Yvaine Stelmack, 18, gives a presentation about bats and bat conservation at the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library on Aug. 7. After the presentation attendees helped to build bat boxes that will be put up in golf courses around town as habitat. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake Library transforms into bat box workshop

A bat box build and info session was held Aug. 7 raised awareness to bat conservation and importance

The Sylvan Lake Municipal Library’s programming room was turned into a makeshift workshop Wednesday afternoon.

The library, alongside Yvaine Stelmack, held a bat box building and information session on Aug. 7.

The information session, presented by Stelmack, taught the basics of what a bat is, the importance of bats and protecting the bat population.

“It’s important to teach people that because we are very much connected to bats,” said Stelmack in an interview, adding the bats help our economy through the agriculture and forestry industry by removed pests.

“Some farmers who actually put up bat boxes in their property have reduced the amount of pesticides they need to get so there’s less chemicals on our food,” Stelmack said.

Her session also focused on what bats are, which species are native to Alberta and why people shouldn’t be afraid of them.

“There’s really nothing to be scared of,” said Stelmack. “They’re tiny little creatures which are very beneficial to us so just kind of spreading education in that way is really important.”

White-nose Syndrome was another big topic in her presentation.

The fungus, which was introduced to North America in 2006, causes a build up on the bats nose and wings. Once a bat catches the syndrome it will die within the next two years.

As of now there has been no cases in Alberta, but with no cure White-nose Syndrome has been continuing to spread over the years.

After the presentation attendees had the opportunity to build bat houses and do bat themed crafts.

The six bat houses will be put up in golf courses around town to create habitat.

There were three sizes of bat house made on Wednesday, with the large being able to hold up to 300 bats.

“A lot of times, like you’ll see around our like, a lot of the woods have kind of been cleared like near the like front and those are prime habitat for bats,” said Stelmack of the importance of bat houses. “They really love freshwater sources because that’s where a lot of insects have larval stages.”

Those looking for more information on bats or their own bat houses can got to the Alberta Community Bat Program website.

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Sawyer Llewellyn, four, works on painting one of the six bat houses completely black. The bat houses need to be black to attract the sun and provide warmth for the bats living inside. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Lennix Carriss, six, colours a photo of a bat on the floor of the library’s programming room on Aug. 7. Alongside the bat box building there was a selection of bat themed crafts to do. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

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