• 28 Nov
    Giving Tuesday! All Day

    Its Giving Tuesday, a chance to counter consumer

  • 13 Jan
    Volunteer Appreciation Day! 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM

    Sat, Jan 13 9 - 11 am at Martin Bachelor Gallery (712 Cormorant St) featuring artist Joanne Thomson's

A Fresh New Series of HAT Brochures Online Now

about hat jpgHabitat Acquisition Trust is pleased to release a fresh new series of brochures detailing the work being done towards conservation in your community. Each leaflet gives insights into how you can share this work and get involved in new ways.

If you would like a hard copy for personal use or distribution please contact 250-995-2428, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or visit the HAT Office at 825 Broughton during weekdays 9:30 - 5:00 pm.

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Naturescaping Tips for a lovely Garden Year Round

Red Osier Dogwood Stems Flickr Credit Erik JacksonWhile you might not be thinking too much about naturescaping in the chilly, frosty weather here's something to warm you up to the idea.

When you plan your plantings, make sure to incorporate evergreen varieties of native plants and plants with attractive features in winter such as:

  • Kinnikinick
  • Oregon Grape
  • Stonecrop
  • Sword and licorice fern
  • Red Osier-Dogwood (beautiful stems in winter - photo left)

For a more extensive list of evergreen native plants check out this one put together by the Capital Regional Disctrict.

Another good idea to give your garden character in the mostly bloomless months is to incorporate attractive hardscape design, in the form of rock placement and other permanent features such as bird baths that can also enhance habitat for wildlife. Wood features, although less permanent, can also add some interest to a winterscape. A fallen branch or log can be incoporated in a way that is not only attractive, but offers a source of nutrients for widlife and other plants.

For more tips on creating a native garden in our region Louise Goulet's presentation offers many helpful insights from designing to maintaing your naturescape. Click here for more inspiration.

Photo left Red Osier Dogwood Stems in early spring: By Erik Jackson.

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Paths to Nature

robins egg ANA little girl of about 5 years old, hops along the stepping stones of her Grandmother’s garden. Stopping under a coniferous tree she spies the lovely blue of a cracked egg shell. “Look! a Robin’s egg!” says Grandma. It is around this time that the little girl decides, blue is my favourite colour, Robin’s egg blue.

Later on Grandma laments the small, dark and speckled birds, “Starlings, those awful things. They’ll kick other bird’s young out of their nests Somewhere in the mind of that little girl the concept of an invasive species takes a very rough form, waiting to be molded and put to good use.

The next day while watering the garden, Grandma finds a fuzzy bee buzzing helplessly in a pool of water. Little bright eyes watch with wonder as Grandma gently lifts the bedraggled bee onto a stone to dry. “Let’s call her Isabelle the Bee.” Every time a particularly plump and fuzzy bee is spotted in the Garden, it’s considered a visit from Isabelle the rescued bee. Perhaps, Isabelle was in fact a male worker bee, but what the child remembers most from this is that bees are good, bees are not scary.

A single father who loves to hunt and fish, takes his little girl out to forests and lakes in search of game. She loves to reach into the water, sometimes leaning in a bit too far. “There’s not a lake in the CRD you haven’t fallen into,” says Dad.

This outdoorsy Dad takes his growing little girl fishing on the ocean, but she is more interested in what she can see and less in what she can catch. Sea stars, Dungeness Crabs, Spot Prawns, Rock Cod, Salmon, Seals, wow! “Can we stop along this beach, Daddy?” Among the beach rocks the little girl stands holding a sun-bleached jaw bone. “Look at those flat teeth for grinding, it’s a deer’s jaw,” says Dad.

Ranging across hill, bluff, and meadow the not so little girl follows deer trails in the Sooke Hills collecting wildflowers. One of every type, until she can’t hold anymore, to make a bouquet for someone special. She creates her own names for plants along the way. Squid Flower is her common name for Miner’s Lettuce with its pink to green radiating tentacles of foliage. Proudly presenting her collection to Daddy, he remarks, “Those flowers are beautiful, but you shouldn’t pick them.” After that, she learns to take photos instead of plucking flowers, and then later to learn their proper names.

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Marigold Elementary children create habitat for bees in midst of McKenzie Interchange construction

marigold planting resizeOn November 17th, 2016, over 45 students from École Marigold Elementary School broke ground naturescaping a garden of their very own, a habitat-focused learning space created through the Green Spots school program by Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT).

“By creating something positive to focus on in the midst of this large McKenzie Interchange construction project, we are bringing student’s attention to what they can do for our remaining Garry Oak habitats. The students are very passionate about nature on their school grounds and want to ensure it stays protected.” - Paige Erickson-McGee, HAT Stewardship Coordinator.

Empowering young learners to care for nature, students prepared the site for this naturally-inspired meadow, and enthusiastically removed invasive English Ivy from Garry Oak habitat at the school.

In a collaboration between HAT, Marigold Elementary, and the District of Saanich, the students of Marigold gleefully discovered how wildlife habitat can be found and nurtured all around them, even at school.

planting plan marigold

The Ministry of Transportation allowed a salvage of native plants within the interchange construction area with salvaged Fawn Lily bulbs planted into the garden afterward.

Wildflowers like camas, fawn lilies, and native grasses that once flourished under the majestic Garry oaks of Marigold’s fields were brought back by the students, and with bees and butterflies in mind, children sipped on Licorice Fern tea. Marigold’s new meadow offers learning opportunities for many. Pollinators, seasonal changes, and Indigenous uses for plants are just a few learning opportunities.
HAT coordinates this project through their free outdoor learning program, Green Spots, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Province of BC’s Community Gaming Grant.


If you would like to support HAT in providing nature education to local kids through Green Spots visit hat.bc.ca/donate or call 250-995-2428. For those interested in volunteering please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click read more below for the list of native plants used for this project.

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