A Bioblitz in Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is hosting a Pollinator BioBlitz from September 23rd to October 8th.

What is a BioBlitz? National Geographic says that a BioBlitz is, “an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.” A BioBlitz is also called a biological inventory or biological census.

Register at the link below to receive information about daily challenges and events:

https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/bioblitz/registration

If you are in Texas, try to take photos or videos of any pollinators you see. Share them on Instagram with the hashtag #TXpollinators or join the Texas Pollinator BioBlitz iNaturalist project.

This is a great way for people of all ages to be citizen scientists and collect data for biologists to study. Pollinators like butterflies, moths, bees, bats, hummingbirds, wasps, flies, and beetles play an important role in sustaining ecosystems. Pollinator populations in North America have been declining, and projects like this aid conservation efforts.

 

The Largest Occupied Bat Houses in the World

    It can be a challenge to get bats to use a bat house. Giant bat houses at the University of Florida house some 350,000 bats, one of the largest urban bat colonies in the world. Relocating bats to those houses took several years and was by no means an easy project.

    After a 1987 grease fire in a cafeteria displaced some 5,000 bats from their roosts in the building’s attic, the university experienced a big problem when the bats decided to relocate to the bleachers of the sports stadium. For three years from 1991 to 1994, the school struggled to get bats to use a giant bat house instead of other campus buildings.

    The Environmental Health and Safety team used guano to attract bats to the house, played recordings of bat sounds from the displaced colony, and even made sure that reflective wallboard wasn’t interfering with echolocation. Their efforts paid off. The University currently has one large bat house and two bat barns.  They are the world’s largest occupied bat houses inhabited by Brazilian free-tailed bats, Southeastern bats, and Evening bats.

    Watching the bats emerge for the evening is a unique and wonderful learning experience. You can get more details about best times to visit here.

For an interesting read about the history of these bat houses check out this article. You can also read more about the specs of the giant bat house here.

 

 

 

A New Housing Development- for Bats

We were excited to read this article about a home builder in the UK partnering with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to create a conservation minded housing development with wildlife highways for hedgehogs and native shrub and wildflower plantings for pollinators and butterflies. The community also features all kinds of wildlife homes like, “”swift boxes, house martin cups, sparrow boxes, a kingfisher/sand martin bank, a barn owl box, bat roost boxes, a loggery, dragon fly perches, wildlife tunnels, bat hop over points, a shallow invertebrate bay and a bug box at each show home.”    

We appreciated Alok Sharma MP’s quote, “To build more homes in this country, we need to encourage innovative approaches to house building so that new developments complement and enhance, rather than threaten, the local and natural environment.”

If you are interested, you can read more about this community here.

hedgehog-child-1759027_1920

This Tree Company Is Doing Something Cool

bat-boxes-1581018_1920

 

One of the challenges of bat house installation, is that they should be mounted a minimum of 12 feet off the ground with 15 to 20 feet being ideal. Given the large size of bat houses, it can certainly be challenging to safely mount them high enough.

We were excited to read that this Tree Works company in Asheville, North Carolina helps mount bat houses.

https://smartfellertreeworks.com/blog/news/bat-houses-and-best-of-wnc/

Some sources advise against mounting bat houses directly on trees. Community Bat Programs of BC advises that you should de-limb around a bat house if you mount it on a tree so that any bats using the house have a clear path in and out of the house and better protection from predators.

http://www.bcbats.ca/index.php/bat-houses/where-to-install-a-bat-house

We do like that there are companies out there thinking about how they can help with bat house installation.

A New Blog for a New Season

    It feels fitting to be starting this blog on the First Day of Fall. My favorite thing about a new season is the excitement of a fresh start and a new beginning. Here at Lantern Hill, we have a lot of the exciting projects in the works. We can’t wait to share what we are working on with you!

    When we first started Lantern Hill, it was my hope that I could create my dream job, filling my days with a little dash of all of the things that I love. I pictured something that would blend product design, writing, and teaching.

    On the day of my college graduation, I received a little medallion that said, “Let Your Light Shine.” We like to think of our work on Lantern Hill as letting our light shine. We want to help you find things that will bring you joy. We want to help you enjoy nature and time with your family.

    We are so appreciative of everyone who has supported our dream of owning a business. Most of all, we hope that we will be able to provide information and resources on this blog that are helpful to you. Sending lots of good thoughts your way as we enter this autumn season!

aaron-burden-43435