On Wednesday, June 8th, a bat box was installed near the wetlands located by the Saint Vincent Gristmill. The project is sponsored by a partnership between Saint Vincent College, CNX Resources Corporation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Dr. Jim Kellam, associate professor of biology in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing; Daniel Bitz, C’05, director of surface asset strategy from CNX Resources; and Dr. Jeff Mallory, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Saint Vincent College assisted with the installation.
The installed bat box contains seven chambers, also called 7-chamber PGC boxes, that can hold the capacity of several hundred bats. The designated boxes create a roosting place away from buildings and a safe shelter for protection from white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats.
“Bats consume large quantities of mosquitos and other flying insects and in doing so, provide people valuable pest control services,” noted Dr. Kellam. “Bats have faced a decline in population due to white-nose syndrome. By providing this bat box at Saint Vincent, we are working to conserve these fascinating animal inhabitants.”
CNX Resources partners with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to identify the best design and locations for the boxes. The locations are chosen based on habitat, distance from hazards, solar exposure and food source components. Over the course of a few days, CNX Resources constructs the boxes, using aluminum shells designed and fabricated by AccuTrex. The shells provide a durability aspect to house bats in the years to come.
“Each year, we reach out to communities with the hopes of installing three new boxes per year. The project is in its third year, and we have had about six different community partners thus far, seven including Saint Vincent,” said Bitz. “Positive messaging and new bat housing options are two important parts of this project.”