“It is unfortunate that the average person has a deep prejudice against the bat. Without looking or thinking for himself, he accepts a lot of absurd tales about the winged one, and passes them on and on, never caring for the injustice he does or the pleasure he loses. I have loved the bat ever since I came to know him; that is, all my mature life. He is the climax of creation in many things, highly developed in brain, marvelously keen in senses, clad in exquisite fur and equipped, above all, with the crowning glory of flight. He is the prototype and the realization of the Fairy of the Wood we loved so much as children, and so hated to be robbed of by grown-ups, who should have known better.
I would give a good deal to have a bat colony where I could see it daily, and would go a long way to meet some new kind of bat.”
So said Ernest Thompson Seton in Wild Animals at Home, a book he wrote in 1913. Seton was one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, and Chief Scout from 1915-1934. He co-authored the first Boy Scout Handbook.
| Ernest Thompson Seton
Since Seton’s time Scouts have continued to be fascinated by bats, and countless hours have been volunteered to aid bat researchers, assist with habitat conservation, and educate others about the importance and wonder of these incredible animals.
BCI has both benefitted from this relationship with scouts, and supported it. See some scout projects that have been featured in our magazine, BATS.
Scouts are helping bats in many other ways:
- In August 2012, a Girl Scout troop and other volunteers planted 1,500 agave plants to provide food for the endangered Lesser long-nosed bats at the Coronado National Memorial in Arizona.
- In 2011, scouts attended an educational seminar in Mississippi and helped mist net 12 red bats.
In this part of our website, you will see how you can help bats or learn about them by earning merit badges and other awards. You will be introduced to some of the Scouts on the BCI staff, and learn how their early days in scouting helped fuel their interests in nature, and helped to prepare them for their careers in conservation. And you will also see examples of scout conservation projects at our own Bracken Bat Cave Preserve. Hopefully these pages will inspire you to also help out furry flying friends!