Interested in learning about bats and the crucial role they play in Guilford's environment? Want to partake in a hands-on educational and fun-filled informational event about how to best preserve bats in your community? Head to Jacobs Beach on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon for the Guilford Conservation Commission's Bats and Bat Houses event.
"It's going to be really fun and educational with a lot of informational facts that we'll be sharing," said Laura Collins, a commission member on the team that is organizing the event. "Both kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy this."
This is the first time the commission is holding this event and it's free and open to all members of the public. The event was originally organized to be held last year as part of Guilford's Night Sky event at Dudley Farm, but was canceled in light of Tropical Storm Irene.
There will be members of the Conservation Commission, including Collins, sharing general information on bats including the importance of bats, safety issues, and bat diseases. The commission is also hoping to line up a professional speaker for those attending.
Commission members purchased about 20 bat kits to construct bat houses. Collins said there will be a live demonstration that evening on how to build a bat house. The commission member noted that there are a number of ways bats contribute to the environment.
"People who have an interest can come pick up information on bats and how to build a bat house and learn interesting facts like the tremendous number of insects and mosquitoes and other undesirables" they eat, Collins said.
Rather than using pesticides to control insects, "People can just attract bats with the house and it's good for the bats, it's good for insect control, it's good for people, and it's good for crops, so it's all win-win," Collins said. "If you have a mosquito problem in your yard, this might be a natural, safe solution that you want to consider."
Collins noted that much of the information the commission will be sharing is from the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection's website, www.ct.gov/deep, which she said is a "great resource" for residents to learn more about animals and the environment.
At the event, Collins hopes to dismiss any misinterpretations residents have about the dangers of bats.
"Mainly it's to let people know that bats are not something to be afraid of and that they don't swoop at you and drink your blood," she said, laughing. "They really help manage some of the [insect] populations and they're beautiful to watch in the evening."
Because there are only about 20 bat kits, Collins reminds residents that it is a first-come, first-served event for those looking to receive the bat houses. The event is free and will occur rain or shine under the pavilion.