SBG May update, vAGM, SomerBat @Home, Bats & Covid-19 info

Dear Bat Group Member,

We hope you are keeping well, and staying positive in these difficult times.

In this newsletter we bring you the outcomes from our first ever virtual AGM, as well as several BCT updates, and details of online training for the Bats in Churches project.

Bats have been prominent in the press recently, and hence we have published a page on our website to provide links to key information on Bats and Covid-19.

SomerBat @Home

With many of us having more time on our hands, it is an excellent chance to get out and really study the Bats on our doorsteps.   Lothian Bat group, are running a “Lockdown Bat Survey” on 5th May, which got us thinking we could do something similar.

So please do get out, and survey the Bats in your garden, or from your window, over one (or many) nights during May.  Then simply post your results on our Facebook group! 

Somerset Bat Group virtual AGM

All members were invited to take part in a virtual AGM via email, and our many thanks to all those who took part.  The virtual process seemed to be well received and one member commented: “Loving all the electronic systems! Thank you!”

The minutes of the vAGM have now be written up, and are published on the website.

SBG Membership 2020

Normally memberships expire at the AGM, and we would now be asking members to renew for 2020/21.  However at the vAGM we discussed that in these difficult times, it is not the right time to do this.

Hence the AGM passed a proposal that anyone who joined in 2019, have their membership extended until next years AGM (24th April 2021).

BCT Bat Group update

The BCT have just sent us the latest bulletin for Bat Group members

Extracts from April edition of the Bat Monitoring Post

“We hope that you are keeping well and are in both good health and spirits despite the current challenging circumstances.   COVID-19 has had impacts on NBMP surveys this summer, you can find our statement here.

In summary, all survey activities which can’t be done on your own property have been suspended until further notice. We will advise as soon as the situation changes.

Bat Conservation Trust’s Response to COVID-19

As is the case for many organisations, the staff at BCT are now all working from home. We are still here and available to contact, however some of the work which we do is now being carried out at reduced capacity.  A summary of the implications of COVID-19 for the day-to-day operations of the trust can be found on our website. We will be updating this webpage regularly.

During this time we have still been working hard, with a particular focus on challenging the false information being spread about bats in some circles, and continuing to promote bat conservation. Since the beginning of the outbreak we have published a COVID-19 and Bats Q&A on our website, as well as a number of news pieces, including an article providing the facts about COVID-19 in relation to bats and an earlier piece focusing on the benefits bats bring to ecosystems and human societies. We also joined 240 other organisations in calling for a ban on wildlife markets, which are believed to be where the COVID-19 pandemic originated, and are part of the Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks which has published a couple of interesting blogs addressing the misconceptions around bats and COVID-19. Going forward we will continue to be a strong voice promoting the conservation of bats both in Britain and on the international scene.

Sunset/Sunrise Survey – Take Part at Home

Although it is a difficult situation which we currently find ourselves in, it does give us the opportunity to spend more time taking notice of the wildlife found right on our doorstep (sometimes literally!). Why not take part in the Sunset/Sunrise Survey from your window, balcony or private garden and help record bats and other nocturnal wildlife around your home which can so easily be overlooked.

To take part, simply download the survey form from our website and get going!

Silent Cities project – Call for Participants

Are you looking for a way to put your static bat detectors to good use during lockdown? Here’s another great opportunity to participate in citizen science and contribute to ongoing scientific research. An international team of academics are looking to study the role that noise pollution plays in the acoustic ecology of urban environments by monitoring ecoacoustic diversity during and after the lockdown. All you need to do is to configure your detector to the required settings and get recording! Note that this project isn’t specifically collecting data on bats as the detector settings will be set to record mainly in the human audible range.

To find out more about taking part click here.

BCT Bats in Churches – Training and 2020 Survey updates

While this survey remains on hold for now, you can still register your interest and select a nearby Somerset church to help the project by collecting information in the future –

Copied below is the latest project update:

“During May and June we will be running two free online training courses for the Bats in Churches Study. The first is an introduction to the study and the second looks at how to carry out a survey.

An introduction to the Bats in Churches Study

A useful background to the surveys, this session is great for anyone who is new to either bat surveys or working with churches.  We will cover:

  1. Understanding different perspectives on bats in churches
  2. How bats use churches
  3. What we’ll learn from this study

How to take part in the Bats in ​Churches Study

We’ll go through the survey step-by-step and give you a chance to ask any questions.

You may also be interested in…

Bats in Churches LIVE

Every Wednesday at 1pm in May we’ll be joined by guest speakers to delve into different aspects of bats and churches. The first online event on the 6th May focuses on the story of Britain’s bats- their ecology, population trends and protection measures. To register visit www.

Online actives and resources

If you’re looking for something to entertain the children we have some fun batty activities on our website, as well as a link to the Churches Conservation Trust interactive church tour.

2020 Survey Season

At the moment, we can’t give you any more information about the upcoming survey season but we will be following government advice and working closely with our partners Church of England and Churches Conservation Trust to decide our next steps. I’ll be back in touch as soon as possible with an update.

If you decide to take part in a training session I look forward to meeting you online very soon.

Claire Boothby,

  • Training and Survey Officer, Bats in Churches Project
  • Bat Conservation Trust, Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD
  • Direct line: 020 7820 7173”

That’s all the updates this month.  Keep safe!

Kind regards

Andy Avery
Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Somerset Bat Group

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