We wish all our members a very happy Christmas and a very batty New Year!
In this message we have:
- Information on NBMP hibernation surveys happening this winter
- Exciting news; the bat group was nominated for an award!
- An update on the national database of bat ring numbers
- The last seasonal roundup from the Bats in Churches project
- The latest December bat group bulletin which includes policy updates following the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15)
- and our apologies, due to email issues, the November Bat group bulletin was not sent out
1/ Take part in the NBMP hibernation surveys
It’s that time of year again. While many people are thinking of the upcoming seasonal festivities and hunkering down around a warm fire, us bat workers are naturally thinking of the National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP) hibernation survey.
Fortunately, the Covid-19 community infection rate is now a lot lower than in previous winters. This means we have been able to reduce the risk level of human to bat Covid transmission.
- The bat group are following the BCT and IUCN advice, click here to read about our current risk level and precautions for bat event on our website.
- The NBMP project has published a set of risk assessments (download here) to help surveyors assess the potential risks to bats
We are very aware that over the past few years there have been very few opportunities for keen batty folks to gain experience of close contact with bats. Hence if you are an existing NBMP roost surveyor, where possible, please do consider taking others along to the roost with you. The easiest way to do this is to post a message in our Facebook group, and ask people to contact you directly
Likewise, if you are wanting to gain experience, and see bats in the roosts this winter then do keep an eye on our Facebook group for opportunities (and reply fast, as spaces will be very limited)
2/ We were nominated for an award!
This year the bat group was nominated for the Somerset Wildlife Trust, Community and Volunteering Group Award. While not winning, it is nice the groups efforts are being noticed.
The nomination was for “establishing the new Big Bat Count and making surveying accessible for a wider audience”. More details in the images below:
3/ National ringed bat database
In September 2019 the bat group donated £500 to this much needed project. Sadly, since then, there has been a long silence from BCT on this project. Hence we were very pleased to recently receive this update from Lisa Worledge at BCT
“It has been far too long since I have been in touch about progress on the Ringing the Changes project, which you have kindly contributed to (either in a personal capacity or on behalf of your bat group) but I am delighted to say that we are finally in a position to invite tenders for a new national ringed bat database and online forms for recording and ring sales.
You can see the details on our news page at: https://www.bats.org.uk/news/2022/12/invitation-to-tender-for-new-national-ringed-bat-database (the closing date is Monday 23rd January at 10am). Please do share this any relevant contacts you may have in the IT world. (We have also emailed the invitation out directly to a number of firms.)
I can’t thank you enough for your financial contribution to this work (which despite the delays has remained ring-fenced for the Ringing the Changes project specifically). Whether you have given thousands of pounds or just a few pounds, it is thanks to you that this work is going ahead. I am personally very grateful for your support, despite the length of time it has taken to get here, this project means an awful lot to me (being in the position to issue the call for tenders is the best early Christmas present ever!).
I’ll be in touch again in the New Year with an update on the guidelines side of things.
Best regards,”Lisa, Lisa Worledge (she/her), Head of Conservation Services
4/ Seasonal roundup from Bats in Churches
The Group received the following update from this project:
“This is the last Christmas for the Bats in Churches project as our funding ends in September 2023. Next year will see us consolidating our legacy and ensuring the many resources for churches with bats developed by the project are disseminated and will continue to be available. We will also be bringing together our learnings from the various bat mitigation works carried out by the ecologists over the lifetime of the project.
This year has been hectic, trying to catch up from the hiatus caused by the covid pandemic and lockdowns, working to finalise bat mitigation works and heritage protection at more than 30 churches in England, running numerous engagement events, publishing our first (and last!) children’s book The Little Church Bat The Little Church Bat – Bats In Churches, developing our challenge badge for schools and other groups Bats In Churches Challenge Badge – Bats In Churches, and launching our multi-media art installation On A Wing And A Prayer On A Wing And A Prayer art installation tour – Bats In Churches. You can catch up with our free online training workshops, events and webinars at Events – Bats In Churches.
To top the year off, one of our project churches, St Lawrence, Radstone, Northamptonshire, featured on BBC2 Songs of Praise in November. You can watch the episode here (until 19 December): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001fhxs and find out more about our work at this church here Radstone, St Lawrence – Bats In Churches.
2022 was the last year of our two citizen science surveys, the National Bats in Churches Study and Church Bat Detectives. Some 600 volunteers surveyed more than 700 churches, identifying whether bats were present or not, what species were present, and gathering the views of church representatives about bats in churches. We are currently crunching the data and will report in 2023. You can find out more here Volunteer Bat Survey – Bats In Churches.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas. Please feel free to distribute this email and ecard to the rest of the Somerset bat group.”Rose Riddell, Engagement Officer, Bats in Churches Project
5/ BAT GROUP BULLETIN
The latest edition includes information on policy update following the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), and the Christmas Card from the BCT:
And apologies, the November bulletin bypassed our inbox, and hence this is delayed: