$998 of $1,000 goal
Recently, my 7-year-old’s school was visited by some conservationists from the SaveLucytheBat campaign ( http://savelucythebat.org/), which works to raise awareness and funds to research the White-Nose Syndrome that is currently decimating the native bat populations, many of which are already endangered. Additionally they rescue and rehabilitate bats in the area. They spoke to the kids about the incredibly important role that bats have within our ecosystem and brought a couple of rescued little ones with them for the kids to see, one of whom, they were told, inexplicably refused (or was unable for some reason) to fly.
We planned out all of the technical aspects of the event- things we could sell, how we could get the word out, important facts about bats to teach others who are interested, transportation, and everything else fairly quickly. As we had hoped to do this for Halloween weekend we had themes, decorations, costumes. Then we started looking for a venue.
And that is when we started wondering how other people do this, especially when it is the children who want to help. The first half of the locations we contacted did not want their shoppers and visitors to be bothered outside of their establishments. Ok, we get it. The other half were booked for months in advance by groups such as the Boy Scouts. The local parks, which benefit greatly from the irreplaceable role of bats in nature, wanted to charge a 7-year-old $112 to sell his cookies to raise funds to save them. And, of course, there is the fee charged by the Health Department to apply for their permit as well.
We found all of this to be incredibly discouraging, for many reasons, the saddest of them all being that these types of things make it so difficult for even a little kid to try to help his environment and community. If this already is such an uphill battle, how do we encourage our kids, the future generation who will have the greatest burden so far of environmental clean-up and protection and teach them that this is possible? So far all my son has learned is that once one hurdle has been overcome, another larger one looms in its place. And while some things do work like that in life, it should not be like this in this situation. Personally I think policies should be in place to make it as simple as possible for kids to learn to volunteer, give to, and raise funds for charities and non-profit organisations. If they do not learn to care for the world better than the previous generations have, there truly is no hope.
So we have decided to try out this site to raise funds for Lucy the bat and the other bats, who are currently in a desperate situation, and many of which are already endangered. If you can, please help us raise funds to fight WNS (more info on that and bats below). Funds will be donated to SaveLucyTheBat campaign ( http://savelucythebat.org/).
A wee bit about bats:
Fascinating winged creatures of the night, bats are the only true flying mammals on Earth and provide many useful services to humans, including free, nontoxic pest control of many bugs that attack farm crops, forests and people. In fact, scientists recently calculated that the pest-control services of bats are worth a whopping $3.7 to $5.3 billion annually to American agriculture.
But alarmingly, bats are in serious trouble in North America, due to a fast-spreading disease that’s decimating their populations. White-nose syndrome, as this new illness is called, kills only bats and does not pose a health threat to humans. Funding for research has been extremely sparse, probably because people don’t understand the critical role of bats in healthy ecosystems. Without more research, there can be no hope of finding an effective treatment for this malady, and it’s likely that several bat species will go extinct in the near future.
More than 1 million bats have already died since the disease was first discovered in 2006, and it has spread from the Northeast United States to the Midwest. If anyone feels like they want to do more to help (and this is a great thing for kids to do!), write to your congressman to encourage Congress to fund white-nose syndrome research and management. It’s a small price to pay to save ourselves from billions of dollars in costs to farmers — and the likelihood that pesticide use will go up — if we lose our bats.