Bat monitors needed this summer

CASTLETON/FERRISBURGH — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is looking for volunteer citizen scientists to count bats in the greater Champlain Valley and a few other sites around the state this summer. Addison County residents have two opportunities to take part: at Bomoseen State Park in Castleton on Thursday, June 21, and at Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh on Wednesday, June 27. The events start at 7:30 and finish after dusk, around 9:30.
Long-term monitoring is critical to the management and recovery of endangered little brown bats in Vermont. Volunteers will receive training at this event and be matched with monitoring sites after learning about these rare, insect-eating mammals.
Alyssa Bennett, the Small Mammals Biologist at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, will provide a 30-minute presentation about Vermont bats, their natural history and threats, and ways the public can help conserve bats and enhance their habitats. Bennett works mainly on the conservation and recovery of Vermont’s nine bat species.
The presentation will be immediately followed by training for volunteers interested in monitoring colonies of endangered little brown bats this summer. Volunteer citizen scientists will learn how to count bats exiting their roosts between sunset and just after dusk. Interested volunteers are then matched with colony sites around the state for periodic monitoring between July 11 and 30.
 “Vermont’s endangered little brown bats suffered massive population declines of up to 90 percent due to the deadly fungal disease, White-nose Syndrome,” said Bennett. “This species depends upon us for their continued survival because of their preference for roosting in buildings and bat houses. Thanks to the help of dedicated citizen scientists who monitor these rare colonies of female bats and their young, we have shown that the remaining population appears to be holding steady in our state.”
Amy Dohner from the Ferrisburgh Conservation Commission will be at the Rokeby Museum event to organize local volunteers monitoring bats at Kingsland Bay State Park. She can be contacted at 802-434-7245.
The talks and trainings are free and open to the public. To find out if an event is cancelled due to weather, please call 802-786-0098 on the day of the event and listen to the recorded message.
Bomoseen State Park is at 22 Cedar Mountain Road, in Castleton. Rain date is June 22.
Rokeby Museum, is at 4334 Route 7, in Ferrisburgh. Rain date is June 28.

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