By Aviva Yasgur, Woodlands Nature Station Naturalist
Bats face many challenges these days — from habitat loss to a lethal disease called “White-nose Syndrome.” Join us as we become involved in a promising new effort to help them.
Join us in the first annual
National Bat Week
October 26-November 1
People around the country will be celebrating bats, learning about bats, teaching others about the importance of bats, and participating in bat events and programs. And you can be a part of it all.
The Organization for Bat Conservation (http://www.batconservation.org/) initiated this big bat bonanza. If you visited us for the Cool and Crawly Critters Day at the Woodlands Nature Station this past summer, you probably saw their awesome live bats including this “Flying Fox” bat.
Bat from 2014 Cool and Crawly Critters Day
Photographer: Melodie Swope
Bats eat more mosquitoes than any other animal in our ecosystem. They are our #1 predator of night-flying insects of all kinds. Just one single bat can eat several thousand mosquitoes in a single night! Imagine how many mosquitoes a colony of 100 bats eats in a week!
Boy Scouts erect new bat boxes
You’ll find bat boxes throughout Land Between The Lakes as a natural control for our mosquito populations. Many of our bat boxes were built by Boy Scouts.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, these important creatures are facing their toughest challenge in hundreds of years with the devastating new disease White-nose Syndrome. First detected on the East Coast, this illness has rapidly spread across the United States. It has killed close to 90% of the populations of some types of bats as it travels through habitats. Our bats at the Nature Station have been affected. See the article by our lead naturalist, John Pollpeter, at https://landbetweenthelakes.us/bats-trouble/.
That’s why, now more than ever, it is so important for us to
- Learn about,
- Celebrate, and
- Take action to help these valuable creatures.
Here’s how you can do your part:
Check out these great resources for learning more about bats:
- Follow “Save the Bats,” a new national campaign which launches as part of National Bat Week. Follow the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/savebats or visit savebats.org
- Watch Battle for the Bats, an excellent 14-minute long video about bats and their struggle with white-nose syndrome. Watch the video at: http://vimeo.com/76705033
- Visit BatsLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure. You’ll find lots of information and resources about bats including videos, webcasts, lesson plans, and more. Check it out at http://batslive.pwnet.org/
Take action to help bats with some of these ideas:
- Use social media to tell others about the importance of bats. You can use the photos posted on the Save the Bats Facebook page – they are there for promotional use. Post and tweet using the hashtag #SavetheBats.
- Help give bats good shelter in your neighborhood by building and putting up bat roosting boxes. Here are links to some recommended plans:
- Join conservation organizations that are working to help bats:
- Organization for Bat Conservation: batconservation.org
- Bat Conservation International: batcon.org
- Link to the Facebook event page http://on.fb.me/1ngg1hm to publicize Bat Week
Nature Station Bat Box
Photographer: Darrin Samborski
Take part in a bat-related event or activity near you:
- Enter the Get to Know Society’s bat art contest. Young people ages 19 and below can enter bat-related art, photography, writing, music, or video to this free contest. More information at get-to-know.org
- Attend the Nashville Zoo’s weekly bat feedings, on Wednesdays from 9:45-10:00am. Find more information at http://www.nashvillezoo.org/
- Bring the kids to the Nature Station’s Howl-O-Ween event on Saturday, October 25 and meet costumed animal friends like Betty the Bat: https://landbetweenthelakes.us/calendar/20th-annual-howl-o-ween/
- Attend the Nature Station’s “Vampire Diaries” program on Sunday, October 26 to learn the truth about vampire bats and more: https://landbetweenthelakes.us/calendar/monster-month-programs/2014-10-26/
- Make Save the Bats pumpkin carvings and post your photos on the Save the Bats Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/savebats using the hashtag #savethebats
We hope to see you soon at the Nature Station — and remember to help us…