May 19, 2019

Champlain Valley residents recruited for bat monitoring

Observer courtesy photo Vermont Fish and Wildlife biologist Alyssa Bennett, left, discusses bat boxes during a training for a group of volunteer bat monitors. 

Observer courtesy photo
Vermont Fish and Wildlife biologist Alyssa Bennett, left, discusses bat boxes during a training for a group of volunteer bat monitors.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is looking for volunteers to monitor colonies of endangered bats this summer. The department is seeking volunteers willing to help count state-endangered little brown bats as they emerge at dusk at locations throughout the Champlain Valley. 

Vermont’s little brown bats have suffered massive declines due to the deadly disease white-nose syndrome, the department reports. An estimated 90 percent of the state’s bat population has been lost to this disease.

By counting bats at their summer colonies, the Fish and Wildlife Department can track population changes over time and the bats’ long-term response to white-nose syndrome.

The department is looking for volunteers who can commit to watching bats at assigned sites for at least four nights this summer. Some sites require teams of volunteers. Volunteers must attend one of the following trainings: May 13 at Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh or May 20 at Bomoseen State Park in Fair Haven.

Trainings begin at 7:30 p.m. and end after dusk when all of the bats have exited the buildings and bat houses where they reside.

Interested participants should arrive at one of the trainings at 7:30 p.m. with warm layers and appropriate bug protection. All ages are welcome. For questions or more information, contact biologist Alyssa Bennett at Alyssa.bennett@vermont.gov or 802-786-0098.

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