Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Hansen

17218661 10158379114525274 2702086341886518418 o 1This month the HAT office team would like to shine the volunteer spotlight on Jane Hansen for taking the time to share her expertise on GIS (Geographical Information Systems) with HAT. We affectionately nickname her GIS Jane for her exepctional skills. Thank you Jane for volunteering your time as a GIS action hero for local conservation, we are amazed by your kindness, helpfulness, and tenacity.

Paige Erickson-McGee, shares her gratitude for Jane, “Jane has been immensely helpful in the mapping department, making the impossible seem possible! She brings a lightness and sense of accomplishment to a daunting task. Her passion for mapping and problem solving is an inspiration! Thank you Jane for everything you do for HAT.”

Wendy Tyrrell, HAT's Habitat Management Coordinator adds, "Working with Jane allows me to envision the possibilities of merging on-the-ground restoration with future management planning. She is a blast to work with, always smiling and helpful and her enthusiasm is contagious!"

Land Acquisition Coordinator, Barb von Sacken includes, "Jane has with warmth, humour and her confidence boosting response of “That’s a good question” to all manner of queries helped to streamline how we organize our data for the covenants program. Our new data structure has tremendously helped in my day to day work. Thanks Jane!"

Executive Director, Jill Robinson shares her accolades and gratitude as well saying, "Jane has been an incredible addition to our HAT team, as a fun and friendly office presence, as well as her thoughtful and enthusiastic approach to problem solving! She thinks outside the box and her experience and knowledge has been a tremendous value to our various programs in data management and mapping. A huge thank you to Jane for her time, energy and resources."

Jane shares a little bit of her Habitat Acquisition Trust volunteering experience with you:

When Jane first got introduced to HAT she says, "I went to the HAT website and read about their conservation efforts: I was hooked! They do it all, they work to protect and restore natural areas and - maybe even more importantly - HAT engages the public in their work, who ultimately need to be included to help make conservation stick.

I continue to volunteer because what they do works and I am a believer in what HAT does."

Jane Hansen ResizeRecalling her favourite experience volunteering with HAT Jane tells us that she and Executive Director, Jill had discussed using GIS analysis, HAT spatial data, and other land use layers to help identify potential conservation areas that would creat contiguous conservation zones. Recently Jane worked with Stewardship Coordinator, Paige Erickson-McGee to help do just that with planning HAT's Good Neighbours landowner stewardship program work in the East Sooke Wildwood Watershed this year.

Jane says, "HAT does so much more than just land conservation. They work to protect species at risk, and they are an active part of the community holding seminars to share information. They are kind and grateful for all the people that come out to help make their work, work."

If she could share something to others about being part of the HAT community Jane would want other to know: "Don't feel shy about coming into this office to check it out or offer lend a hand. When anyone walks through their door, the staff members are warm, kind and inviting. They make you feel a part of the cogs that make the wheel turn. You are important to the functionality of the system and they appreciate it. You will learn, you will laugh."

Thank you Jane for sharing your insights as well as volunteering to support local conservation with us at HAT, it's always a joy to work together.


Read more: Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Hansen

Do you give a hoot about Western Screech Owls?

Western Screech Owl close Ladner BC Credit Anthony Bucci and send him linkOWL UPDATE: When February arrives, dozens of volunteers will drive to wooded areas in and around Victoria at dusk and stay out late, listening. They are part of a project launched in 2015 by the Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) to monitor numbers of the endangered coastal sub-species of Western Screech Owls. February to April is the birds’ breeding season and the volunteers will be listening for their distinctive courtship calls in areas where they have been known to nest in the past or have been recently reported.

Listening for owls at night is labour-intensive, but it is a labour of love for HAT volunteers and staff. In 2016, over 40 volunteers spent a total of 54 hours and travelled 60 km of survey route to discover just 4 territories where the owls were active. Last year, they got some help from technology. Automated recording units were placed at likely spots, with microphones programmed to turn on at sunset and off at midnight. The sound files they collected were analyzed by computer and helped identify two additional territories for the rare owls.

Once more commonly heard in the Greater Victoria region, Western Screech Owls numbers have fallen by over 90% in the last 10 years. There are several reasons. Habitat changes have led to an increased population of Barred Owls, which have displaced their smaller cousins. Free-roaming outdoor cats not only kill owls but their prey food of small rodents and birds. Rodenticides may also have an impact and have been found in the bodies of most owls.

In addition to its census activities, the HAT project works with landowners to encourage conservation of suitable habitats where owls can breed and find food. HAT volunteers have also begun building and installing nest boxes for owls that can be monitored in future years to gauge the success of the program. Already, two of these boxes have become home to breeding Western Screech Owl pairs, which is encouraging. In January 2018, HAT is hosting an owl monitoring training session with local Scouts, who will learn to assess nest box use at their very own Camp Barnard. Anyone wanting to become a citizen scientist — by listening for hoots, building nest boxes, or helping in other ways — is encouraged to contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sign up to be a volunteer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

We are in need of funds to purchase Audio Recording Units and Wildlife "Peeper" Cameras for checking nest box success. If you would like to help these owls, sponsoring one of these units will help immensely!

Audio Recording Units - $250 donation

Wildlife Peeper Camera - $650 donation

Sponsor an owl box - $65 donation

Donate Now

The Habitat Acquisition Trust Western Screech Owl Project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program and by donations from people like you. Readers are encouraged to make a donation in support of Western Screech Owl conservation at hat.bc.ca/donate or by calling 250-995-2428.
Written by HAT Volunteer, Eric Grace in collaboration with HAT Staff.


Read more: Do you give a hoot about Western Screech Owls?

Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Chhina

Anna Chhina volunteer 2017This month the HAT Office team would like to shower our thanks on volunteer Anna Chhina for gifting her time for local conservation with us. Thank you Anna for being there, often behind the scenes, helping us make the on-the-ground action possible with your administrative excellence!

Reflecting on volunteering with HAT Anna says,

"I initially became involved because I needed experience in an office setting and a friend who had previously volunteered at HAT recommended it. After getting to know more about HAT the people involved, I want to continue because I believe in what they do and how important the work is."

Anna says her favourite part about volunteering with Habitat Acquisition Trust so far has been the Conservation Connection Benefit Banquet, "Also the food at the banquet, that was really good."

"I realized that every little bit helps and through my volunteering I can see that it's not always about making big changes right away but that little things can also have a big impact, especially when you genuinely care for what you do."

Signing off for the holidays Anna sends us all her regards,

"Happy holiday and happy New Year, I look forward to working with you guys next year too!"

We couldn't agree more!


Read more: Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Chhina

A bit of an update on the bat counts

little brown bats free to use public domainHabitat Acquisition Trust's Community Bat Program bat counts began in 2013. This means we can look back a few years now at specific roosts and see a snapshot of the bat population.

While this is a small sample size, and not yet a long trajectory to look at to draw conclusions, it is very interesting and will be useful as a growing baseline of data for bat conservation. This data also contributes to the province wide data on bat roosts collected through the BC Community Bat Program.

We hope all of you bat counters are proud to be part of moving our knowledge of and protection for local bats forward.

The larger scale volunteer led bat counts with HAT began in 2015. Looking across the major bat counts for the 7 sites we looked at from 2015 – 2017, the total number of bats counted increased from 2015 to 2016, then decreased from 2015 and 2016 numbers in 2017. Since this is such a small sample size and across a very short period of time, it’s tough to say if this is any kind of trend. So we will just have to keep collecting data to learn more.

bat counts chartOf the 9 sites surveyed in both 2016 and 2017, 5 actually had their highest numbers of bats recorded compared to previous years, with 8 still higher in 2017 than their lowest year’s count number. Between 2016 and 2017, of all 9 sites 6 had an increased number of bats and 3 had a decreased number of bats counted. So it seems to be generally that the data is simply reflecting regular fluctuations and no clear trend is observable yet.

2 of the sites where there were bats counted in an original roosting structure and bats had colonized a newly placed bat box, the overrall number of bats increased. This may show some promise for adding bat boxes to provide more habitat for colonies to grow.

For the two bat colony sites that we have data for each year from 2013 – 2017, their bat count numbers went down in 2014, up in 2015 and 2016, and dipped again from 2015-2016 levels in 2017, but still remain above their lowest numbers.

If you would like to know the bat numbers for a site you counted at just send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you would like to help out with the bat counts in 2018 please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you would like to include a new bat colony on your property in the 2018 bat counts please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read more: A bit of an update on the bat counts

Habitat Acquisition Trust's AGM & Social

AGM 2018 PosterDec 22HAT will be hosting our Annual General Meeting & Social on Wednesday, January 31st. You are invited to join us for the social event of the season at the beautiful Horticulture Centre of the Pacific at 505 Quayle Road, Saanich. 

Notice of Special Resolution

The following Special Resolution will be proposed for approval at Habitat Acquisition Trust’s (HAT’S) Annual General Meeting. 

Resolution Background: After undergoing significant legislative reform, a new BC Societies Act has come into force on Nov 28, 2016. In preparation for transition to the new Act after this date, the Habitat Acquisition Trust Board delegated a review of and amendments to the existing Bylaws and Constitution to ensure full compliance with the new Act. The Board now recommends to the Members approval of the new set of Bylaws and Constitution.

Special Resolution: The Member’s resolve to adopt the Constitution and Bylaws as presented.

The full text of the new Constitution and Bylaws is available here
The full text of the current Constitution is available here and Bylaws here.
A summary of the changes to the Constitution and Bylaws is available here.

Please contact HAT with any questions or concerns, or if you would like a hardcopy of the new Constitution and Bylaws mailed to you for your review.

Our AGM will provide an opportunity to learn about HAT and what we have accomplished over the past year. There will be updates provided by HAT staff on our many programs, as well as a chance to meet the board and mingle with fellow members and supporters. It's an excellent place to join in on the conservation conversation, especially in the social hour before the meeting and presentations begin. 

Doors open at 6:30pm, and the meeting and presentations run from 7:00-8:30pm. The event will be complete with light snacks, refreshments, as well as the chance to support HAT's conservation work further by becoming a member. 

This event is free and open to all, and you are encouraged to bring a friend! Come and see how we are working to conserve the local environment! 

Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you will be attending or if you require further information. 


Read more: Habitat Acquisition Trust's AGM & Social

Donate Now

Sign up for HAT's Newsletter The Fern

Get the lastest tips on gardening, stewardship, and info on HAT projects right to your inbox.


Login Form