My name is Kurt Sigler; I am a Life Scout of Harrington Park Boy Scout Troop 616. For my Eagle project I created and installed twelve bat houses around Harrington Park to help increase the bat population. There are a few reasons why I think the bat population is important and why bats around the eastern United States are in need of protection.
Bats are a huge asset to the environment because of several reasons. A bat can eat over 1,000 insects in one hour, and around 3,000 in one night. About half of that number are mosquitos, harmful insects that can spread a potentially deadly disease, the West Nile Virus. Fewer mosquitos means less pesticides and less disease being spread. This is all good for the environment. Unfortunately, bats that live year-round in New Jersey, like the Eastern Pipistrelle and Little Brown Bat, are prone to a winter fungal disease called the White Nose Syndrome.
This disease has killed thousands of bats every winter. It is called the White Nose Syndrome because a white fungus grows on the bat’s nose due to the disease making it look white. This is a cold loving fungus that deteriorates a bat’s skin tissue and connective tissue.
My project is designed to help shelter bats from this disease and to bring down mosquito populations around Northern Valley to greatly help the environment. My project is also eco-friendly, using wood materials with no harmful chemicals or by-products. Each box should last around ten to fifteen years. Each box is bio-degradable so no harm to the environment will take place. The houses have the potential to hold 150 or more bats collectively.
The project was completed 11/17/13. You can see the bat boxes at Pondside Park Field (pictured here in November and December), at Highland Field, and at the Swim Club. Hopefully these boxes will hold thousands of healthy bats over the next years!