An unusual request for volunteer help comes from Wildlife Biologist Tara Chestnut: she needs bat bags...600 of them, as a matter of fact, and if you're adept with a sewing machine, you can help out.
You've undoubtedly heard about White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease which is devastating bat populations across the country. It has been reported in Washington in several areas including one just 30 miles north of Mount Rainier National Park. Tara and her team will be capturing bats next spring in order to test them for the disease, and that's where the bat bags come in. Each bat captured will need to be retained in a bag until they have been examined for evidence of White-Nose Syndrome, and since there is a risk of transferring the disease from one bat to another, the bags cannot be reused until they have been thoroughly washed. You can read more about White-Nose Syndrome in this NPS article.
Tara gives the specifics based on a commercially-produced holding bag. "It's a simple rectangular bag, sewn with a finished hem (a turn under hem - folded over twice with a runner stitch - is simple and easy) and sturdy ribbon tie. The material needs to be cotton but I'm okay with any pattern (given that it's near Halloween, I suspect there are lots of fun bat themed fabrics available). The ribbon tie can be any material that will hold up to boiling water and lots of washing."
If you're interested in bat conservation and want to help in a tangible way, please contact Tara_Chestnut@nps.gov for more details.
|Photo courtesy of US Forest Service|