Bees, Bats and Habitats Forum a Success!

News articles about our bee and bat populations in the last decade repeatedly emphasize the staggering losses of these populations and the many perils that have caused them: habitat loss, disease, pesticide use impacting bee populations, white-nose syndrome decimating bat populations, and the list goes on. On Friday, June 12, over 55 members of the public, from throughout the Windham Region, attended a forum entitled "Bees, Bats, and Habitats," at the Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro, VT.

News articles about our bee and bat populations in the last decade repeatedly emphasize the staggering losses of these populations and the many perils that have caused them: habitat loss, disease, pesticide use impacting bee populations, white-nose syndrome decimating bat populations, and the list goes on. On Friday, June 12, over 55 members of the public, from throughout the Windham Region, attended a forum entitled "Bees, Bats, and Habitats," at the Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro, VT.

Our first speaker, Alyssa Bennett, Small Mammals Biologist at VT Fish and Wildlife Department, shared information about bat biology, the 9 species of bats in Vermont, and recent findings about the white-nose syndrome. While the drastic 90% decline in bat populations has been devastating, the rate of decline has slowed in recent years and some individual bats have survived multiple years despite being exposed to the disease. This leads researchers to hope that remaining individuals have greater resistance to the disease. Bennett encourages all of us to learn how to respond if we discover a bat in need, to contact the VT Fish and Wildlife Department if bats are found in a building (and especially if you have a need to remove them from the building), and to put up bat houses in backyards to provide roost sites for these pest-eating creatures. With many of our bat species reliant upon forests, she stressed the importance of maintaining good forest habitat.

Jodi Turner, Owner of Imagine that Honey, spoke next, sharing her passion for bees and other pollinators. There is a growing body of evidence that pesticide use is contributing significantly to the decimation of bee populations. Turner shared that while far more work needs to be done, the White House issued the Presidential Memorandum -- Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators in June 2014 as a first and important step. The memorandum commits to organizing a task force to develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy to protect and support pollinator populations. Each one of us can support pollinators in our backyards by creating habitat. Some simple things to start: plant flowering species (especially if done strategically), avoid (or eliminate!) the use of pesticides, and be mindful of the plants and seeds that you purchase at any garden supply store (many have been treated with pesticides).

This event was cosponsored by the WRC's Natural Resources Committee, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife, Imagine that Honey, Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District, Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center, The Nature Museum at Grafton, and the Pollinator Awareness Initiative. If you would like additional information and/or resources to get you started in supporting bat and bee populations, please contact Kim Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (802) 257-4547 ext. 108.

Last Updated on 29 June 2015
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