Going Bonkers for Bats at Family Nature Night

Photo of a big brown bat

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.

For more information on Family Nature Night or other conservation board programs, visit our programs page. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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