What Is Colorado’s New Bat Watch Program?
Although they are some of the smallest creatures in the state, bats play an incredibly important role in Colorado's diverse ecosystem.
Bats control insects by eating them, which results in fewer pesticides used on crops in the region. Another perk is that they help to keep away pesky mosquitoes and moths during the summertime.
To better study and conserve this species, the Colorado Bat Watch program was launched in April 2023. This collaborative community science initiative has multiple components that were created to help bats thrive.
One aspect of the program is made possible by community members reporting bat sightings throughout the state. Monitoring and protecting bats at roost sites can help conserve bat populations in Colorado. Roost sites provide a safe place for bats to mate, raise their young, and hibernate.
Another component of the Bat Watch Program is done by monitoring bat colonies. Citizens can volunteer to help count bats, which improves the state's knowledge of bat populations. Monitoring existing colonies can also help address emerging threats to bats across Colorado.
Coloradans can also get involved in the program by becoming a Bat Ambassador. This route consists of "adopting" a bat. Adoptions cost $35 and proceeds go towards paying for the equipment volunteers need to monitor a bat colony, maintenance of the bat observations database, and research and conservation efforts. The adoption also includes an adorable plush little brown bat, a Bat Ambassador sticker or magnet, and a personalized e-certificate of adoption.
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Some tips for attracting bats to your backyard include filling the garden with native plants, installing a bat house, keeping the cat inside, and avoid from using pesticides. Bats love hanging out in dead trees too, so maybe think twice before chopping one down.