Homes for Bats on Campus
Did you know that there are bats in Oregon? Did you know that there are bats here on the LC campus? If you were wondering what the black boxes mounted on wood poles around campus were for, then wonder no more. They are bat houses built by Facilities to encourage bat populations to roost here.
This project was put together by Amanda Wilson, a groundskeeper here at LC. Last summer in the early hours of dawn she noticed bats flying near the McAfee and Facilities buildings and was inspired to do something to help them. “As Lewis & Clark moves toward more conservation and sustainability it seemed only natural to include bats in the repertoire,” says Amanda. “We are already on the Sierra Club’s list, several Green Power lists and Salmon Safe so why not make our environment bat-friendly as well?”
Bats are often misunderstood because of fears and superstitions but they are a vital part of the ecosystem. They eat insects (some of which are garden pests) and pollinate plants. They do not attack people, nor do they turn into vampires. (Only 3 kinds of bats, which live solely in Latin America, actually feed on animal blood). In the Pacific Northwest, there are 15 species classified as threatened. Worldwide, over 40% of the 1200+ species are suffering some type of danger, either human or environmental.
As the months get warmer bats will come out of their hibernation in the nearby forest or buildings. “I am hoping that the placement of the bat houses at the undergrad campus will encourage them to move in,” says Amanda. Bats roost during the day and come out at dusk to hunt for food. If you see the houses, please do not tamper with them or stand too close. If you’d like to observe them when they leave for the feeding time in the evening do so from a respectful distance of at least 40 feet since bats need a lot of room to maneuver in and out of the roosts.