Bats Research Project

The Land Trust Asks our Community to

“Go to Bat” for the bats.

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust has been approved to receive $ 104,000.00 in funding over the next two years by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund (OSARSF).

The primary focus of the grant will be identifying various bat species and their populations in Haliburton County.  Bat populations have declined by more than 90% at some hibernation sites and most of the hibernation sites are at risk. We need to find out what we have left”, said Paul Heaven, wildlife biologist and principal investigator for the “Bat Project”.

The Land Trust is asking community members to report any bat observations from this year to Paul Heaven, or 705-286-3181. Also, if you remember seeing large numbers of bats at a specific location, please report that information.  The Land Trust monitors all Species at Risk (SAR) in the County, so please continue to submit all SAR observations to Paul as well.

Observations and documentation will also take place on the four properties (approximately 700 acres) that the Land Trust currently owns, manages and protects.  “We are very excited about this project and the opportunity to further document Species at Risk on our properties and in our community.  We are also pleased that we have the funds to make some small but hopefully significant changes to our turtle barrier, another project that we are very proud of” said Mary Lou Gerstl,  Chair of the Land Trust.

Despite popular sayings, bats are neither blind nor crazy.  But they are in trouble. Four out of eight species in Haliburton County are now listed as ENDANGERED.  Populations of bats around North America are declining, in part due to White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that disrupts their life cycles. Very little is known about bat populations in Haliburton County.

Bats play an important role in the environment.  Bats help farmers, gardeners and foresters by consuming countless insect pests thereby protecting our crops, gardens and forests from potential damage.  Bats can consume thousands of mosquitoes in one night.  Learn more about these fascinating, beneficial creatures by attending a presentation on bats at the Minden Cultural Centre on June 7 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

Join the Land Trust on Saturday, July 8 at Abbey Gardens from 10:00am to noon to build your own bat box to help reduce the number of biting insects on your property.  Kits will be supplied.  Registration will be limited so don’t be disappointed.  Register today by going to out Events tab, bats workshop registration.

Last year the Land Trust completed a three-year project that was testing a unique barrier wall designed to keep turtles off the road in order to reduce turtle road mortality. The wall has proven to be a huge success, significantly reducing the number of turtles accessing the road. This year as a component of the 2017 OSARSF grant, the Land Trust will erect a second curved end midway along the wall to determine whether this will redirect more turtles back towards the underpass.