Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Volunteer Opportunies With Conserve Wildlife

logoI wrote earlier here about the NJ Endangered & Nongame Species Program's Speakers Bureau and the Wildlife Conservation Corps. There are other volunteer opportunities in the state where you can help protect the future of NJ's wildlife.

A current volunteer opportunity is the Summer Bat Count. This is a volunteer research project that seeks to obtain information about the distribution of summer bat roosting colonies throughout New Jersey.

More than half of America's bat species are in severe decline because of various factors, including loss of habitat, direct killing, disease, disturbance of hibernating and maternity colonies, and most recently, White Nose Syndrome.

Bats have a reputation as being spooky or dangerous but they are actually one of the most beneficial animals to people. All of New Jersey's bats are insectivores. They feed on night-flying insects, including mosquitoes.

A single little brown bat can eat 3,000 mosquito-sized insects a night. A colony of 150 big brown bats can eat enough cucumber beetles to save farmers almost a billion dollars annually in crop damages and pesticide costs. Some garden pests even detect the sounds that bats make while feeding and will avoid areas where bats are present.

Without bats, we would be more dependent on toxic pesticides to control insect pests. In other areas of the world, bats play a major role in pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds for plants such as bananas, avocados, peaches, and mangoes. Bats also help to reforest the tropical rainforests.

Download CWF's bat fact sheet
Information on White Nose Syndrome

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