It’s with special dedication to the two HAT Stewardship Groups that have been meeting weekly for many years at two HAT protected areas – the Matson Mattocks who have been working at the Matson Conservation Area in Esquimalt, and the Friends of Havenwood Park (FOHP) in Colwood, that Wendy Tyrrell, HAT’s Habitat Management Coordinator celebrates Day 3 of International Volunteer Week. Together these groups clock in over 1000 hours of restoring these lands each year!
During the global pandemic we have found ourselves in, the HAT stewardship volunteer groups have not only continued to dedicate time in their lives to be in these natural areas, tirelessly doing the challenging and physically hard labour of managing invasive plants on a weekly basis, but they have also been the eyes and ears on the ground and the foundation of community building. Bringing situations to our attention and telling stories of discovering new plants, wildlife and community members visiting the park.
When one finds themselves returning to the land time and time again, those small details of the plants, animals, birds beetles – they all become familiar, the sounds of the forest are specific – so much so that new sounds and visitors are immediately noticed. Perhaps without even recognizing the shift, these volunteers have become part of the landscape and are fundamental in bringing these urban and yet very sensitive ecosystems into balance through their week to week and year to year efforts and labours of love. The impact of their dedication is so difficult to define and the thank-yous become banal... but it is a priceless gift they bring. One has to be there before and after to see. However, one can enter the forests and rocky balds where these folks have immersed themselves and you will know intuitively that it is being cared for.
Highlighting Volunteer Leaders: Carol Brown (FOHP), David Pitre (FOHP) and Roger Hird (Matson Mattocks) for their excellent leadership, coordination, guidance, volunteer hours and activity tracking and management passion at Havenwood Park and the Matson Conservation Area. We would not have these vital Stewardship Groups without their amazing leadership.
(image above and right: Matson Mattock Roger Hird (left) with Habitat Manager Wendy Tyrell (middle) and volunteer John Potter (right) showing off new Matson sign)
o Roger Hird (6 years)
o Allan Reid (over 10 years)
o Peter Pinfold
o Eva Wainwright
o Robbie Newton
Friends of Havenwood Park
(image left: some of the Friends of Havenwood Park)
o Carol Brown
o David Pitre
o Judy Nault
o Lee Colwill
o Kerry Busheikin
o Robbie Newton
o Simon Bluck
o David Merner
o Bruce Brown
Special recognition Volunteers:
Margaret How, Robbie Newton, Simon Bluck, James Chapman and Rosemary Jorna.
They have been volunteering with HAT on multiple restoration events over the years and bring a dedication, kindness and humour to our stewardship family that goes unmatched!