Thu, 29 Aug 2019

Our NEW Stewardship Grants Webpage has officially launched!

HCTF encourages environmental stewardship proposals that focus on creating stewards. To assist Stewardship applicants in developing their funding proposals, HCTF has made a number of changes to our website and supporting guidelines. The new Stewardship webpage includes specific information and guidance for proponents interested in developing a stewardship application. Although the application form for Stewardship grants is still the same as that used for the Enhancement and Restoration grants, we encourage proponents to review the new webpage content and download our updated Stewardship Proposal Writing Guidelines to help craft your proposal.

Note that the 2020-21 application deadline to apply for Enhancement & Restoration and Stewardship grants is Friday, November 1, 2019. The HCTF Online application portal will open in mid-September. Updated worksheets are available now under the “Apply” tab of each of these grant types if you would like to start drafting your application.

Wed, 28 Aug 2019
Tags: Wildlife

HCTF staff members at the Haley Lake Ecological Reserve

HCTF Staff Members (from left: Karen Barry, Christina Waddle, Sarah Sproull, and Jade Neilson) posing at the top of the bowl of the Haley Lake Ecological Reserve.

This summer, HCTF staff members were invited to join a team of researchers from the Marmot Recovery Foundation at the Haley Lake Ecological Reserve in the Nanaimo Lakes District to observe Vancouver Island marmots (Marmota vancouverensis). The staff members were treated with good weather, great scenery, and many marmot sightings. Marmots Alan and Towhee put on quite the show by sun tanning on rocks, chasing each other, and even touching noses!

Marmot Recovery Foundation Executive Director Adam Taylor and Acting Field Coordinator Mike Lester guided the HCTF group across the steep terrain of the Haley bowl to locate the marmots through the use of telemetry and binocular glassing. Throughout the excursion, the staff learned about the physiological and ecological requirements to sustain the marmot population plus predation risks and other threats that marmots face. The Marmot Recovery Foundation is collecting important information to help us better understand these endangered mammals, but there is still a lot to learn.

With only an estimated 200 marmots remaining in the wild, the Vancouver Island Marmot is currently listed as Endangered under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA) and by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species (COSEWIC). They are one of the rarest mammals in the world.

Although work at the Haley Lake site is not directly funded by HCTF, the staff were able to see first-hand the various field methods used by the Marmot Recovery Foundation at more remote sites on the Island. HCTF has funded a multi-year program to assist the Marmot Recovery Foundation with their work in Strathcona Park. The grant has enabled the team to work towards restoring a self-sustaining population of marmots through the use of translocations, food enhancement, monitoring and potentially habitat restoration. Another important aspect of their program is engaging the public and encouraging people to report marmot sightings. If you see a marmot while in the backcountry, you can submit your observations to or 1-877-4MARMOT (1-877-462-7668). To learn more about the Vancouver Island Marmot and how to help, visit their website at

Marmot Alan* sun tanning on a rock. Photo Credit: Adam Taylor

*On August 15, we were saddened to learn about the passing of Alan. Alan was described to be quite the adventurous and nomadic marmot! To learn more about Alan and his incredible peripatetic life, please visit the Marmot Recovery Foundation blog.

Tue, 20 Aug 2019

Grants Support Bat Conservation, Education, and Fight Against White-nose Syndrome

This spotted bat’s wing is being swabbed to look for bacteria that naturally prevent growth of Pd, the fungus that causes WNS. Photo: Jared Hobbs

Organizations working to protect BC’s threatened bat species just got a boost — over $185,000 in grants to monitor bat populations, encourage public participation in bat conservation and support research into a promising new probiotic that could prevent white-nose syndrome.

The grants are part of a multi-million dollar investment by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) and Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) into wildlife conservation projects happening this year.

The “Got Bats?” project is a BC-wide network increasing bat conservation through community involvement. Implemented by the BC Conservation Foundation, “Got Bats?” encourages public participation in annual bat counts that promote bat stewardship while collecting valuable information on bat population numbers. Other activities include promoting bat-friendly communities, working with landowners to preserve colonies, building bat houses, and providing information on bats through presentations at schools and community events.

Mandy Kellner, coordinator of the “Got Bats?” program, says support from HCTF and other funders has allowed the program to respond to record numbers of enquiries about bats via email ( and their toll-free information line (1-855-922-2287). “We want to make sure British Columbians have a resource where they can get accurate information about bats,” says Kellner. “Bats are an essential part of the ecosystem, eating insects and controlling agricultural and forest pests, but misinformation and fear can really have a negative impact on efforts to protect existing colonies.” Kellner says the program’s community outreach and citizen science initiatives are also important in the fight against another serious threat to bats, white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S and Canada since 2006 and was found in Washington State in 2016. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada, is leading two HCTF-funded projects so B.C. is ready if the disease is found here. “Bat species in the west are hard to monitor because they hibernate in small numbers in trees and rock crevices, and occasionally in buildings,” she says. “Through these projects, we have great baseline data so we will know when white-nose syndrome arrives, and have developed a probiotic and applicator so we can help the bats survive if it does. It’s a race against the clock, involving cutting-edge work where we continue to learn something new every day.”


Cori Lausen glues a transmitter onto a bat in fall which will help locate roosts as well as provide valuable information about hibernation behaviours and physiology, needed to understand how white-nose syndrome may impact bats in BC.Read more about the bat probiotic project: Seeking ways to protect western bats from deadly white-nose syndrome

See CBC’s recent story on the bat probiotics project: Fighting a bat killer: B.C. scientists testing new way to protect against deadly fungus

This spotted bat’s wing is being swabbed to look for bacteria that naturally prevent growth of Pd, the fungus that causes WNS. Photo: Jared Hobbs


Download larger version of image

Caption: This spotted bat’s wing is being swabbed to look for bacteria that naturally prevent growth of Pd, the fungus that causes WNS. Photo: Jared Hobbs




Project Contacts

Got Bats? Program:

Mandy Kellner, Provincial Coordinator

BC Community Bat Program


White Nose Syndrome Study

Cori Lausen, Associate Research Scientist

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada


HCTF Contact

Shannon West

Manager, Program Development, HCTF





Quick Facts:


  • The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) began as an initiative of BC anglers, hunters, trappers and guide outfitters.
  • Since 1981, HCTF has provided over $180 million in grants for more than 2600 conservation projects across BC. This year, a total of $9 million has been awarded for conservation projects in all regions of the province.
  • The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provides funding for wildlife conservation projects through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s granting process. Find out more about FESBC at
  • You can find a complete list of HCTF-funded projects on the Foundation’s website at
Wed, 31 Jul 2019

HCTF Photo Contest Now Open!

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation photo contest is back! If you’ve captured a fantastic image of British Columbia’s wildlife, fish, landscapes or people participating in activities that connect them to nature, you could enter to win a VISA gift card.

Categories and Prizes:

  • BC Wildlife or Freshwater Fish (excluding marine animals and those in captivity) Prize: $400.00 CAD VISA gift card
  • BC Landscape (lakes, rivers, wetlands, mountains, forests, etc.) Prize: $300.00 CAD Visa gift card
  • People in Nature (people engaging in activities that connect them with BC’s fish, wildlife and habitats) Prize: $300.00 CAD Visa gift card

The winning entries will be selected by a panel established by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). Each photo shall be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. The top entries in each category will be featured on our website and social media platforms. Please note that entries may be used by HCTF to communicate about the contest, the Foundation and conservation in BC, both during and after the contest period.

An individual may enter up to five photos in each category. Photos must have been taken in the province of British Columbia to be eligible.


Entries must be received by 4:30pm PST on September 30th, 2019.

How to Enter:

After reading the official contest rules and regulations, please use the following form to submit your photo.


Mon, 29 Jul 2019

Nature Clubs Program Connects BC Families with the Outdoors

Learning about BC wildlife with nature mentor Jo Style. Photo credit H. Datoo.

More BC families will get outdoors to explore, learn and take action for nature, thanks to a $37,977 grant to NatureKids BC’s Nature Clubs program. The program’s network of more than 25 volunteer-led nature clubs encourages kids and their families to learn about BC’s wildlife, plants and wild spaces by connecting with the outdoors.

Sarah Lockman, Executive Director of NatureKids BC, says that strengthening the connection between people and the outdoors is more important than ever, as increasing numbers of British Columbians live in urban environments. Over the next year, more than 1,500 BC youth and their families will participate in over 2,500 outdoor adventures and projects through the Nature Clubs program. Activities include maintaining nest boxes, creating interpretive signage, bird counts and other citizen science projects.

The grant to support the Nature Clubs program was one of 170 provided by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) this year for BC conservation projects.

“HCTF has been a core funder of NatureKids BC for more than 10 years and we are privileged to have them as a partner,” said Lockman. “Relationships like these are critical to creating the next generation of nature lovers and environmental stewards and to ensuring that families are supported to get in touch with nature in their own backyards.”

HCTF Chair Dr. Winifred Kessler agrees. “Getting youth involved in conservation helps them build a lifelong connection to nature and feel that they can make a difference,” said Dr. Kessler. “We fund Nature Clubs and other environmental education projects because we know how important it is to create stewards – people who understand, value and help conserve biodiversity in BC.”

NatureKids BC also publishes NatureWILD, a quarterly magazine for families and elementary school students. This year they have also launched a Citizen Science project focused on bat education and advocacy. For more information, or to find a Nature Club near you, visit


Bird banding. Photo credit: C. McQuillan


HCTF Contact:
Shannon West
Manager, Program Development
250 940-9789


NatureKids BC Contact:
Sarah Lockman
Executive Director, NatureKids BC
604 985-3059

Quick Facts:

  • The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) began as an initiative of BC anglers, hunters, trappers and guide outfitters.
  • Since 1981, HCTF has provided over $180 million in grants for more than 2600 conservation projects across BC. This year, a total of $9 million has been awarded for projects in all regions of the province. You can find a complete list of HCTF-funded projects at
  • Since 2000, more than 20,000 BC children aged 5-12 have participated in NatureKids BC Explorer Days and enjoyed NatureWILD magazine and other programs
Mon, 22 Jul 2019

Career Opportunity – HCTF Communications Officer

HCTF is now recruiting for the position of Communications Officer. We are looking for an experienced communications professional who is responsible, self-directed and has a positive approach towards their work and colleagues. This is a fantastic opportunity to use your communications skills to help conserve British Columbia’s fish, wildlife and habitats. For more information on this full-time position located in Victoria, BC, visit our Careers webpage.