"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.
Some of my most memorable experiences with HAT are from my time in the field while monitoring. Barb is an excellent teacher, and I always learn something about our local ecosystems while monitoring with her. I’ve learned more about local species-at-risk such as sharp-tailed snakes, slimleaf onion and red-legged frogs. I’ve also learned about really fascinating species, like ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora) which is a mycoheterotrophic plant, meaning that it gets its nutrients from the fungi associated with tree roots, rather than from photosynthesis. Something that we also note while monitoring is the presence of invasive plants. During my time at HAT, I’ve gotten to know many of the common invasive plants in our region, which is a blessing and a curse, because now I see them wherever I go! But mostly, I have become more aware of the native species that make up the ecosystems I’ve grown up in, and for that I am thankful.
An internship with HAT is a fantastic opportunity for anyone passionate about conservation and wanting to make a positive impact. Though my two summers have been fantastic, I think I’ll be giving someone else a shot at the position for 2021. So, if you’re interested in working to preserve nature with a wonderful group of people, think about an internship with HAT! "
-Nicole da Silva
To learn more about HAT's Land Protection Program >> Click HERE