The Dickinson County Nature Center is Bonkers for Bats.
So it’s a fitting theme for the next Family Nature Night 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at its Okoboji location.
“I like bats,” said environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman. “I think it’s important to inform people about the ecosystem services they perform, because they’re all insectivores in Iowa.”
A single bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects every hour and up to 6,000-8,000 insects per night. Yet, they are often disliked instead of beloved.
“Bats are really misunderstood creatures,” said naturalist Ashley Hansen. “Hopefully, people will learn something new and have a newfound appreciation for bats.”
The nine species of bats in Iowa are also facing issues such as white-nose syndrome, which is a disease of hibernating bats that has killed an estimated 6 million bats since 2006, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Although the disease is not yet pervasive in Dickinson County in particular, Kuhlman hopes to instill an appreciation for the creatures in Family Nature Night participants so they want to help bats.
One way to help bats is to provide a bat house, installed on a pole, tree or side of a building.
“Bat houses are important because it encourages bats to roost in appropriate locations,” Kuhlman said, instead of bats roosting in homes or other buildings.
During Family Nature Night, each family will have the opportunity to build and take home a bat house. The September program will have a maximum of 12 families due to the number of bat houses available.
The October Family Nature Night will be held 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, with the theme This Little Pumpkin. Participants will learn about the seed and pumpkin life cycle and will even get to paint a pumpkin to take home.
Family Nature Nights are free, monthly events at the Dickinson County Nature Center and are appropriate for all ages. Pre-register by calling 712-336-6352.
Bats are a hot topic around Halloween. (We love bats — read about how they use echolocation here.) And we love crafts that are both nature-related and fit into the season, so today we tested out a new bat craft. It’s simple, great for all ages and utilizes things you already have around the house.…Read More
Bats can see about as well as humans. However, they are nocturnal — which means they are active at night — and think about how well you can see at night. (Read about nocturnal animals in Iowa.) Without a light, can you see a mosquito? You might feel it bite you, but you sure wouldn’t…Read More
I get odd looks when I tell people that I think bats are cute. This first summer that I worked at the Dickinson County Nature Center, we had a family bring in a little brown bat that they had found on their driveway. (If you find a bat on the ground, give us a call…Read More