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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Bats and Conservation Education Programs

Photo of Middle school youth build bat boxes to install throughout school property to increase awareness on bat conservation. USDA Forest ServiceMiddle school youth build bat boxes to install throughout school property to increase awareness on bat conservation. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Bats provide an important ecosystem services: They are voracious eaters of insects and can eat their body weight in insects every night. Unfortunately, many cave dwelling bat populations in the East and Midwest are declining drastically due to the expansion of white-nose syndrome across the United States. To increase bat awareness among youth, a Forest Service scientists worked with local teachers to give live bat demonstrations, presentations, and instruction on building bat houses through collaborations with local businesses. Students learned how to install houses to maximize use by bats.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Donner, Deahn 
Research Location : Rhinelander
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 878

Summary

Bats provide important ecosystem services. Voracious eaters of insects, bats can eat their body weight in insects every night. Unfortunately, many cave-dwelling bat populations in the East and Midwest are declining drastically due to the expansion of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease infecting hibernating bats. Infected bats awaken during hibernation and become more active when they should be resting, which requires more energy and water during winter, and risk death. Forest Servcie scientists and wildlife biologists worked with local teachers to help students in grades 5 through 8 learn why bats are important, why bats need our help, and what they can do to help. During Bat Awareness Week, students participated in presentations on bat life history and conservation issues, including live demonstrations. The students constructed and installed a dozen bat houses. Support from and collaboration with a local lumber company, the local school district, and Forest Service environmental literacy program made the bat conservation education program possible.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
  • Rhinelander School District WI

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
Areas