Wanted: Bat champions for Oct. 29 webcast to help celebrate National Bat Week Oct. 26-Nov. 1

Cynthia M. Sandeno
Eastern Region, U.S. Forest Service
October 27th, 2014 at 4:15PM

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Set superstitions aside. You’ll find that we need bats, and bats need us – now more than ever.

Bats occupy almost every habitat in the world. They devour tons of insects nightly, pollinate flowers, and spread seeds that grow new plants and trees. They are our most important natural predators of night-flying insects, consuming mosquitoes, moths, beetles, crickets, leafhoppers and chinch bugs, among others. Many of these insects are serious crop or forests pests, while others spread disease to humans or livestock. Every year, bats save us billions of dollars in pest control by simply eating insects.

Yet, bats are in decline nearly everywhere they are found. Bat numbers in the U.S. and Canada have declined dramatically as a new disease, White-Nose Syndrome, has killed more than 6 million bats in just six years. Learn more about this devastating disease by watching the Forest Service video, Battle for Bats. Bats have never needed friends more so please consider lending a helping hand with the suggestions below.

A photo of Nancy Ross sharing a a bat skull with a young visitor at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. “You don’t need extraordinary powers or a lot of money to help protect bats,” said Brandon Hartleben, a Forest Service wildlife biologist for the Eastern Region. “There are many actions both great and small that can help conserve bats and the places where they live.”

While superhero costumes may abound in stores this Halloween, the Forest Service and its partners invite you to join us in celebrating bats during National Bat Week, Oct. 26-Nov. 1. After all, bats are one of the smallest heroes of all.

Here are other ways to show appreciation for and learn more about bats:

  • Project EduBat – Education Taking Flight live webcast at 2 p.m. ET Oct. 29. This free broadcast will feature activities, resources, and lesson plans to help you teach both children and adults about bats. Learn how to use newly developed bat educational trunks that will be available across the country for your use! Special appearances by live bats.
  • Enter the Get to Know bat week art contest. The Forest Service partner is hosting an online expressive arts contest for young people. Bat-inspired art, photography, writing, music or video can be entered in this free contest.
  • Visit BatsLIVE, an online learning adventure with resources for teachers, including curriculum, posters and other resources.

A photo of a young visitor with his face painted as a bat