In honor of 2020’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, GEM Environmental hosted an event through Arizona Serve to create bat houses for the community. Utilizing Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy’s gym, GEM team members and five amazing community volunteers created six bat houses with materials donated by Arizona Serve.
Due to deforestation and habitat degradation, bats may have difficulties finding a safe place to stay and raise their young. With GEM having a focus on environmental conservation, we thought it would be a great idea to help create habitats for bats in the Prescott Community.
Our past AmeriCorps State Member, Kali Plummer, took the lead in creating informational plaques to go along with the bat houses. She also researched bats and created a presentation on them for her senior project at Prescott College. Her passion for this project was a big inspiration for GEM, and we are so happy she got to take a lead in it.
On the day of the event, everyone got to work on different parts of the project to maximize efficiency and highlight everyone’s individualized expertise. Eric Welsh, Joseph Willoughby, and Jason Parker cut out the pieces needed with a wood saw. Then, the volunteers paired up into teams of two and started putting the pieces together. Chicken wire was attached to the inner board to enable bats to clutch onto it while in their new home. Additionally, a small sliver of an opening was left at the bottom of the houses so that only bats could fit into the enclosure. Lastly, the roofs were put on at a slant to ensure rain, snow, and hail would slide off of the top instead of weighing down the structure. All of the volunteers learned how to use new tools, and everyone learned new information regarding what is important to house a bat.
GEM members also enjoyed the project and played vital roles in its success. Past State Member Alex Monksfield, did an amazing job at inviting community members to join and even got her favorite biology teacher to get involved. Jason Parker, another past State Member, appreciated the chance to learn how to use a wood saw and had a lot of fun creating the pieces needed for the bat houses. Madison Link, past VISTA and current Program Coordinator, was astounded to see how small the houses to protect the bats from predators. It is with the help of our amazing AmeriCorps members, GEM staff, partners, and volunteers that we are able to create community projects that keep Prescott a beautiful, safe, and welcoming place for our local wildlife!