News Releases

May 21, 2013

VT Departments of Corrections, Fish & Wildlife Partner for Bat Conservation

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has partnered with the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor to help save Vermont’s bats. Inmates involved in a work crew program recently built 50 bat houses that state biologists are using to provide daytime roosting sites for bats. The bat houses were given away at this year’s Herrick’s Cove Wildlife Festival to attendees who regularly observe bats near their home.

This is not the first time that Fish & Wildlife biologist Forrest Hammond has partnered with the correctional facility to improve habitat for Vermont’s wildlife. According to Paul Brosseau, work crew foreman supervisor at the correctional facility, Hammond had previously worked with the staff to release apple trees on the facility’s 964 acre grounds.

“This project educated these inmates about the problems Vermont’s bat populations are facing,” said Brosseau. “They were very happy to help and to give back to the community.” An additional 150 more houses are under construction, according to Brosseau.

Funds for the hardware and materials were donated by the Windsor Coon Hunters Association, whose clubhouse sits adjacent to the correctional facility. The inmates in this program are not paid for their work, but they are able to potentially reduce their sentences when it is coupled with good behavior.

Vermont’s six cave-bat species began disappearing in 2008 from white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has rapidly spread to virtually all of the state’s bat caves. White-nose syndrome has caused bat populations to decline as much as 90 percent in a single year.

Bats are also increasingly excluded from traditional roosting sites such as attics and barns as people improve their home insulation. Bat houses provide an alternative site for bats to roost during the daylight hours.

The Fish & Wildlife Department is encouraging homeowners with bat colonies in their buildings to contact Alyssa Bennett by phone at 802-786-0098 or via email at alyssa.bennett@state.vt.us. To learn more about building your own bat house, go to www.vtfishandwildlife.com/wildlife_bats.cfm.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: May 21, 2013 08:12:40