Ambitious goal to produce thousands of bat houses seeks to inspire the public to save embattled bat populations
October 14, 2015: Washington, D.C. – Today the Bat Week organizing team, comprised of representatives from multiple conservation organizations, federal agencies and business, announced details for the second annual Bat Week. The celebratory week, which will be October 25-31, includes a Signature Event on Capitol Hill, a week long social media campaign aimed to engage and educate the public on bats, and a Guinness World Record attempt for Most Bat Houses Built in a Day. The record setting attempt will aptly be held on Halloween Day at multiple locations including Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
On October 27, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the featured guest along with other members of Congress and their staff, leading White-nose syndrome federal experts, and policy makers at a reception on Capitol Hill to kick off the week long celebration. The evening includes bat house building, educational displays from partner organizations and bat-supported food and beverages.
Halloween day marks a Guinness World Record attempt for Most Bat Houses Built in a Day. Throughout the day, participants at designated sites around the globe will attempt to build thousands of bat houses to give bats new places to roost and raise their young. Bat house building is an easy, fun conservation project for both children and adults. Members of the public can find a nearby site at www.batweek.org.
Organizations can register to be a bat house building site at www.batweek.org. Bat-related information, facts, and resources are available for download on the site. Additionally, Bat Week partners will be talking to media to educate, inspire, and inform the general public about bats throughout the week.
Despite being widely beneficial to humans and ecosystems, worldwide bat populations are imperiled by many threats, including habitat destruction, pesticides and extermination. In North America, these problems have been further complicated by the appearance of an invasive fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, also known as White-nose syndrome. The fungus has so far killed several millions of bats in a span of less than 10 years. Bats become infected by white-nose syndrome while hibernating, and develop distinctive white growths on their muzzle, body, and wings, earning the condition its name: White-nose syndrome.
Bats are found in every state in the U.S. and are essential to the economy and ecology as well as the agriculture industry as pollinators and insect eaters. A recent study found that bats save $1 billion a year in crop damages around the world. The U.S. is leading the international response to white-nose syndrome in bats, and since 2008 more than a hundred partners at the Federal, state and local level have come together to research and combat the disease, including issuing more than $24 million in Federal grants.
About the Bat Week Team The Bat Week team is comprised of representatives from federal agencies, conservation organizations and business including Bat Conservation International, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Lubee Bat Conservancy, the Save Lucy campaign, Wildlife Acoustics and Organization for Bat Conservation.