MADISONVILLE, Ky. (3/28/13) – Every Monday the Boy Scouts of Troop 11 in Madisonville meet to work on merit badges, and discuss upcoming events and activities. However for the next few weeks the boys will be spending their time working on their bat houses for a fundraiser later this spring.
“This project started out for the boys to learn and build something that incorporated conservation. I got to reading on bats and bat house designs and my son and I built one for the back yard and realized this could be something all the boys could do,” expressed Joe Collins, Assistant Scout Master.
A single brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitos in an hour. They also eat other crop-damaging insects, such as; leafhoppers, cucumber and June beetles. Bats are more closely related to humans and other primates than to rodents. Females give birth to one pup a year, making them high risk for extinction. With one single colony of brown bats, farmers can be protected from millions of rootworms each summer. “A lot of people here have their own version of bats, like out of a horror story. When, really, they play a key role in our environment. These houses can house and increase bat populations, they are decreasing nationally,” stated Collins. There is an anticoagulant that is derived from bats saliva that is used to treat human heart patients and stroke victims.
A lot of houses are built with multi chambers that can house hundreds of bats, the design Collins came up with is much smaller and designed to fit 20 bats. “For the design, I wanted to use the littlest amount of wood and be able to mass produce.” So far the boys were able to make 75 and their goal as of right now is to make 100. “We will be having a booth outside of Lowes to sell these houses. We were looking to sell them at $20.00 a piece, most bat houses online run about 24 or 25 dollars, so I think this is a great deal and the money that is raised will go to boys so they can have their campouts or other scout trips.”
Dwindling at alarming rates worldwide, 40% of American bat species have been listed on the endangered or threatened lists.
Photos Provided by Amber Mena
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