Bat Squad's Alexis "Batgirl" Valentine shares with us an innovated way her high school raised money and awareness for bat conservation.
The Gatlinburg-Pittman High School chapter of the Friends of the Smokies (FOS) school club participated in Bat Week by hosting an annual fundraiser. This is the second year that we have done the fundraiser. Former graduate, Sterling Fisher, started the club when he attended GPHS. He was looking for a project for our chapter to work on for the month of October and found out about Bat Conservation Month. He wanted to find a way to increase awareness of the threats to bats, plus to raise some funds to help protect them.
During Bat Week this year, student FOS members sold bat cut outs during their lunch breaks. The bats were then placed on the wall for everyone to see in the cafeteria. Last year FOS raised exactly $200 and this year we raised $206.75. We have collected just over $400 for our bat awareness projects. All donations are sent to the Friends of the Smokies main chapter and will go towards bat conservation.
Art teacher Alice Fisher, FOS school representative, said The money that we raise is wonderful, but I feel making the students aware of the threats bat face is even more important. If we can educate the students about bat conservation and teach them to care about protecting bat populations in the Park, then we could have an even more profound impact.”
Bat conservation is very close to my heart because Ive studied bats since I was in third grade. Bats are very important to the environment and they need our help. I am now a freshman at GPHS and a proud member of the Friends of the Smokies student chapter.
Support bats & let them flap!
By Alexis Valentine