Are you a Good Neighbour to Nature? HAT helps you find ways to meet your land use needs while protecting some of Canada's rarest habitats. Whether you want a place for the kids to play soccer, an attractive yard, or a vegetable garden, HAT can help you succeed while preventing harm to waterways or woodlands. Homeowners often have many questions about limited sources of quality information on topics like gardening, tree care, pets outside, and invasive species (like bullfrogs).
Each year, HAT focuses outreach services on a different region of Greater Victoria. This past year, we reached out to residents of our urban areas to help them care for trees and restore the urban forest. In the upcoming 2016 season, we are focusing our efforts on Ayum and Veitch Creek.
Learn more about this year's Good Neighbours Project in Sooke, helping landowners become Good Neighbours - stewards of the habitat on their land.
What are Habitat Stewards?
Habitat Stewards are residents who pledge, in writing, to care for natural habitats on their land. This might mean removing invasive species, not using pesticides, or switching to organic fertilizers. Each property is different, and a visit from our Stewardship staff can tell you what steps you need to take, or congraduate you for the outstanding work you have already done!
In 2013, Our Conservation Intern Paige signed up community leader Michael Simmons as a Habitat Steward for his conservation work in the community and on his shoreline property in Brentwood Bay. He works to create habitat on his land with features like bird and bat boxes, as well as landscaping with native plants.
How can I become a Habitat Steward?
Contact us to request a free land care package with resources on native plant gardening, tree care, composting, invasive species and more. You can also request a home visit from one of HAT's Stewardship staff, who will walk your property with you and give you personalized land care advice.
Qualified Landowners can also receive:
- Site Visit & Stewardship Plan on topics like native plant gardening, wildlife habitat enhancement, soil erosion, pests, water quality, composting, and invasive species.
- Invasive Species Removal from our hardworking summer interns to remove invasive plants safely and effectively
- Native Plantings you may be eligible for free native plants – and installation – to qualified landowners
- Guidance and Recognition to longer term residents already pursuing stewardship goals
How it works:
HAT staff will conduct a land care visit. Here, we take note of your hopes, needs, questions and concerns as well as provide our own understandings.
HAT staff will develop a land care prescription, which outlines what would have been discussed during the visit. The prescription provides you with both our own recommendations as well as a multitude of resources that will help guide you further on land care.
Commit to a Stewardship Agreement of the following goal areas:
- Use of efficient irrigation and naturescaping with native plants,
- Eliminate use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers,
- Remove invasive plants (like broom and daphne),
- Keep oil and other toxics out of storm drains,
- Maintain soil by mulching leaves,
- Plant and protect buffers along water edges.
We understand that land care is a process and, not all of our suggestions can be implemented immediately. However, following our visit, we will be in touch again to follow up on the successes and progress. Once you have taken the needed steps towards Habitat Stewardship, we will provide you with a Habitat Steward sign for your property to celebrate the achievement.
- Continue to be a steward on your land!