I’m Elena, and I’ve been part of the MUTTS family for about 14 years now! I’m also a Girl Scout leader to some animal-loving young ladies. Two of them, Angela (my daughter) and Mackenzi, just completed their Silver Award project — a community service project that’s educational and long lasting. They decided to build bat houses to help increase the bat population and spread awareness about how cool these little mammals are.
They also wanted to make sure other animal lovers know how to make bat houses. (See details/plans below.) Their houses went up in parks in our county here in New Jersey, but yours can go on the side of a building or in your own backyard. If you do make them, we’d love to hear about it! Here’s more information about Angela and Mackenzi’s service project, in their own words:
Why is this issue important to you?
Angela: I think that bats are important animals. They eat many insects (such as mosquitoes), and they also eat fruit and disperse seeds, helping to rehabilitate forests and agriculture. Bats are endangered, and they need homes because humans disturb their habitats. We wanted to help them by building houses and putting them in local parks and fields so they will not be harmed.
How did you gather the knowledge and supplies to build the bat houses?
Mackenzi: After learning that the bats’ homes were being destroyed, we looked up how to make bat houses on the Bat Conservation International website. We then went to Home Depot and Lowe’s Hardware to get donations for our project, and they granted us supplies to make five bat houses. Next, we asked to borrow equipment from our school. Our woodshop teacher kindly agreed for us to use the machines and even helped us build a little. We worked on our houses every Tuesday and Thursday before school until they were done.
Where did you place the completed bat houses?
Mackenzi: We decided to put them in Watchung Reservation (a nature reserve) and in a bird sanctuary where other bat/bird houses are located. We made these arrangements after speaking with Watchung Reservation and presenting our idea at a town council meeting.
How did you educate others in your community about this issue and inspire them to get involved?
Angela: We educated others at our school district’s annual STEM Night, and made a poster and informational coloring pages with bat facts and plans to make bat houses. We also showed our Girl Scout troop how to make bat houses and created a YouTube channel with an informational video. I also made brochures that include bat facts, information about our Silver Award, and instructions on making a bat house (with a link to the plans).
Want to learn more about bat houses? Click here to view or download the informational brochure!
Elena Nazzaro is the Art Director for MUTTS.com. She lives and paints in New Jersey with her three Scouts, her piano-playing husband, and their rescue cat Jedi.