Boy Scouts Build Bat Houses To Help Declining Bat Population in Northern Minnesota

Bats are a crucial part of the Northern Minnesota ecosystem.

HERMANTOWN, Minn.- Boy Scouts at the Voyageurs Area Council partnered with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Minnesota Power to start making 70 houses for a different type of resident in need — bats.

“It’s kind of a little condo for bats,” said Michael Jenkins, Scout Executive.

The sound of machines cutting wood and the smell of fresh wet paint are reminiscent of a Habitat for Humanity project. But this time, humanity is building homes for their flying furry friends.

“To protect them and give them a safe place to have their babies and get through the winter and not be endangered by predators,” Jenkins said.

According to experts, the bat houses or bat boxes should help the declining bat population in Northern Minnesota.

“Without us helping them we just take away everything from them so it’s, I mean it’s good to give back, even the small bats or whatever it’s just anything, anything you can give back,” said boy scout Bryce Hipp.

The boxes sit on top of 16 ft wooden poles and are painted jet black to mimic the high, narrow, and dark space between bark and a tree trunk — a bat’s ideal nursery spot.

“There’s several layers to it there’s some little holes that they can crawl through but they’re specifically designed for the bats to get in and out of, and not other animals to get in an out of, so that they’re protected,” Jenkins said.

From cutting and drilling holes into the wood to painting, the scouts are each responsible for each step in the process to bring the homes together.

“These kids have been locked in for far too long,” Jenkins said. “You get whatever work you get out of them, which we do get plenty of work out of them, but we enjoy watching them just enjoy being together.”

Bats are a crucial part of the Northern Minnesota ecosystem, playing a key role in pollinating plants and eating upwards of a thousand small insects in just one night.

“The bat is very important to the habitat, it’s very important to other animals, it’s very important to people,” said the Scout Executive.

And the bat box builders are excited to see their work pay off when the houses are posted near Island Lake.

“It’s going to remind me of the things that I did today and it’s going to show, help remind other people that giving back is going to be a great thing to do,” Hipp said.

“So it’s just, it’s going to be a nice thing to know that I helped with that right there, so it’s just a reminder of what I’ve done,” he said.

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