When Timothy Clancy read a newspaper article about how White-nose Syndrome was killing countless bats, he decided that “bats need my help.” So he went to work building bat houses and designing a bumper sticker to raise money for BCI’s WNS Emergency Response Fund. Pretty impressive, right? Now consider that Tim is 12 years old.
The Rehoboth, Massachusetts, youngster said he wanted desperately to help scientists solve the puzzle of this mysterious ailment that has devastated bat-hibernation sites in the northeastern United States. But what can a kid do?
Well, Tim found plans for a bat house on BCI’s website and spent the summer building 20 of them. He sold 19, raising about $400 after the cost of materials. He donated the remaining bat house to the nearby Capron Zoo.
Next, he designed a bumper sticker to help inform the public about WNS and “sold them to the people who did not want bat houses but wanted to support my cause. These sold especially well at numerous summer parties for people who wanted to make small donations. I made over $100 selling the bumper stickers after the cost of printing.”
That added up to Tim’s $500 donation to the BCI fund that provides emergency support for scientists seeking the causes and possible solutions to WNS.
But that wasn’t enough for Tim. He also made 60 bat-holding bags for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to secure bats that are captured for WNS research. “Each bag was handcrafted from bed sheets,” he says.
Finally, came what Tim calls “the best part of this project.” He wondered if BCI could help him visit a local university that was doing “actual research” on bats. We called Tom Kunz of Boston University, a leading bat researcher and BCI Science Advisor who is studying WNS. Kunz arranged for Tim to accompany graduate student Jonathan Reichard on an expedition to a bat colony.
“We visited a known hibernaculum, a cave where bats hibernate, in Vermont. We measured body conditions of the little brown bat. Despite the 45-minute hike up the mountain, it was still fantastic. It was exhilarating to gain firsthand experience in the research which I helped support.”
Follow Tim’s example and support BCI’s WNS Emergency Response Fund. Please donate now at www.batcon.org/wnsdonate.