There's a unique volunteer opportunity here in New Jersey. And it's taking on added significance in 2009. It'll take very little time, help agriculture and maybe save your next cook-out!
Become part of the annual bat census!
Every year, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey uses volunteers to count bats...that means visiting known roosts, and counting the bats twice between now and August as they leave their caves, old buildings and barns, as well as dead tree stumps.
This year reporting the absence of bats is just as important. It's feared that 95% of New Jersey's bat population may have succumbed to "white-nose syndrome", named for a strange fungus that affects the bats nose and wing structure.
There were massive die offs in New York in 2006 and 2007. The disease has since spread along the east coast from Vermont to Virginia.
During it's annual pre spring inspection the New Jersey Foundation reported a 95% drop in the bat population at the state's largest hibernating spot in Rockaway Township.
The die off in New Jersey is bad news for farmers and people! The one million bats that have already died would have consumed 8,000 tons of insects (including the NJ state bird, the mosquito) in a single summer night, according to scientists.
If you'd like to volunteer, contact the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey at 609-984-0621 or via email at email@example.com.
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