Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Bat Project’

Maternity roosts, delayed ovulation and mating swarms: Protecting the (truly weird) reproductive cycle of bats.

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Story by: Alison Levine, Communications Coordinator

Bats. They can be kind of creepy. Full disclosure, when I was a kid a bat got into our house and was so disoriented at being in an alien environment that it actually flew into my shoulder. So, I’m not exactly unbiased. I’ve learned to appreciate the important roles bats play – many help keep insect populations under control, some are crucial pollinators for fruits – but I’ve never really warmed up to them before.

While there are plenty of people who share my slightly-creeped out feelings for bats, fortunately there are lot of people who love the furry little flying mammals.

CWF Biologist, and bat ambassador extraordinaire, Meghan Kolk goes out and handles bats on purpose. As part of a joint project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Meghan and CWF Biologist Ethan Gilardi teamed up with USFWS staff to conduct bat surveys in the summer of 2018 and again this year.

The surveys are conducted at Joint Military Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in the northern part of Pine Barrens. The goal is to capture northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis), a federally threatened species, and track them back to their roost tree (ideally tracking females back to maternity roost trees) using radio transmitters.

Photo of big brown bat by John King

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Princeton Seventh-Graders Protect Bats through Hands-on Research Project

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Students partner with nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation to design better bat houses

By Stephanie Feigin

Although bats have a reputation of being dangerous and scary, these flying mammals are something to be coveted, and the students at Princeton Day School know why. Seventh grade students Albert Ming, Arjun Sen, Martin Sen, Dodge Martinson, Kai Shah, and Samuel Tang teamed up with Conserve Wildlife Foundation to design a better construction plan for bat houses. The students hope to promote better conditions for bats living in Central Jersey.

Bats are in the midst of tragic declines as a consequence of habitat loss and a devastating fungal disease known as White-nose Syndrome. CWF works to preserve bats, which basically provide a free pest removal service. A single bat can consume up to 3,000 mosquito-sized insects in one night! Their value to agriculture is estimated at $53 billion annually in the United States alone. Not to mention they provide mosquito and biting insect control, which are not only a nuisance but also have disease spreading potential.

Many bats in New Jersey have come to depend on manmade bat houses, structures specifically designed and placed for the needs of the bats, and the Princeton Day School students stepped up to help.

First, the students researched the best, most economical type of wood to use for construction. Next, they used an infrared thermometer to see how well heat is absorbed and retained by the different wood types after they were painted and stained using three different colors.

Keeping the inside of a bat house within the right temperature range is vital to the survival of bats, especially the vulnerable young pups. If a bat house becomes too hot (above 95 degrees) or too cold (below 65 degrees), the health of the bats is threatened. Bats move their pups from house to house in search of the right temperatures.

The students used the results of their temperature experiment and high and low temperature readings for Central Jersey over the past three years to design a plan for a bat condo unit that would satisfy bats temperature requirements during their entire six month roosting period.

The x – axis is the number of hours passed during the day and the y- axis represents degrees Fahrenheit.
This graph displays the research for the best type of wood (cedar, pine or plywood) to use for constructing bat houses, along with different kinds of paint (adobe, slate or russet) to determine which combination could retain the most heat for the bat colonies. Heat retention was measured over a long period of time while exposed to the sun.
The research revealed that the bat houses are most successful if they are painted or stained and weather resistant wood like cedar would last much longer than softer wood like pine or plywood. When cedar wood was used the temperature changed the most as the air temperature changed and the least when sunset came. When plywood was used the temperature changed the least as the air temperature changed and the most when sunset came. When pine wood was used the temperature changed moderately as the air temperature and moderately when sunset came.
The conclusion made was that there are differences among wood and paint combinations. Adobe paint on plywood has the smallest average temperature change even though the difference is not statistically significant and adobe paint on cedar had the smallest temperature change between 4 and 6 degrees. They chose adobe paint on cedar or plywood as they are also the most cost effective.

With the results of their research and experiments, the students made informed decisions to design the bat boxes. The final product was three bat houses built using plywood. They painted one of the houses in a black slate color to provide maximum heat during the colder months, and painted a second house in an adobe beige color to provide air conditioning during the hot summer months. Lastly, they chose a russet color to for the moderate months.

CWF Wildlife ecologist Stephanie Feign who worked with the students on the project was happy to see how passionate these kids were to learn and be hands-on. “Their passion and enthusiasm were inspiring. Projects like these not only benefit wildlife, but also benefit surrounding communities and provide experiential learning for students.”

New Jersey is home to nine different species of bats, two of which are listed as endangered or threatened. Six species that do not migrate south for the winter remain in New Jersey to hibernate in a cave or another safe place. When they awake from hibernation in April, the females search for roosting spots to bear and raise their young pups. With so few intact forests in New Jersey, bats are struggling to find places to safely roost.

That is why projects like this one with Princeton Day School are essential for preserving bats. Not only did the projects help bats, but it also helped the students by requiring them to use problem solving and critical thinking skills to protect a creature that they came to value. Wildlife, which kids become excited and passionate about, is a valuable educational tool.

The team is currently working with Princeton Day School facilities to erect the bat condo unit on campus. Hopefully, by next spring, the school will be home to many new, very comfortable bats.


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Stephanie Feigin is a Wildlife Ecologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

Flemington “BatCam” Bats Banded LIVE on Facebook

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

BIG BROWN BATS ARE THE STAR OF THE SHOW FOR OVER 200,000 ONLINE FOLLOWERS

By Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Earlier this week marked the second year that Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey wildlife ecologist Stephanie Feigin, along with project partner MacKenzie Hall from New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and project interns from Rutgers University, banded the BatCam bats. This banding survey was part of a long standing maternity survey project conducted by CWF in partnership with NJDEP. These surveys allow us to gain important information about reproductive success, record weight, sex and age status of the bats, assess bats for signs of white-nose syndrome, and band bats for future observation.

 

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Photos by Stephanie Feigin

 

This year, the team decided to stream the banding of big brown bats LIVE on Facebook. Allowing viewers to gain a once in a lifetime opportunity to see wildlife in a way they have never seen before and giving us the ability to directly interact with thousands of followers as we conducted an important wildlife survey. The banding has reached over 200,000 online followers as of Thursday morning.

 

The team caught and banded 36 bats total, 14 adult females (10 were recaputres from last year, 4 were banded as juveniles last year) and 23 juveniles (12 males and 11 female). All of the bats were weighed, measured, and banded according to the same coding as last year (red for juveniles and silver for adults).

 

The main goal of our Bat Project is to protect the bats we have in New Jersey, protect their habitats, learn more about their life cycles, and educate the public on the benefits of bats and how amazing and beneficial they truly are. By streaming live, we were able to shed new light on bats and allow the public to gain a better understanding for these special mammals.

 

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Photos from the Field: Red Bat, Brown Bat, Flying Squirrel!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Update on the Second Year of CWF’s Northern Long-eared Bat Study

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Female (right) and male (left) eastern red bats after being removed from the same net. Photo by MacKenzie Hall.

Female (right) and male (left) eastern red bats after being removed from the same net. Photo by MacKenzie Hall.

In early June, CWF, in partnership with NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, began the second year of the Northern long-eared bat mist netting and radio telemetry study. The team will be focusing efforts in Southern and Coastal New Jersey this year. The goal of the mist netting and radio telemetry project to learn more about the summer distribution and habitat selection of the federally listed Northern long-eared bat; an important project that can shed light on a species we know all too little about.

 

To date, the team has completed its second week of mist netting. So far, our team has caught 6 eastern red bats, 3 big brown bats and accidentally caught 2 flying squirrels in two different sites in southern New Jersey. Though a myotis bat has not been caught yet, the team did get acoustic detection of a tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) foraging near the net site in Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson, New Jersey!

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Flying squirrel being removed from a mist net. Photo by Stephanie Feigin.

Stay tuned for more updates as the season progresses!

 

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Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Three New Jersey Women Recognized at Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards

Friday, October 30th, 2015
MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, Tanya Oznowich honored at Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s 10th Annual Women & Wildlife Awards

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman with past and present Women & Wildlife Award winners, representing a decade of strong female leaders in wildlife conservation. From left to right: Dr. Erica Miller, Edith Wallace, Linda Tesauro, Kathy Clark, Amy S. Greene, the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Diane Nickerson.

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman with past and present Women & Wildlife Award winners, representing a decade of strong female leaders in wildlife conservation. From left to right: Dr. Erica Miller, Edith Wallace, Linda Tesauro, Kathy Clark, Amy S. Greene, the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, Pat Hamilton, MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Diane Nickerson.

 

Our Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards, held at Duke Farms, recognized three women – MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, and Tanya Oznowich – for their leadership in protecting wildlife in New Jersey. The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman served as the keynote speaker.

 

The Women & Wildlife Awards celebrated Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and imperiled wildlife species.

 

“The inspiring leadership of MacKenzie Hall, Pat Hamilton, and Tanya Oznowich not only benefits New Jersey’s wildlife and the countless people who care strongly for our outdoors – it provides successful role models for the next generation of girls in scientific fields that have for too long held a glass ceiling for young women,” said CWF Executive Director David Wheeler. “Their unparalleled dedication and hard work – like that of the Women & Wildlife honorees over the past decade – has helped make New Jersey a national leader in wildlife conservation.”

 

The three honorees were recognized individually with awards in Inspiration, Leadership, and Education:

MacKenzie Hall, a powerful force behind the conservation of wildlife in New Jersey, who began working as a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation in 2004 before joining the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in 2014, is the recipient of the Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award. She has been involved in a number of projects spanning bat colonies, migrating amphibians, and grassland birds.

In her work to implement conservation programs such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Ms. Hall’s keen understanding of the process and positive attitude turned many farmers and landowners into dedicated environmental stewards. What may be most remarkable about Ms. Hall is her ability to motivate the public and inspire non-scientists of all ages to become passionate conservationists.

 

Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner Pat Hamilton has worked for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries since 1980. She is considered to be the champion for Eastern brook trout, the state’s only native salmonid, and a species once extirpated from over 50% of its historical habitat due to human impacts.

Ms. Hamilton is one of three fisheries biologists in New Jersey endeavoring to strengthen the state regulations to further conserve native brook trout streams. Thanks to her efforts, more than 200 northern New Jersey streams have been designated as Trout Production Streams, which afford the streams higher levels of state protection.

 

The recipient of the Women & Wildlife Education Award is Tanya Oznowich, Environmental Education Supervisor of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who has championed environmental education for over three decades.

Schools across New Jersey are incorporating environmental education into their curriculum, a new movement inspired by a growing awareness of environmental issues and our shared role in understanding and resolving them. To a large degree, this growing prominence is thanks to Tanya Oznowich. She has been engaging the public in natural resources since 1979. Since beginning her tenure with the NJDEP in 1988, she has dedicated herself to integrating environmental science into New Jersey’s classrooms, from kindergarten to college.

 

The Tenth Annual Women & Wildlife Awards, held on Wednesday, October 28 at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey, included a presentation of the awards to the recipients, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and a silent auction.

 

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We gratefully thank our generous Eagle Sponsors who made the Women & Wildlife Awards possible: PSEG, Atlantic City Electric, Janice King and Bill Masonheimer, and Eric Sambol.

 

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.