If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate Halloween this year, I have the perfect idea. Adopt a vampire bat.
As most gardeners know, bats play a vital role in our environment and our agricultural economy. They disperse seeds, pollinate crops, and feast on insects. Our world as gardeners—and consumers—wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have bats.
And bats need our help now more than ever. It’s not just the loss of habitat and over-use of pesticides, but bats are facing a more terrifying prospect called White-nose Syndrome.
This cold-loving fungus is responsible for killing millions of bats over the last four years and millions more could die because of it. Scientists and researchers are working to find a way to stop it, but no solution has been found.
That’s one reason why the United Nations has stepped in to raise awareness of the bat’s plight around the world. The UN has designated 2011-2012 as The Year of the Bat to help spread the word about the importance of these fuzzy flying mammals.
There are a number of ways you can help bats with your gardening efforts. One way is to plant a wildlife garden that attracts moths and beetles, some of a bat’s favorite foods. Another way to help is to install one or more bat houses in your landscape.
You can also help by supporting the educational efforts of the Organization for Bat Conservation. This non-profit group offers bat conservation programs and helps care for injured and orphaned bats.
As a special Halloween treat, please consider adopting one of the OBC resident bats that serves as an ambassador for the group’s educational programs. I recently renewed the adoption papers for my little Brown Bat and I have his picture hanging right above my desk.