28 July 2017
New Home Will Help House Endangered Little Brown Bats
Colchester, Vt. – You’ve heard of a barn raising, but how about a bat condo raising? That’s what happened today in Colchester, when Green Mountain Power partnered with Vermont Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and citizens, to install a new “bat condo” to give endangered little brown bats a safe habitat and help their recovery in Vermont.
The bat condo was designed and created by Joe Gardner, who funded, built, and donated the structure, with assistance from Barry Genzlinger, bat house designer and licensed bat rehabilitator. It looks like a monitor barn set on top of power poles and will provide shelter to thousands of bats, provide a spot for raising young and provide safety from predators.
“This was a thrilling moment to see the bat condo lifted into place,” said Joe Gardner. “Bats are wonderful creatures, and hopefully this continues to help them recover. I’m happy to do my part to help and am so thankful to the state, GMP, and all the groups helping make this a reality.”
Last year GMP helped install a similar bat condo built by Gardner in Kinglsand Bay State Park. Green Mountain Power lineworkers set poles Friday and used a bucket truck to lift the condo onto the poles.
“Our team is so excited to be part of this important work to protect our state’s bat population by providing safe habitat,” said Kristin Carlson, vice president strategic and external affairs. “Partnerships like this reinforce that we all have a stake in protecting endangered and threatened species and together we can make a big difference.”
Bats live in some of the public buildings on Troy Avenue in Colchester, and installing the bat condo means the bats will have a long-term secure habitat. Bats live into their 20s and 30s and return to the same place year after year, so the new bat condo will provide the opportunity for the bat population in the area to grow. Big brown bats, which are not endangered, might also use the bat condo. Biologists say a single bat can eat thousands of mosquitoes and other pests, and also help fertilize plants.
“The best way for us to help recover little brown bats is to protect the survivors, so securing these summer roosts where they each raise only one young per year is incredibly important,” said Fish & Wildlife Bat Biologist Alyssa Bennett. “We really appreciate Green Mountain Power’s help installing the new bat home. The fate of this species may depend largely on the generosity of concerned citizens like Joe Gardner and partnerships with organizations and businesses like Green Mountain Power.”
The little brown bat is now endangered in Vermont as a result of the deadly fungal disease White-nose Syndrome. The population has declined by 90 percent in the past few years, but ongoing monitoring efforts around the state show the population is stabilizing. Fish and Wildlife officials provide guidance to property owners who want to safely evict unwanted bats in buildings, along with recommendations on proper bat house design and placement with the goal of conserving this endangered species.
To learn more about this and other efforts visit: www.vtfishandwildlife.com/learn_more/living_with_wildlife/got_bats
About Green Mountain Power:
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont is partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com. Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.
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