Going Batty

Neil Brier, who teaches eighth-grade Life Skills classes at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan NH USA, has been using the Giraffe Heroes Program for several years. The most unusual service project his kids have chosen to do involves bats. The kids got interested in bats when an old school nearby was converted into an inn. The largest bat population in New England was living in the building's attic. To head off the possible execution of the bats, the kids decided to educate the community on how cool bats are.

They did presentations throughout the community, explaining the bat's role in the ecosystem (one bat eats 2,000 mosquitoes every night and bat guano is excellent fertilizer). The kids discovered that one of the school's maintenance workers was a bat hobbyist who was eager to teach them how to make and place bathouses; the woodshop teacher helped the kids build them. The students enlisted the cooperation of the inn's owners and were allowed to make and place bathouses around the inn building. Instead of being killed, the bats moved from the attic to attractive new housing.