Volunteer Spotlight December - Rosemary & Sid Jorna

Rosemary Jorna Ayum Resized DaphneRosemary and Sid Jorna joined us as volunteers this Fall as HAT hosted the Good Neighbours Ayum Creek project in Sooke, and dove right in! We would like to recognize and thank them for their wonderful volunteerism.

Habitat Acquistion Trust held two projects removing invasive plants at Ayum Creek, and one removing Himalayan Blackberry to plant native pollinator-attracting hedgerows with the T'Sou-ke Nation. At all three events the Jorna's were there to take part. Through their leadership in the Juan de Fuca Trails Society, they were able to encourage others from the Trails Society to volunteer their time too. We always find the saying true, many hands make light work.

For a photo album from our Pollinator Hedgerow Planting at the T'Sou-ke Nation's Ladybug Nursery click here.

When asked about their inspiration for volunteering with us the Jorna's had this to say,

"We are on the executive of the Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society. The Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society’s aims overlap with those of HAT so it was a natural fit to work with HAT in habitat restoration. As a Society we have organized the removal of broom from the Whiffin Spit over 10 years and will continue to keep it clear; now we have started working on the invasive plants in Ed McGregor Park.


During the last 3 years The Greater Victoria Green Team (GVGT) turned out to help us with the Whiffin Spit & Ed McGregor; when we learned the GVGT & HAT were working at Ayum Creek, the JdF Community Trails Society simply had to help. Sid and I, and our enthusiastic members had to pitch in. We all learnt a lot about native vegetation and native fauna. We met a great bunch of people sharing a common commitment to the environment so we are continuing to post your local events to our membership. "

Sid's favourite part about volunteering with Habitat Acquisition Trust so far has been attacking the dastardly Daphne in the forest at Ayum Creek. While for Rosemary, a memorable moment was meeting with a UVIC student who shared a mutual love for the Mer Bleu Bog in Ottawa. Volunteering can certainly be a wonderful way to meet people who share our passions, especially the connections we feel to natural places.

Sid Jorna Ayum Resized Daphne

This couple truly exemplifies the community connections groups like HAT are building in the community to have a positive impact. We are so grateful to count Sid and Rosemary Jorna among the number of wonderful volunteers that makes our habitat enhancment and restoration work possible.

Want to join the volunteers at HAT? Sign up for the Enews here for regular updates on opportunities, and get in touch with us with the skills you'd like to offer or grow and we'll look for a niche that suits you.


Read more: Volunteer Spotlight December - Rosemary & Sid Jorna

A Holiday Message from Executive Director, Jill Robinson

highlands in snow

December is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on a year gone by, to cherish the moments and build our resolve for a better future. Take a moment with us to think about your special memories in nature. Was there a certain place you visited that warmed your soul? Did you finally come across that special plant or animal you’d always hoped to see?

All of us at Habitat Acquisition Trust fondly recall a few highlights that we shared with you over the last year:


Read more: A Holiday Message from Executive Director, Jill Robinson

HAT Holiday Hours

The Habitat Acquisition Trust office (825 Broughton) will be closed for the holidays from Dec 21 - 27th. We welcome you to stop by before then, our office will be open the usual Mon - Fri from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm.

Happy HATty Holidays from the whole crew.

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Read more: HAT Holiday Hours

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

Marigold Planting 2016On November 17th, over 45 students from École Marigold Elementary School broke ground as they dug into the great outdoors with a garden of their very own. A habitat-focused outdoor learning space created through the Green Spots school program by Habitat Acquisition Trust.

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

Empowering young learners to take part in caring for nature, students not only prepared the site for this naturally-inspired meadow of native wildflowers and grasses, the kids have also enthusiastically removed invasive English Ivy (Hedera helix) from Garry Oak habitat on school grounds.

On Thursday, they will plant the native species with bees and butterflies in mind while sipping on native plant tea made from local edibles.

In a collaborative effort between Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), École Marigold Elementary School, and the District of Saanich, School District #61, students of Marigold get to discover how wildlife habitat can be found and nurtured not only in parks, but all around them, even on their own school grounds.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure allowed a salvage of native plants within the interchange construction area by HAT staff with bulbs planted into the garden.

“The Green Spots program helps kids to foster positive and fun connections to nature through outdoor, hands-on learning. HAT helps by providing students with the opportunity to restore and enhance habitat in their own schoolyard by pulling invasive weeds, digging in the dirt and placing native plants in the ground. These schoolyard naturescaping projects restore natural areas for future generations of outdoor explorers to enjoy” says Jill Robinson, Executive Director of HAT.

marigold 2016 planting photosWith many hands working together, wildflowers like the Camas, Fawn Lilies, and native grasses that once flourished under the majestic Garry Oaks of Marigold’s fields are being brought back by the students. Marigold’s new meadow will provide learning opportunities for the students for many years to come. Pollinators, seasonal changes, and indigenous uses for the plants of the meadow are just a few opportunities to inspire learning, curiosity, and awe.

The meadow will also provide a place for teachers to bring their students to sit and observe nature, paint or draw a spring wildflower, or to ponder why the flowers go dormant over winter.

HAT staff provide plant introductions to the students, and are leading the children through weekly ‘digging parties’ to help get the meadow ready for planting on November 17th.

“We strive to connect students to the meadow project by encouraging them to think about the plants and wildlife who needs them, teaching them about Garry Oaks and making sure they get their hands plenty dirty” says Paige Erickson-McGee.

Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) is coordinating this project through their free outdoor learning program, Green Spots, bringing hands-on natural science learning full-circle from outdoor experiences in park settings to outdoor classrooms on school grounds. The program is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada PromoScience Grant and by the Province of BC through a Community Gaming Grant. Since the beginning of this program HAT has worked with 26 schools and thousands of students to encourage hand’s-on, outdoor learning.

If you would like to support HAT in providing nature education to local kids through the Green Spots program your donations are vital to this good work. Visit hat.bc.ca/donate or call 250-995-2428 to lend your support today.


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

Yule-logs - A Story from the Western Painted Turtle's Point of View

wpt alan st johnThe world is changing and we all want to do what we can to make sure that change is for the best. As a community, one of the best things we can do to remain resilient in the face of change is to preserve undisturbed habitat for a diversity of wildlife. As Dr. Richard Hebda said during a recent talk,

“We don’t know what is best suited to the future, so we need to keep all of the parts to be prepared.”

The loss of natural areas, climate change and increase in human disturbances makes life tough for the many wild species and the habitats they ultimately depend on. We need your help to provide natural refuges in the face of change.

(Photo right: taken by Alan St. John)

Can you imagine for a moment what life must be like for our endangered Western Painted Turtles to get by? From a distance, it seems as though a turtle’s life is easy. But if turtles could talk, what would they say?

Let’s put ourselves in their shell…


Read more: Yule-logs - A Story from the Western Painted Turtle's Point of View

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