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 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.


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

Ben van Drimmelen Board Biography

Ben van drimmelen headshot smallBen van Drimmelen; BSF, LLB

Retired, Biologist and Barrister

Ben worked as a wildlife biologist, habitat biologist and natural resources lawyer for the BC government and for the independent Forest Practices Board. He has been on boards with the Land Trust Alliance of BC, the Victoria Natural History Society and the Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society.


Read more: Ben van Drimmelen Board Biography

Jennifer Eliason Board Biography

Jen Eliason headshot smallJennifer Eliason;

Islands Trust Fund Manager, Previously Habitat Acquisition Trust Executive Director

Jennifer Eliason has been involved with Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) since 2002, when she was hired for the Good Neighbours Program. After working in a few different roles at HAT, including Executive Director, Jennifer moved over to the manager role at the Islands Trust Fund. As a Board Member, Jennifer is thrilled to see the progress that HAT has made as an organization, and loves seeing evidence of HAT’s hope-filled work throughout her community. Jennifer is passionate about native plants, coastal ecosystems, and collaborating for conservation.


Read more: Jennifer Eliason Board Biography

What's the Buzz? Pollinator Expert Headlines at Local Conservation Gathering

bee and nootka roseThursday, Jan 26th, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (505 Quayle Rd.) will host Habitat Acquisition Trust’s Annual General Meeting and Social at their lovely Pavilion.

Habitat Acquisition Trust offers a warm welcome to anyone in the community, and encourages attendees to invite friends, family, and neighbours. Though membership is required to vote at the meeting, all are welcome and attendance is free including bites to eat, as well as refreshments sponsored by Whole Foods Market Victoria. Arrive early to secure you seat, as the Pavilion may fill up fast! We're kicking off with a half hour of socializing with everyone from biologists to outdoors enthusiasts, this is an excellent chance to network with the natural history and conservation community.

Special guest speaker Lora Morandin, Ph. D. of Pollinator Partnership Canada, will share a talk on native pollinators. Bringing her experience from the publication of over 20 peer-reviewed articles on pollinators and sustainable agriculture, Dr. Morandin will provide insight into the natural history of local pollinators, threats faced by bees and other species, and the helpful role that individuals can play in enhancing pollinator habitat in their own backyards.

"Local initiatives can add up to large benefits for pollinators, and Pollinator Partnership Canada is excited to be working with Habitat Acquisition Trust to help maintain and enhance pollinator populations on Vancouver Island” – Dr. Morandin

With concerns about declines and the endangered species listings of bees making international headlines, many are wondering what they can do to support pollinators locally. This event is sure to answer those buzzing questions and provide positive motivation for the New Year.

“Pollinators are responsible for about 1/3 of the food we eat, and are needed to pollinate wild flowers and sustain ecosystems. There are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide, of which the managed European honey bee is just one. But, some bee and other pollinator populations are declining, most likely due to habitat loss, diseases, invasive species, climate change, and insecticide use. Creating habitat for bees and other pollinators, from small urban gardens to large conservation areas, is an important action that can provide much needed floral and nesting resources,” explains Dr. Morandin.


Read more: What's the Buzz? Pollinator Expert Headlines at Local Conservation Gathering

Last chance!

give and receive Have you made your 2016 tax-deductible charitable donation?

Donate by December 31st to receive a charitable tax receipt on your 2016 return.

It's not too late! Please mark your calendar and schedule time to make your yearend donations. We accomplished so much in 2016 and with your help can do even more in 2017.

For many Canadians, it’s by leveraging these tax benefits that they can give more generously to preserve our natural heritage. It makes them feel good and with their larger gift, it enables the charities they support to do more. Now, that’s a good thing for everyone from Western Screech Owls families to our local communities!

Haven't claimed a tax-receiptable donation in the last 5 year? Haven't made a donation yet?

Take advantage of the First-time Donor's Super Credit. 

The First Time Donor’s Super Credit offers you an over-and-above 25% one-time tax credit on your charitable gifts up to $1,000. It’s available to any Canadian who is new to charitable giving or has not claimed a charitable donation in the last five years.

Together we can do more for nature, for our futures.

first time


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