Sarah Butcher, chair of Devon Bat Group, answers our questions about joining a bat group…
What is a Bat Group and who joins?
Devon Bat Group was formed in 1984 by a small group of volunteers interested in bats and concerned at the dramatic fall in numbers in the previous 50 years. We now have just under 200 members from all across the county and cover a wide range of expertise and experience: varying from members of the public who like watching the bats flitting round their gardens in the evening, to experts involved in county wide conservation schemes and ecological consultants.
So, what do you do?
We normally meet four times a year at Whiddon Down village hall with visiting speakers coming to talk about the latest research and discoveries in the bat world.
Apart from the more (in)formal talks, we run a wealth of other activities, such as talks, bat walks across the county, bat box checks (where you go round and monitor the bats that use bat boxes, often getting them out to check for size, weight, breeding condition etc) pub visits (with bats to watch afterwards) and occasional training events.
Many members are Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors (VBRVs) who go out to help householders find out more about the bats that share our houses, identifying the species and type of roost and giving advice about any problems that might crop up.
We also have a network of bat carers across the county who pick up and look after bats that have been injured (for example caught by a cat or found indoors and are starving hungry) so that they can be hopefully released successfully back to the wild. Any bat found outside in the day time is in trouble, so if you find one, please google ‘I found a bat Devon’ for advice or ring the national helpline on 0345 1300 228.
Cool – how can I join?
If you’re interested in joining us or finding out more about bats, please look at www.devonbatgroup.org.
If this has made you want to find out more about your local group, check out BCT’s directory to find contact details: https://www.bats.org.uk/support-bats/bat-groups