Wind and Wings: Sustainable Wind Energy Development and Bat Conservation

Bats provide important ecosystem services humans rely on, yet many of our actions threaten bat survival. Nebraska has 13 species of bats, seven of which are listed as At-risk. Whether the bats are residents or migrating through Nebraska, they are all insectivores and consume thousands of insects every night. By consuming agricultural and forest insect pests, bats provide natural pest control, reducing the need for pesticide application by farmers and use of bug-spray for personal protection. Throughout the United States, bats are threatened by wind energy facilities, white-nose syndrome, habitat loss, and pesticide use. Bats are not well-understood by most people and many people harbor misconceptions that can be detrimental to bats.

Goals

The goal of this project is provide the public with information about bat conservation and wind energy through workshops and informational signs. A series of workshops targeting teachers and after-school educators will be held in Nebraska communities. Workshop participants will be provided with the skills, materials, and confidence needed to incorporate bat conservation education at their schools and in their communities. Local bat experts and educators will lead the workshops and provide continuing support through the development of web resources. An informational sign will be developed and displayed at parks and other public locations throughout Nebraska. Reaching as many members of the public with the information is the goal. Therefore, the sign will be designed in a manner that it can be adapted to fit different display cases and will freely be available for use by interested organizations.

Because both bat conservation and wind energy will continue to be prominent issues in Nebraska in the future, we aim to provide information that will empower people to conserve bats and provide a lasting impact on Nebraska communities.
Principal Investigator(s)
-Victoria Chraibi, Caroline Jezierski, Lindsay Rogers
Funding
-Fullbright Canada-RBC Eco-Leadership Program