11/28/2017 1:05:00 PM Middle schoolers work to save bats
Susie Werts is at it again. First she was saving the monarch butterflies, and now bats.
Susie started this project by educating her students about bats. There are 1,200 species that we know of. A plague is affecting our bat population called White Nose Syndrome (WNS). It's a fungus passed from bat to bat and also in various U.S. caves.
So how is Werts saving the bats? This is where Steve Madsen comes in. He is a cabinetmaker who donated his time to show middle school students how to build bat houses. The students caulked and screwed four of these houses together. Each house can hold about 100 bats. They are being donated to the Deschutes National Forest and hung in local forests with the hope of curbing the spread of WNS.
Werts' favorite bat is the spotted bat, though the houses will most likely become home to the more common brown bat. Both bats are threatened, in part from WNS and humans invading their homes. The brown bat is more common in Sisters, eating insects and living in the bark of trees, attics, and porches. In winter they hibernate in caves, leaving on occasion to find food.
While out in the forest keep your eyes open for the bat houses. Sisters Middle School hopes to partner with the high school to build larger bat houses.