Public invited on trek to learn about Glacier’s bats, their adaptations, and threats they face

West Glacier, MT – Glacier National Park invites bat lovers to the Going Batty Field Trip on Wednesday, July 10, in West Glacier. The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 8:00 p.m. until around 11:30 pm.

Participants on the late-night field trip will have a chance to learn more about bats, their amazing adaptations, and how researchers capture and identify bats. Participants will visit a site known for bat activity and will use electronic equipment to detect the ultrasonic calls of bats flying overhead. Researchers also will deploy mist nets to capture bats for closer inspection.

Lisa Bate, a wildlife biologist at Glacier National Park, and Lewis Young, a retired U.S. Forest Service biologist, will demonstrate the equipment and handle bats captured in mist nets. They will also share information about bat adaptations and threats to bat populations. Field trip participants will not touch or handle the bats.

A Little Brown Bat clings to the gloved thumb of a Glacier National Park Researcher. (NPS Photo)

Bats make up one-fourth of all mammalian species found on Earth. They range in size from the tiny bumblebee bat, weighing less than a penny, to flying foxes, which can have a wingspan of up to six feet. In Glacier, biologists have recorded nine species of bats, including three species added recently through the park’s ongoing bat inventory and monitoring efforts. These efforts are critical, as bats face several significant threats, including a fungus that causes a deadly disease in bats known as white-nose syndrome.

Field trip leaders ask that all attendees bring their own headlamps or flashlights, and wear sturdy shoes and suitable clothing for weather conditions. Participants also are encouraged to bring a small backpack with food, water, extra clothing layers, and bear spray.

This field trip is limited to 25 participants. Registration is required. For more information and to sign up, contact Renata Harrison at 406-888-7944 or renata_harrison@nps.gov.

Visit the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center events page and Citizen Science press release for more information about other learning opportunities offered to the public this summer.

Glacier National Park Conservancy and its donors make this and other projects possible through their support.