14 Jan

WVU Tech and Bridgemont Community and Technical College, in partnership with the Morris Creek Watershed Association, will be holding a “Day of Service” on Monday, January 21 in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

“We will be building bird houses and bat houses, which participants may keep or donate to the Morris Creek Watershed Association to be placed throughout the watershed,” said Jeanne Smith, dean of student services at Bridgemont. “We are thrilled to provide this opportunity for all of those in the Greater Montgomery Community to come together for a service event, especially one suitable for all ages.”

WVU Tech’s Dr. Deborah Beutler, associate professor of biology, explained the role of these creatures in our community, and the importance of appropriate housing in their environment. “Bats are important to humans because they eat the insects that irritate us. For example, one little brown bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour; they are voracious predators of insects. Bats are nocturnal so they need a place to roost during the day. In the forest, bats roost in caves and rotten, hollow trees. In human-dominated habitats, bats can also use mines and chimneys as roosts. However, humans are eliminating roosting sites for bats by removing hollow trees, closing chimneys, and closing the entrances to mines and caves.”

Beutler continued, “The bird houses will be used by birds that are also insect eaters. Traditionally, they nested in rotting trees and the cavities made by other birds. However, they are frequently outcompeted for those cavities by European Starlings, a bird species introduced to the U.S. by humans. The bird houses we are making have a small opening and provide a nest site for the native cavity nesters. The starlings are too big to fit in the opening.”

The collaborative environmental stewardship event is free and open to the public and will be held in the lobby of Davis Hall at Bridgemont Community and Technical College from 2 – 5 pm. For more information, please contact Jeanne Smith at 304.734.6617 or email jsmith@bridgemont.edu.

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