Bat Citizen Science
BATS ARE IMPORTANT
Come nightfall, one of British Columbia’s most important predators wakes up and takes flight. Bats hunt insects and in doing so, become superheroes. Bats save forests, agricultural crops, orchards, and people from insect pests. The organic pest control that bats provide is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually to the North American economy.
There are at least 15 species of bats in BC . Many of them are among the most common wildlife in our communities, but being nocturnal and secretive, are hardly ever seen.
BATS ARE IN TROUBLE
Most bats give birth to just one pup per year, and only about half of those young make it through their first winter. This slow reproductive rate means they are vulnerable to habitat loss, predation to cats, collisions with wind turbines and vehicles, as well as entrapment and extermination. Most recently, white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that was introduced to North America, has been killing millions of bats in eastern North America. Scientists are on the lookout for this disease in BC. The Little Brown Myotis and the Northern Myotis are now listed as Endangered in Canada.
BATS NEED OUR HELP
For the next two years, we are inviting families, clubs and schools to learn about and get involved with bat citizen science through four different bat-themed Explorer Days. The different bat themes engage kids in different levels and Leaders can choose to do one or all of them.
The Bat Explorer Days are:
- Be a Bat Buddy – Meet the bats
- Be a Bat Detective – Do a bat count
- Be a Bat Bestie – Take environmental stewardship action
- Be a Bat Champion – Help raise awareness about bats
Citizen science is a great hands-on learning tool to get children and youth involved in real science. In June, July and August, youth can get involved with evening bat counts and submit data that will help scientists to monitor bat populations. Youth also learn new things about the nocturnal world around them. At other times of the year, youth can be involved with the stewardship component by learning how to improve important bat habitat. Youth can also be empowered to help bats by raising awareness and telling others about the importance of bats.
RUN A BAT THEMED EXPLORER DAY – DOWNLOAD RESOURCES TO GET STARTED
To make it easy for you to get involved with this project, we have created some tools and resources:
- Introduction to bat citizen science project
- Bat ID cards
- Bat Safety – Community Bat Projects of BC
- Bat Buddy Explorer Day – Meet the bats (bat themed activities and games)
- Bat Detective Explorer Day – Bat count instructions & Bat count data sheet (bat counts occur in June, July, and August at bat maternity roosts)
- Bat Bestie Explorer Day – Bat habitat stewardship (coming soon!)
- Bat Champion Explorer Day – Activities for Bat Week in October
- Webinar recording (learn how to lead bat themed Explorer Days)
- NatureWILD Magazine articles “The Bats of BC” and “Echolocation“
- Folkmanis Bat Puppet – order online
- Homes for Bats – Guide for Bat Houses in BC
NatureKids BC will be running Bat Explorer Days through our family clubs across BC but you are also welcome to create your own event with your friends, family, or class.
We welcome questions and suggestions for improving this program. Please contact us at email@example.com. We’d also love to hear about your experience with this bat citizen science program on social media – please tag us! Click here to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
We are very grateful to our supporters: