Bats, their benefits to the landscape and their behaviors, will be the topic of discussion this coming Friday at Pipe Spring National Monument in Arizona.
The program, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will include trapping bats over some of the ponds at the national monument.
These much maligned but fascinating creatures don't deserve the bad rap they often get. A large colony of bats can eat literally tons of insects in one night, saving American farmers billions of dollars by consuming crop-destroying pests. Some varieties pollinate valuable plants; others disperse seeds that help restore rainforests.
But bats have been in trouble recently, as a fungal disease has been sweeping the country from east to west the past five years. The disease -- White-nose Syndrome -- does not affect humans, but humans who visit caves that bats inhabit can spread the fungus to other caves on their clothing and equipment.
During the program at Pipe Spring, rangers and biologists from the National Park
Service and Southern Utah University will be trapping bats over the monument's ponds. You will be able to see bats up close and personal, learn about the different species in the local area, and find out how and why biologists study them.
If you plan to attend, it's suggested that you bring a lawn chair to sit on, a
flashlight, and water to drink.
Regular entrance fees will apply - $5 per person 16 and older (younger are free). Interagency Annual, Senior, and Access passes are accepted and sold at Pipe Spring. Pipe Spring National Monument is 15 miles west of Fredonia, Arizona on AZ highway 389. It is 45 miles east of Hurricane, Utah on UT highway 59 and AZ
highway 389. For more information, please call Andrea Bornemeier at 928-643-7105, or visit our website at www.nps.gov/pisp