EAGLE SCOUT LEADS WORKSHOP, DONATES HOMES FOR BATS
By MacKenzie Hall, Private Lands Biologist
A giant “THANKS!” goes out to Josh Kravitz, a NJ Boy Scout who earns his Eagle Rank this summer for a project that will benefit the state’s bats. Josh wanted his Eagle project to help bats because he’s always been interested in wildlife conservation, and bats are in dire straits right now. Meanwhile, we at the ENSP and Conserve Wildlife Foundation get all kinds of calls through the spring and summer from people who have bats/want bats/want to get rid of bats…basically, we have a lot of opportunities to use bat houses as replacement roosts for “evicted” bats and as added roosting space for those who are more welcomed by their human landlords. We tend to go through our bat houses pretty fast and are usually in short supply.
So Josh and I decided that the end-result of his project would be a donation of bat houses to CWF for our use, as-needed. But we also wanted the public to be involved. The more people understand and appreciate bats, the less time I spend on the phone convincing people that bats don’t want to nest in their hair. And moreso, we can gradually change the paradigm of fear and misinformation that bats have suffered for so long.
Josh put himself to work getting materials donated and helpers lined up. Morrestown Hardware, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s were generous to provide donated or discounted plywood, caulk, paint, screws, screening, and other raw materials for the bat house kits. Josh and his team of kit-builders cut and painted the pieces that would later be assembled by people from the community at our April 14th workshop. The Rancocas Nature Center in Mount Holly graciously hosted us and our max-capacity group of screw-gun-wielding bat fanatics. When we were done, everyone walked away a little wiser…and CWF went home a dozen bat houses richer. Right on schedule, too - we’ve already installed most of the houses.
“It was amazing to see over 40 community members actively participating in my Eagle Project,” Josh said. “Throughout it, I really learned a lot about the issues with the bat population and efforts being made to conserve them.”