2019 Summer Bat Netting Volunteer Opportunity
In 2019, SCDNR will be conducting targeted mist netting at properties in Charleston, Georgetown, Horry, and Greenville Counties. The goal is to capture Northern long-eared bats, but we will be recording data on any bat species we capture. We would like to have local volunteer help to record data, assist in decontamination to avoid the spread of White-nose Syndrome in bats, and help raising and lowering the nets. No volunteer handling of bats is permitted unless the volunteer has up-to-date rabies shots, but it will be a great opportunity to see these wonderful creatures and be part of an important project. During the 2018 season, 131 individuals of eight different bat species were captured, and other nocturnal creatures encountered included Southern Flying Squirrels, Luna Moths and Polyphemus Silkmoths.
Current netting schedule:
- April 15 – May 3: Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area, Charleston/Georgetown Counties
- May 6 – May 24: Lewis Ocean Bay Wildlife Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Horry County
- May 28 – June 14: Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Greenville County
**In the event we capture a Northern long-eared bat at a site, the schedule may be moved up. Rain delays may also alter this schedule. All interested parties will be informed ASAP if/when the schedule changes.**
Times: We will be netting bats on non-holiday, Mon-Thurs nights within the time frames above. We will net bats from sunset until 5 hours after. This involves being on site in the evening for set-up and netting an hour or two before sunset until around 2:00 AM, and then clean-up (decontamination of nets, ropes, clothing and other materials). For example, on May 21st we will arrive between 6:30/7:30 to set up, and net between 8:15 pm and 1:15 am (during the latest nights, netting will occur between 8:47 pm and 1:47 am). Take down and clean up afterward should take around 1 hr, depending on the site and number of people on hand.
Netting details: Our standard set up is 2 sets of 2-3 nets stacked on top of each other with a pulley system used to bring nets down for bat extraction. Nets will be checked every 8-10 minutes. If/when a bat is captured, myself or another qualified person will remove the bat and place it in a paper bag to be transported back to the table for data processing. No volunteer handling of bats is permitted unless the volunteer has up-to-date rabies shots. Receiving these shots just for this project is not recommended as they are pricey, and the series of three require a lengthy completion timeline.
Other Things to Know:
- To follow WNS decontamination protocols and prevent the spread of fungal spores, we ask that volunteers please bring a change of clothes and shoes to change into. We suggest arriving in clothes you don’t mind decontaminating in water held at 131 degree F for 20 min afterward (when you get a chance to at home). We also suggest rubber boots or other types of shoes for netting so they can be decontaminated with a chemical (Lysol or Clorox) or soaked in 131 degree F water for 20 min at home afterward. (Details on protocol to prevent this devastating bat disease) However, we will go through what you need to know about decon in future emails and in person.
- No housing is currently available. Please be very careful driving home!
- No experience is necessary. Duties are to simply help where you can, including helping set up nets, prepare data collection table, check nets, and record data. In return, we will give you an up-close look at these amazing creatures and try to answer any questions you may have.
- Volunteer forms need to be approved, so we ask that you please fill out and return them ASAP.
Any days you can assist will be greatly appreciated. A commitment of at least a few days (we suggest NON-consecutive to prevent burn out) would make it worth time spent training folks.
If interested, please fill out this volunteer form and take good pictures of your signed form and email to Jennifer Kindel at email@example.com, stating which site(s) and dates you would like to volunteer for.