Christmas Bird Counts Start This Saturday

‘Tis the season for the Christmas Bird Count! Find a Christmas Bird Count near you and participate in the longest-running citizen science survey in the world. Started by the Audobon Society on Christmas Day in 1900, this early winter bird census involves thousands of volunteers across the Western Hemisphere counting birds in designated areas over a 24 hour period. The counts are held on specific days between December 14 th and January 5 th . Anyone can participate (it’s free!) but you must make arrangements in advance with the person designated as circle compiler. You can get the contact details for the circle compiler in your area by visiting the website of HCTF grant recipient Bird Studies Canada .

News Coverage of Delta Farmlands Project

Global News BC ran the following story on HCTF Project #2-349, the Provision of Waterfowl & Raptor Habitat within Managed Grasslands on Lower Fraser River Farmland. The Foundation has contributed over $150,000 to this project, which encourages farmers to plant their fields with winter cover crops and create grassland set-asides. These programs are designed to simultaneously benefit farmers and wildlife by improving soil conditions while creating habitat.  Winter cover crops provide a valuable food source for migratory birds, and grassland-set asides support small mammal populations and create raptor hunting grounds. Earlier this year, HCTF did an evaluation of this project, which you can read about  here . You can find out more about the Winter Crop Cover and Grassland Set-asides programs by visiting the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust website .    

New Journals Page

We’ve added a page to our website featuring some of the HCTF projects that have made their way into peer-reviewed journals. We know there are more out there, so if you are an HCTF proponent who has published the results of their project, please send us a link and we’ll add it to the list. Looking for more information about Foundation projects? The Ministry of Environment provides free public access to EcoCat , their Ecological Reports Catalogue. You can search for Foundation projects by entering “Habitat Conservation Trust” into the keywords field of the search page , and then selecting the “Search for Exact Phrase” option. Happy hunting!

Good, Clean Dirt

UVic student Nathalie Vogel submitted the following narrative about PCAF Project 976, the Restoration of Robin Lane. HCTF contributed over $5000 to this project, which involved more than twenty volunteers removing invasives and restoring native plants to a former Garry Oak site in Saanich, BC. Thank you, Nathalie, for sharing your story.   What do you get when you combine sunshine, fresh lemongrass tea, Salal, Oregon grape, some restoration veterans and the smell of earth in your nostrils? A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon spent at Robin Lane, sharing in ecological restoration, and bodily rejuvenation. Fellow classmate and restoration rookie Jenna and I had the pleasure of sharing an afternoon with two ladies who know this business like the dirt under their nails. Sylvia Samborski and Louise Goulet have been working with plants for decades – both through their careers as naturalists and biologist/teachers and now through their hobbies of gardening, restoration and the continued desire to learn.  The fortune was truly ours that afternoon as the women passed along words of wisdom and knowledge about plants and life – the line sometimes blurring between the two. Robin Lane, our Eden of escape on that brisk January afternoon, is a piece of...
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Okanagan-Shuswap Schools Use HCTF Funding to Connect Students with the Outdoors

Thanks to Alice Hucul of the North Okanagan-Shuswap District for sending us the following story about how local schools are planning to use their CEAF and PCAF grants to support hands-on environmental learning. This fall, four schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap District were successful in earning grants from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. M.V. Beattie, South Broadview, Carlin Elementary Middle School and Eagle River Secondary School had their proposals approved for funding. M.V. Beattie's program received a Public Conservation Assistance Fund (PCAF) grant while the other three received funding from the Conservation Education Assistance Fund (CEAF). The grants are being used by the schools for different activities but have one common theme - all will help expand the classroom to include outdoor learning for students! At M.V. Beattie, the $3,200 PCAF grant is helping change a wet "problem area" on the school grounds into a replica of Shuswap River, and will become a place where students can study wetlands. Retired principal and outdoor activist Kim Fulton (aka Dr. Fish) has been helping M.V. Beattie with this project. He explains wetlands are one of the most threatened, undervalued, and misunderstood ecosystems in B.C. By re-creating a wetland system on the playground,...
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