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Project Edubat Inspires Kids to Learn about Bats and White-Nose Syndrome

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Project Edubat Inspires Kids to Learn about Bats and White-Nose Syndrome

Published on February 25, 2015

Children look at bat skeleton“Bats ROCK!” said third-grader Samantha Colaw. Samantha, daughter of schoolteacher Julie Colaw, became a bat crusader after her mother discovered Project Edubat, a newly launched educational program about these often-misunderstood flying mammals funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and supported by partners including Bat Conservation International.

The brainchild of Cindy Sandeno of the U.S. Forest Service and fellow bat enthusiasts, Project Edubat includes curricula that meet national educational requirements for students in elementary grades through high school. Posters, activities and presentations are available on-line and more than 30 educational bat trunks are available across the country for educators to check out for hands-on learning. Trunks include bat skeletons and skulls, books, videos, brochures, and materials to create a bat mural and other fun craft activities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosts Edubat trunks at nine locations around the country. Most sites service multiple states, so with the cost of shipping, a trunk is available anywhere within the U.S.

Samantha and her class projectVisit for information on the program and how you may borrow a trunk.

The on-line Calculate the Value of Bats caught the eye of Samantha Colaw. “Cindy pointed us to the Edubat activities,” Julie Colaw said, “and Samantha took it from there. She was so excited that she did a social studies project about the economics of bats and won first place at the school level. In March she’ll compete at the county level.”

“This is just what we envisioned when we set out to develop Edubat,” said Sandeno. “As a wildlife biologist, I know that bats are fascinating animals vital to our environment, our economy and us. But I also know that not all people think that way. It’s hard to protect something you don’t feel connected to, so we wanted to foster connections between young people and bats with high-quality easy-to-use, fun tools.”

Such tools have never been more important. Forty percent of bat species in the United States are endangered or considered at risk and about six million bats have recently died from an emerging disease called white-nose syndrome. Project Edubat not only explores white-nose syndrome, but encourages people to become involved in the fight against the disease. “Bats need our help now,” said Sandeno. Project Edubat is conservation through education.”

Other partners include Project Underground, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Organization for the Conservation of Bats, Prince William Network, U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center and Speleobooks. 


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