Recognizing our volunteer of the month for November: Marlo Shaw

marlo and paigeMarlo Shaw (left) first jumped into volunteering with Habitat Acquisition Trust in 2014 and since then has been an incredible force for the good of nature. From ecological restoration to behind-the-scenes office-based work Marlo does a little bit of everything and it really adds up. 

"I love volunteering for HAT because I get the opportunity to spend time with incredible, knowledgable people in places that I wouldn't normally be able to visit. I feel that HAT's goals and initiatives align with my passions for engaging community members and connecting people to nature. I am so grateful to feel love and support from the HAT staff and I am more than happy to return that same love and support to an organization that I care about," says Marlo.

In September, Marlo returned to volunteering with HAT after some time abroad bringing smiles to all of the HAT staff that had worked closely with her before. Since her return, Marlo has been a part of the 20th Birthday Nature Fundraiser team, preparing the online and silent auction items for HATters eager to bid. Marlo has also been a key player on three habitat restoration events and during outreach events at both UVIC and in Sidney for All Buffleheads Day.

"My favourite moment when volunteering with HAT would have to be a quiet lunch that we had on a beautiful day pulling broom on Camas Hill looking out onto a beautiful Garry Oak Meadow. I was very grateful to be in such a beautiful place with such interesting, hard working people." - Marlo

Her willingness to get involved and follow through with enthusiasm is appreciated so very much by everyone at HAT. We are so pleased to feature you Marlo!


Read more: Recognizing our volunteer of the month for November: Marlo Shaw

T-SOU-KE Nation Partners with HAT for Pollinators

TSouke pollinator days poster

Sunday, Nov 20th, 10 am - 3:00 PM join other HAT Volunteers and the T'SOU-KE Nation at Ladybug Nursery for a day of native species planting and invasive blackberry removal. The goal is to plant hedgerows of native plants to encourage local pollinating species to help pollinate the nursery's plants too. 

Lunch, tools, and training will be covered by HAT. You need only bring yourself, some water, and the right clothes for a comfortable day of work outside. 

Rides can be arranged, the #61 bus also stops nearby at Sooke and Kaltasin Rd. 

Speaking about the T'Sou-ke community's Ladybug Nursery and comprehensive community planning towards sustainability, Chief Gordon Planes has said,

"We are setting the table for future generations. There is an appetite for change and I really believe that the next generation is the one that is going to make positive changes. The Creator provided the resources for us to take care of ourselves. We are doing that a lot… I see huge opportunity for all of us and I encourage others to get in the canoe with us to build a stronger, sustainable economy. All of us can prosper together."

Please share this poster with people you know that might like to get involved! Bonus habitat stewardship points if you post it on a local community message board or share with a group you're involved with.

Can't make it but like to support HAT's work in the community? Consider making a donation today.


Read more: T-SOU-KE Nation Partners with HAT for Pollinators

Why are we out flipping cardboard in the forest?

Ordinarily, if you were out for a walk in a park and saw people leaving cardboard behind, you might have something to say. It might not be good, understandably. But Habitat Acquisition Trust has a reason for you to think twice about removing or disturbing some very particular cardboard you might come across in the woods.

bgt Kristiina ovaska

In the quest to better assess the habitat needs of the elusive and endangered Blue-grey Taildropper Slug (Prophysaon coeruleum, photo right by Kristiina Ovaska) with permission from local parks and private landowners HAT has been intentionally placing small squares of cardboard on the ground in places where these slugs are suspected to live. Believe or not, these pieces of cardboard, referred to as Artificial Cover Objects or ACOs, provide a kind of shelter that slugs and snails will use. This makes regularly spaced ACOs a great way to research an area's gastropod populations. You can tell that these pieces are for research and not garbage because they are marked with numbers and spaced evenly.

So, if you're out for a stroll in the forest and come across some of us flipping soggy cardboard, you might have something to say after all: "Find any Blue-grey Taildropper Slugs?"

If you would like to help out with gastropod surveys, please send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you or your friends and family are free Sat. Nov 19th from 10:30 - 1:30, RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join us for a day of removing invasive species to imporve Blue-grey Taildropper Slug habitat at Thetis Lake. RSVP for details!

Over the next several weeks HATters will be especially vigilant for the blue beauties. If you've found a Blue-grey Taildropper (BGT) be sure to take a picture right away and send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. It's important to snap a shot fast because once disturbed a BGT on the surface is likely to bury into the litter. This small slug is tough enough to spot as is, but once buried beneath the leaf litter and soil, there's not much of a chance of finding them again.


Read more: Why are we out flipping cardboard in the forest?

Returning to Ayum Creek: A Natural History

Celebrating 20 years of conservation this winter, it seems quite fitting that local land trust, Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), whose emblem is encircled with a fern, went full circle this year by returning to Ayum Creek in Sooke. Protecting 14 acres of land around Ayum Creek in 1998 was one of the first major accomplishments HAT shared with the community thanks to the collaborative efforts of The Land Conservancy, the Society to Protect Ayum Creek, Capital Regional District, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Today HAT carries on its role in collaborative conservation, working to restore habitat surrounding the salmon-bearing creek, estuary, and forest at Ayum as co-covenant holder for land along the creek.

This October, HAT is hosting a two-day riparian restoration initiative alongside the Greater Victoria Green Team and more than 33 volunteers. As anyone who has embarked on an invasive plant removal groupphotomission knows well, it is challenging work, but the results are gratifying. This is an opportunity for new comers and long-time visitors to enjoy the beautiful sights, smells and sounds of Ayum Creek and fight back the encroaching Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus), Daphne laureola, and English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) that threaten the natural area.

The second half will be held Oct 22nd from 10 am – 2, and participants are welcome to join (RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). These restoration events are supported by funders and partners Greater Victoria Green Team, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, TD Friends of Environment Foundation, Pacific Salmon Foundation, and Environment Canada’s EcoAction Program.

Ayum and its estuary are indeed a wonderful spot for birding with species like Purple Martins (Progne subis), Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), and Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) waiting in the wings. In later October to November, it is also a spot where you can witness the salmon run, with adult salmon displaying those vivid sunset hues while American Dippers (Cinclus mexicanus) wait to snap up an orange pearl of egg in their beaks. More than 80 different types of bird have been spotted in this ecological rich area. Ayum Creek also boasts over 107 native plants, including two rare species. For those that paddle, you can get another great perspective by launching from Cooper’s Cove and working your way there by water.

Many places in Sooke are touched by a history of logging activity, and Ayum Creek is no different. The site was historically a prosperous salmon run and Olympia Oyster (Ostrea lurida) habitat, but in the 20th century the landscape was significantly altered with the coming and going of a lumber mill, concreteplant, wood treatment plant, and more recently a bridge for car traffic, as well as heavy water withdrawal from wells. Low water levels have been a concern at the creek in recent years, and careful water use in the surrounding watershed can help alleviate this strain. From 1998-2001 stream restoration took place to introduce large woody debris and boulders to enhance the habitat for salmon. Reintroducing logs to the creek provides places for young salmon and trout to hide from predators, gives aquatic insects something to attach to, and stabilizes the banks.


Read more: Returning to Ayum Creek: A Natural History

Tickets to HAT 20th Birthday Nature Fundraiser Sold Out!

Gala prints for blog

Wow! Thanks to the overwhelming support of community members, tickets to the Nov 8th 20th Birthday Nature Fundraiser are SOLD OUT

For those of you that couldn't make it, but would still like to be a part of the celebrations, this year we are hosting an online portion to the auction. There will even be some online exclusive auction items, so that those at the party don't have all the fun. 

Starting Oct 25th HAT's 20th Birthday Nature Fundraiser Online Auction Goes Live

Don't forget to put Oct 25th in your calendar, to take part in the celebrations and show your support for nature in our region. 

Visit today for a sneak peak at what's up for bid.

For those of you that like to make meaningful gifts for the holiday season and beat the rush too, this is the perfect opportunity. Also a great chance to treat yourself, while making a positive impact for the wildlife and natural spaces you care for.

We are so pleased to be able to celebrate 20 years of conservation with you. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to kickstart the future of conservation locally. Please share our open invitation to take part in the online auction with anyone you know that might enjoy taking part.

When asked about what he saw as the driving force and a source of pride in HAT over the years former HAT Executive Director Adam Taylor shared,

"I am always impressed at the community we live in, the way it has come together. I felt nothing but support during my time with HAT, and am immensely proud of the community that has allowed HAT to be what we are."


Read more: Tickets to HAT 20th Birthday Nature Fundraiser Sold Out!

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