Kids from across America celebrate Bat Week from Oct 24-31

California leaf-nosed bat (Photo by J. Scott Altenbach)

Eight kids from across the country are proving that you don’t need to be an adult to help out bats. These kids are members of the “Bat Squad,” a group of young people who will be introduced to schools across North America in a four-part live webcast series to be launched online at BatWeek.org during the third annual Bat Week, held this year from Oct. 24-31.

“There’s a Shark Week. Bats deserve a week, too, that’s just all about them,” says 14-year-old Rachael Block, a member of the Bat Squad from Virginia. Bat Week is a growing initiative that seeks to raise greater awareness of the importance of bats and what is being done to help them worldwide.

One major highlight of this year’s Bat Week event is “Bat Squad!” This series of four, 15-minute webcasts (airing next week on BatWeek.org at noon Tuesday, Oct. 25 – Friday, Oct. 28) will dive into the efforts of eight young people to educate others on the benefits of bats, their habitats, the threats they face, and how they’re getting more people involved in conservation. Each video is followed by a live Q&A session on Twitter, where classrooms can ask questions of the Bat Squad members using the hashtags #BatWeek and #BatSquad. The videos aim not only to teach, but also to inspire even more kids to take action. The webcasts come with matching classroom activities, geared towards Next Generation Science Standards, aimed to continue the batty fun offline.

“We have eight amazing kids from across the country that have been doing inspiring things for bat conservation,” says Micaela Jemison, a Bat Week coordinator and Bat Conservation International’s director of communications and public engagement. “These kids have been conducting bat research, investigating threats to bats like white-nose syndrome and teaching others about the importance of these amazing creatures. We encourage schools across the country to tune in during Bat Week to meet these wonderful kids and learn more about bats!”

The Bat Squad! kids hail from far and wide – from Texas, Virginia, California, Oregon, Michigan, Tennessee and Indiana – and they are excited to share with other kids what they have learned about bats.

“Bats are just misunderstood, they’re not scary at all. They’re amazing creatures and that’s what I wish everyone knew,” says 12-year-old Logan Carter, a member of the Bat Squad from Muncie, Indiana. Logan and his fellow Bat Squad members are excited at the prospect of talking to potentially thousands of kids about bats online.

“We’re presenting them as movie stars, and the fact is, they really are,” said Cynthia Sandeno, a Bat Week coordinator and a U.S. Forest Service specialist in threatened, endangered and sensitive species “It’s absolutely incredible that these kids are doing work that professional wildlife biologists and communicators are out there doing.”

The free online educational webcasts are a Bat Week initiative led by Bat Conservation International along with partners from the U.S. Forest Service, National Geographic’s Animal Jam and the National Conservation Training Center. Major funding for this initiative was supplied by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bat Conservation International, U.S. Forest Service and the National Speleological Society.

White-nose syndrome is a devastating disease that has killed more than 6 million bats in North America since its arrival in 2006. The disease is confirmed in seven different species of bats and is in 29 states and five Canadian provinces.

Visit BatWeek.org for more information.

— Bat Conservation International

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