Community bat programs and outreach is the backbone to creating awareness and empowering citizens to do their part for the betterment of western bats.
Our community bat programs and outreach efforts provide a direct conduit between the research and science and the general public to create awareness, dispel myths, and educate about bats and their vital role in society. In partnership with the Alberta Government, WCS Canada created the Alberta Community Bat Program and continues to support this innovative program. We also provide vital support for the Kootenay Community Bat Program a part of the province-wide BC Community Bat Program.
Citizen science opportunities with either of these organizations are unique opportunities to learn by doing, and contribute to the growing number of people who volunteer their time to further knowledge about bats in Alberta and BC.
We are working especially close with western Canada community bat programs as we learn more about batboxes and how well bats fare in them. Guidance surrounding the use of these structures is changing as we learn more. We are also gearing up to work with landowners, citizen scientists and bat ambassadors of the community bat programs to potentially upscale WNS Prophylaxis applications at bat boxes and building roosts across BC in the near future.
Alberta Community Bat Program:
The Alberta Community Bat Program (ACBP) is a program of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, which was started in collaboration with Alberta Environment and Parks, along with the Alberta Bat Action Team. The ACBP was modelled after highly successful community bat programs in British Columbia (e.g., www.bcbats.ca), and continues to work closely with counterparts in BC for the development of program materials. Community bat programs in BC, as well as Bat Action Teams in both BC and Alberta, have been instrumental in creating science-based guidelines and best practices widely used by government, industry and conservation groups in both provinces.
The ACBP is coordinated by bat biologist and WCS Canada contractor Cory Olson in collaboration with many other partnering biologists and organizations.
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Kootenay Community Bat Program:
The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP), one of the many bat programs of the BC Community Bat Program, was established in 2004 with the goal of raising awareness about bat conservation, conducting inventories of bats in buildings, working with landowners who have bats, and promoting the Annual Bat Count. Since the program’s inception, they have delivered hundreds of educational programs to community groups and schools, visited over 700 properties with bats in buildings, identified key summer roost sites, and supported 39 sites where bat counts are completed.
The KCBP works in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society, WCS Canada and the BC Conservation Foundation to administer the program. The Kootenay Community Bat Project gratefully acknowledges funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Fund and the Public Conservation Assistance Fund.
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Neighbourhood Bat Watch, a Canada-wide citizen science organization. Batwatch.ca