in the 1990s.

From her cozy home office, Claire engaged her Nancy Drew-like sleuthing skills, teasing out important information, bringing order to boxes of hardcopy files, creating concise summary documents and populating a critical information database. This work will help HAT in an array of current and future protected-areas planning projects, and HAT’s Land Protection program has greatly benefitted from Claire’s skills in research and editing and her attention to detail.

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Public help needed to monitor for winter bat activity

For Immediate Release -

 

Public help needed to monitor for winter bat activity

WANTED: Reports of dead bats and of bats flying during winter

Date: Feb 4, 2020

BC bats are threatened by disease, and researchers are again asking for the public to help. White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease responsible for the death of millions of bats in eastern North America, has moved to the west coast.

Confirmed in Washington State just 150 km south of the BC-US border, the presence of the fungus is very worrisome for the health of our bat populations. The disease has near 100% mortality for some species of bats exposed to the fungus, including the locally familiar Little Brown Bat. Just this year, WNS has been confirmed for the first time in a fringed myotis (Myotis thysanodes) in King County, Washington. This finding brings the total number of bat species confirmed with the disease in North America to 13. Although devastating for bats, WNS does not affect humans.

The Southern Vancouver Island Community Bat Program run by Habitat Acquisition Trust in collaboration with the BC government is requesting the public’s help in monitoring winter bat activity. “We believe that our bats hibernate in relatively small groups across the province” says Paige Erickson-McGee, Bat Stewardship Coordinator for the program. “Detecting WNS in our province will require many eyes on the ground.”

The typical first sign of this disease is bats flying during the winter, an unusual sighting at a time of year when bats should be hibernating. Another sign of the presence of WNS is the appearance of dead bats outdoors as they succumb to the effects of WNS.

“We are encouraging the public to report dead bats or any sightings of winter bat activity to the Community Bat Project (CBP) toll-free phone number, website, or email below. Bat carcasses will be submitted for testing for White Nose Syndrome and would provide the earliest indication of the presence of the disease in BC” says Erickson-McGee. Reports of winter bat activity will help focus research, monitoring and protection efforts.

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Annual General Meeting 2020

It is always a great pleasure to spend the evening with members of the HAT community, and every January the Annual General Meeting gives us a chance to check in with you folks, to come together for a bit of business and some socializing. It is also a chance for the HAT board to report to you, HAT's members, about how we are doing as an organization. This year we spent a rainy Thursday evening at Hatley Castle in Colewood, in several ways a meeting point between where HAT works in Metchosin, the Highlands, and the Saanich Peninsula.

For those of you that weren't able to make it to the AGM on January 30th, though we are sad to say goodbye to two of our board members Pia Archibald and Rick Kool, we are pleased to announce the addition of 3 new members to the HAT Board. We would like to welcome Katie Bell, Charlie Gordon, and Pierre Iachetti who were elected last week and will be joining the HAT board at their next meeting in March.

We were also lucky enough to enjoy a reading by HAT supporter & member Anny Scoones. Anny is a local author known for her wit, humour, and her keen observations of life on Vancouver Island. Reading from her latest release, Island Home, Anny had us all in stitches, giving us a pause between business items. Two lucky winners also won copies of Anny's books which she kindly provided for a door-raffle.

With this year's AGM behind us, HAT staff are looking forward to other events that focus on our community like the HAT Member Lunch that will be taking place this spring, as well as the Conservation Connections Forum, and Volunteer Appreciation Day later on in the year.

If you would like to take a look at HAT's Annual Report 2019, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be happy to send you a copy!

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HAT launches Invasive Species Speaking Tour with CRD

HAT launches Invasive Species Speaking Tour with CRD 

HAT and CRD Environmental Services are working together to deliver presentations around the region for residents interested in removing invasive plant species from their property. 

Talk title: Invasive Plants in Your Garden and How to Conquer Them

Bothered by blackberry, bindweed, and ivy? Join Paige, Stewardship Coordinator for Habitat Acquisition Trust, as she talks about how to support nature in our backyards with native plants, and how to get rid of invasive species in your yard once and for all with some easy-to-do techniques. Paige grew up on Shawnigan Lake exploring nature with her dogs, and has been enthralled by the natural world from a young age. After studying geography and botany at UVic and working with HAT, Paige is now the Pollinator Steward for the Haliburton Farm Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project and is co-chair of the Native Plant Study Group.

Upcoming Dates:

Saturday February 15, Victoria Seedy Saturday, Victoria Conference Centre Downtown - Visit Website for more information - $8 entry fee includes a full day of speakers

Wednesday February 26 7:00pm, View Royal Garden Club, Esquimalt United Church @ 500 Admirals Road. - Entry by Donation

Thursday February 27 7:00pm, St. Mary's Church Metchosin Challenge! at St Mary's Church @ 4125 Metchosin Rd - Free

 

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HAT's Annual General Meeting is NEXT WEEK!

You are invited to HAT's Annual General Meeting

This is it: You're chance to vote on some of the things that help HAT do the conservation work that means so much to all of us. HAT and organizations like it are nothing if not the coming together of a community, it is the expression of our collective desire to see the ecosystems that sustain us stewarded in a good way, building a relationship between not only those of us in the HAT community, but between us humans and the other-than-humans that are our neighbours.

Participating in these meetings are our chance as members (literally, for voting purposes) to add our voices to the governance of this wonderful organization, to meet the board, and to chat with and hear from staff on projects that went on last year.

Please join us. It means a lot, and you will be pleased to enjoy a special reading by local author Anny Scoones from her book Island Home.

WHEN: January 30th at the Hatley Castle Drawing Room (2005 Sooke Road, Colwood)

What Time: 6:00pm for mingling, 6:30pm for the meeting.

If you need any more information, please call us at the HAT office 250.995.2428

 

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