Vermont eyes volunteers to monitor endangered bats

Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist Alyssa Bennett talks about bat boxes as she leads training for a group of volunteer bat monitors. (Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department photo)

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is looking for volunteers to monitor colonies of endangered bats this summer. The department is seeking volunteers willing to help count state-endangered little brown bats as they emerge at dusk at locations throughout the Champlain Valley.

Vermont’s little brown bats suffered massive declines due to the deadly disease white-nose syndrome. An estimated 90 percent of the state’s bat population has been lost to this disease. Although some bats still die from the disease each winter, others continue to survive and reproduce. By counting bats at their summer colonies each summer, the Fish & Wildlife Department can track population changes over time and the bats’ long-term response to white-nose syndrome.

The department needs dedicated volunteers who can commit to watching bats at assigned sites for at least four nights this summer. Some sites require teams of volunteers. Volunteers must attend one of the following trainings:

  • May 13 at Kingsland Bay State Park, Ferrisburgh.
  • May 20 at Bomoseen State Park, Fair Haven.

Trainings begin at 7:30 p.m. local time and end after dusk when all of the bats have exited the buildings and bat houses where they reside.

Interested participants need not RSVP but should arrive promptly at 7:30 with warm layers and appropriate bug protection. All ages are welcome. For questions or more information about Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s Got Bats? program, contact Alyssa Bennett, small mammals biologist, at Alyssa.bennett@vermont.gov or 802-786-0098.

New colonies of bats can be reported at www.vtfishandwildlife.com/get_involved/citizen_reporting/

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