Article by Phoenix writer Nicholas Cortese ’23:
During the week of October 24, scientists around the country celebrated National Bat Week. To some, the custom may seem to be merely a preparation for the celebration of Halloween. Instead, many conservationists utilize the week to raise awareness for endangered bat species.
Kellenberg was privileged to welcome Renee Lile, a Graduate Researcher at the University of Wyoming to give a bat-centered presentation to students taking the Environmental Studies course. The slideshow covered White-Nose Syndrome, a disease caused by the formation of fungus on the skin membrane of bats.
The infection originated in Europe, but did not serve as a problem due coevolution of the local bats. White-Nose Syndrome gained traction when it made its way to North America, as it left bats with torn tissues in their nose, ears and wings. The spread of the disease has raised the concern of extinction for multiple bat species.
Ms. Lile recommended that in order to halt the spread of White-Nose Syndrome, we can plant night-blooming gardens. This increases nocturnal insect populations, leaving bats with more food, higher body masses and increased disease mitigation.
Spreading knowledge on White-Nose Syndrome is vital, especially for communities with high bat populations. Mrs. Frem details why the information is essential for students to be aware of. “While speaking with Ms. Lile, we learned that humans can play a big part in stopping the spread of White-Nose Syndrome.”
Bats are not just a mascot for a spooky holiday. They keep pest numbers in control and act as a pollinator for many ecosystems. In order to preserve our environment to its fullest degree, we should all spread awareness on the protection of bats. For more information, visit whitenosesyndrome.org.