AVA, Mo. (December 19, 2017) – Thanks to the Boy Scouts and Forest Service, there are several bats that may be surviving the winter in newly built bat houses. In celebration of Bat Week (held each year in the last week of October), employees from the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District met with Boy Scout Troop #68, to share information about Missouri native bats, other bats around the world, and the positive impact bats have on our lives. The Scouts took these lessons to heart and built bat houses to increase potential habitat for the animals. Bats surviving white-nose syndrome need all the help they can get to raise their young and help rebuild populations; and through this Forest Service led educational event, Boy Scout Troop #68 did their part to support these furry flyers.
The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts were ecstatic when recalling interactions with bats and describing their past bat sightings. “They loved sharing their fun ‘close encounters’ with bats—whether seen on camping trips or outdoors at home,” said Unit Leader Sarah Baker.
The troop learned why bats are crucial to their supplies of food and in the suppression of pests such as mosquitos. Bats play a key agricultural role, by spreading seeds and providing pest control, for many food-producing plants. This includes avocados, bananas, chocolate and nuts. To regain energy while learning and building, the Scouts were able to enjoy some of these foods as well! What better way to learn about bats then eat the food they help bring to our tables? Another activity enjoyed by all was making origami bats while talking about the way bats fly and communicate.
The Scouts took great pride in building the bat houses after gaining so much appreciation for the future inhabitants. Sarah Baker commented, “Using tools to create something that will benefit nature made that Scout night a big hit.” The homes they built have been mounted onto trees and posts for bats to roost. The troop had a great night together eating, crafting, and building homes for these wonderful creatures.