OK, Maybe Bats Aren’t The Most Popular Animal This Year
Bats have not enjoyed good public relations, despite being the second most populous group of mammals. (Don’t ask who’s #1)*.
Despite accusations of being responsible for vampires and coronaviruses, bats are amazing. Did you know natural bat pest control saves the corn industry about a billion dollars every year? And did you know humans are destroying bat habitats in our outdoor spaces?
Three Rivers Land Trust is a conservation nonprofit protecting natural areas in North Carolina. “Local bat populations need our help to restore their lost habitat. We need to teach people about the importance of the conservation of bats. The future of our diverse ecosystems and healthy farms depend on it,” says Steely Russell of the Three Rivers Land Trust’s Leopold Society.
Their awesome project is Building Bridges With Bat Boxes, with student volunteers installing handmade bat houses on conserved lands during an outdoor education day. They’ll learn about bats in the places where bats live, while they observe other wildlife, and do some hiking as they get to feel at home in wild spaces.
Our Awesome Without Borders grant will fund the materials to build bat boxes and if there’s money left, to help with expenses on classroom projects. Anyone remember when Oprah and Gayle went camping because Black people tend to not engage in outdoor recreation as much as white people do? Well, it’s still an overwhelmingly white space. A national forest near the Three Rivers area reported 97% of its visitors were white. About 35% of the area’s population are people of color. The Leopold Society works with schools to get outdoor educational programming built into class time.
It might be the only chance some kids have to learn about their opportunities for outdoor recreation. We think it’s awesome that the Society is going to bat for those kids.