Silhouettes and cartoon images of bats are common sights as Halloween approaches. At a time when local bat species are beginning their hibernation or have already migrated, these illustrations portray a simple version of one of nature’s most complex mammals. Bats might seem spooky at first, but they play a vital role in the ecosystem and provide many benefits to people.
The real horror story bats have to offer is a tale of disease. In 2006, a European fungus called white-nosed syndrome was accidentally introduced to a bat population in New York. According to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, white-nose syndrome has spread at a rate of 200-250 kilometers per year across neighboring states and into Canada. Millions of bats have died due to the effects of white-nose syndrome infection.
One bat species that has been hit particularly hard by white-nose syndrome is the Little Brown Bat. Before 2006, this was the most abundant species across North America. With the loss of an estimated 7 million Little Brown Bats and a birth rate of one pup a year, a population recovery for this species will be an uphill battle.
The ending to the bat’s tale has yet to be written. To date, there is no cure or way to contain the white-nose syndrome. The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative estimates the disease may affect the entire Canadian bat population within 12-18 years.
“We can all take action to help our local, endangered bats” says Delaina Arnold, Education & Stewardship Coordinator for the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. “We encourage people to report bat sightings, especially in winter because these bats are likely affected by white-nosed syndrome. We also welcome reports of installed bat houses, whether or not they’re being used by bats.”
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is undertaking a two-year research and outreach project targeting endangered bat species. With support from Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, bat houses were installed at Waubuno Beach & Park in Parry Sound and Britt Public School. Volunteers will monitor these bat houses for bat presence in the spring and summer.
“Installing a bat house is another great way to get involved and help species including the Little Brown Bat,” says Arnold. “There are many designs to experiment with and many places to buy a bat house – it is also an excellent project for families. Monitoring a bat house can be as simple as watching at dusk and counting the number of bats that fly out, or using a form available at gbbr.ca to record those numbers. They are very helpful for science.”
To report bat sightings or share information on bat house locations, please contact Delaina at [email protected] or 705.774.0978. More information on bat house blue prints and local bat species is available at gbbr.ca under the title of Conservation > Species at risk.
You are invited to attend our first GREEN ENERGY FORUM on Saturday, November 4th at Canadore College, Parry Sound. All ages welcome!
Learn about sustainable energy options, how to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Hear about climate change impacts in our area & what our community can do!
Agenda details and speaker information attached with poster.
We hope you can join us!
9:30 a.m. electric vehicles & bikes on display (Tesla, Ford C-max, Chevy Volt)
10:00 a.m. keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Sale, on climate change impacts
10:30 a.m. workshops on home energy efficiency & renewable energy co-op
11:30 a.m. workshop on solar design & community action
12:30 p.m. optional tour of an off-grid home in Seguin (solar, wind, design)
Register for your free seat on the bus at strawbale.eventbrite.ca
Perched on the edge of the Sweetwater Sea in the heart of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, the Township of Carling is a rural-recreational municipality committed to preserving, enhancing and promoting sound development in harmony with the natural environment. Carling’s leadership and residents recognize the inter-relationship of ecological, biological, economic and social systems and the importance of minimizing interference with the complex and precarious balance of our ecosystems.
With more than 75 kilometres of shoreline along Georgian Bay, thousands of islands, popular Killbear Provincial Park, 30,000+ acres of Crown Land and many businesses dedicated to supporting recreational tourism, the opportunities for exploration and excitement in Carling are endless in any season. It’s no wonder our residents are so fiercely Carling Proud!
The Township of Carling is a proud supporter of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and the important work they undertake on behalf of all who live and play here.
Registration is now full. Sign up to Biosphere News to hear about future nigh hikes and other great events!
OLRA is a dedicated group of individuals whose interests are in protecting all the natural attributes of Otter Lake. In 2016, OLRA completed a survey of its members and the top 4 priorities were: lake water quality; ecology of Otter Lake and area; maintaining property values; and safety when boating and swimming.
- Work to promote and preserve water quality and water levels through monitoring and by taking appropriate actions to maintain the ecological integrity of the Otter Lake watershed;
- Inform and educate Otter Lake residents, and where possible, their guests and transient users of the lake, about the ecology of the area and ways to protect and sustain it;
- Advocate on behalf of Otter Lake residents and inform them of issues that concern them. We do this by working with the relevant levels of government and non-government agencies wherever possible to voice the concerns of Otter Lake residents on issues affecting them and the lake environment; and
- Promote a friendly, social and considerate Otter Lake community.