Membership Changes coming to HAT

Membership has long been a mainstay of the HAT conservation community. HAT members are the driving force behind much of why HAT exists. Not only do they play a central role in HAT’s governance structure by participating in and voting at the Annual General Meeting (held at the end of every January), they are those folks who want to be involved in conservation in a direct way, whether that’s through showing their support at member events, or as regular participants at volunteer restoration workshops.

In July (2020), HAT is changing the benefits to becoming a member.

Changing the way members are recognized has been a long point of discussion at HAT. Surprisingly, it was the recent pandemic that finally gave us the motivation to make this a reality.

Much like HAT, COVID-19 is still impacting many of our local partners, and it has been difficult for us to interact with our communities as we normally do. Whether due to social distancing, confinement or other health concerns, many of us are trying to remain connected in the best ways we can. For that reason, HAT and some of our local partners have found a new way to support each other and cultivate a renewed community focus on conservation! 

Beginning in July, any HAT member with a valid membership card will be able to receive special benefits (that range from experiences to discounts) from a group of locally-based, locally-owned, community-focused and conservation-minded businesses in the area. These include Sea Cider Farm & Cider House, West Coast Refill, Metchosin Farm, Onyx Lion Herbs, and we are hoping to add more diverse businesses as we grow the program.

The actual benefits or perks to membership are listed on HAT’s Membership page, so please take a look! As well, this change means a bit of a change for folks who normally receive a tax receipt for their membership. In the past our membership fee was considered a donation and therefore eligible for a tax receipt. Since our new membership will offer benefits or "advantages" to its members, according to CRA law we will no longer be able to issue a tax receipt. To not leave anyone out, we are happy to offer an option for folks who are happy to forego the perks and wish to retain a tax receipt. So please take a close read of the Membership page, and email Chris (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you have any questions or concerns.

We are hoping that folks who are already members, and those who are actively considering becoming members, might support local partners as they tentatively reopen. Cross-promotion and working together will also give HAT the chance to reach folks we don’t often have the chance to interact with, allowing us to grow our conservation community and support more local conservation!

A huge Thank You to all of HAT’s members, and to our local partners. HAT is proud to work with each of you towards our shared conservation vision!


It is Pollinator Week! June 22-28 2020

Time to celebrate Pollinator Week - June 22-28 2020

International Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them. 

Thirteen years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration that has extended into Canada, promoting the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.



Read more: It is Pollinator Week! June 22-28 2020

Help us win $20,000 with the Great Canadian Giving Challenge from CanadaHelps

In so many ways COVID-19 has shown us the power of what we can accomplish by coming together, even while apart.

During this period of confinement and self-isolation many local businesses and charities have not been able to interact and engage with their communities in their usual ways, making this a difficult time to fund the activities that we rely on them to perform in our neighbourhoods and regions. This is another COVID-19 has given us to share - in the region, on the Island, in British Columbia, and across Canada.

In an effort to support charities that rely on financial support from communities, and to help ensure that so many valuable programs continue this summer, CanadaHelps is once again putting out a call to action, asking each of us that can to support registered charities, giving them the chance to work on the projects and programs we all see as valuable. We all understand how important charities are, as they are often the only organizations or groups able to implement programs that are vital to our collective wellbeing, and to community health.

For the month of June 2020, CanadaHelps has launched the 6th Annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge, inviting people from all over Canada to donate to their favorite registered charities, and to bring together the same power of community that is seeing us each do our best to come through the COVID-19 pandemic in a good way.

For the whole month of June, every dollar donated to HAT through the CanadaHelps online giving platforms gives us another chance to win $20,000. That means a great deal for conservation and habitat stewardship in Southern Vancouver Island! For charities of our size, $20,000 will ensure that our habitat stewardship, habitat management, and species at risk programs can continue through 2020.


Read more: Help us win $20,000 with the Great Canadian Giving Challenge from CanadaHelps

Hedgerows for Habitat at Lohbrunner Farm

Are you passionate about pollinators and local food?

As part of the Good Neighbours Program, we have recently launched the Hedgerows for Habitat Initiative, helping farmers create habitat for pollinators on the borders and fringes of the cultivated fields. We have partnered up with Lohbrunner Community Farm Co-op to create a habitat hedgerow corridor for our native pollinators in Langford - a quickly expanding community in need of pollinator-friendly spaces. This 60 metre (~200ft) line of native shrubs and perennial wildflowers were sourced from Saanich Native Plants Nursery. This site is in the Bilston Creek floodplain, and therefore is seasonally wet (sometimes underwater!) in the winter, so we chose plant species that are well-adapted to flooding conditions for part of the year.

This video just gives you a sneak peek into the planting process. More videos to come!

Thank you to our funders - EcoAction Community Fund and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and private donors like you. Find out how to support this and other initiatives:


This video was created by the talented filmmaker Rodrigo Inostroza - find him on Instagram as @inomonke



Read more: Hedgerows for Habitat at Lohbrunner Farm

Supporting Conservation During a Pandemic

These days, much of the news is about COVID-19 and the Coronavirus that causes it. In the weeks since the outbreak came to southern Vancouver Island, more and more media reports are now focusing on the political and social issues related to the pandemic. Some of these articles are important commentaries on the way different governments are handling (or have handled) their COVID-19 reactions while other stories are more polarized. There are also outlets reporting on how COVID-19 and Climate Change are “parallel” (UN News 28 April 2020), yet there are even fewer discussing how one is, like the image above hints, heavily linked to the other.

Unlike the image to the left, Climate Change isn’t “coming,” it is already here (LA Times, Opinion, 15 Sept 2019). Like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a process with a “curve” very much similar to the line graphs we’re getting used to seeing with the “flatten the curve” strategy (Treble, 29 April 2020) - the less we do to mitigate the human causes of a drastically changing climate, the steeper the “curve” of its effects (on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human society) will be in the short term. The relationship between Climate Change and the COVID-19 pandemic also serve as very good reasons for continuing to support conservation and environmental initiatives during the pandemic.

Climate change, biodiversity, and habitat conservation are very much linked to the ongoing pandemic, mostly in how this novel coronavirus began. According to Nicole Mortillaro, the global decline in biodiversity is putting species into contact in new ways, creating more conditions for viruses and the diseases they cause to “jump” species (Mortillaro 2020). Doubling the impact of this, habitat loss contributes to the loss of biodiversity and often puts species into contact in very drastic ways, particularly when that loss is linked to resource extraction.

While the current pandemic did not begin in southern Vancouver Island, the experience is giving us an opportunity to see certain things happen at home. We are only as resilient as the ecosystems that sustain us, and they are only as resilient as the biodiversity that they’re made up of. Within this resilience are built in layers of protection that slow or even stop the advance of everything from contagious diseases (in the case of a pandemic) (Roston 2020), to wildfires (Goldman 2016). It seems that biodiversity isn’t just how diverse the biological mass of the planet is, it’s actually something that regulates the way many things interact!


Read more: Supporting Conservation During a Pandemic

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