Bats are an integral part of the South Okanagan ecosystem. They play a large role in managing insects, pollinating plants, and dispersing seeds.
But bats are in trouble. They are losing their habitats and their food supply is diminishing. These factors are caused by urban development, deforestation, and pesticide use.
People can help by preserving big healthy trees, specifically ponderosa pine and cottonwood. Bats live in these matured trees in the nooks and peeling bark. If those trees are unavailable the next best thing is to set up bat boxes and plant trees. Eventually the bats will move from the box to the trees once the trees have matured.
Minimizing the use of pesticides in the yard will keep the insect population healthy for the bats.
Becoming a bat ambassador is a good way to spread awareness in the community.
Summerland needs to become a friendlier bat community. The Okanagan is home to the only red listed (endangered) bat species called the Pallid Bat.
To make your own bat boxes, the plans can be found online at bcbats.ca/bat-boxes/bat-box-designs/.
Logan Miller and Elijah Dueck are young environmentalists and students at Summerland Secondary School.
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