Bat boxes at community garden part of art show

Town employees Gabe Martin (from left), Robert Reed and Austin Reynolds, who installed the bat boxes, stand with event organizer Libba Tracy; Sue Cameron, who donated the boxes; and garden manager Diana McCall.

Two bat boxes have been installed at the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden in conjunction with the Black Mountain Center for the Arts "The Beauty of Bats" awareness event. The boxes were donated by Sue Cameron, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

            Bat houses offer a safe environment for hundreds of bats. Due to habitat loss, bats need safe places to roost during the day and to raise their young. Most bats have only one pup a year, which means populations are slow to grow. These two houses at the community garden mean neighborhood bats will remain safe and warm.

As with last year’s chimney swift towers, the arts center, the town of Black Mountain and its Recreation and Parks Department were instrumental in the construction and placement of the boxes.

Chris Sloan, Gabe Martin, Austin Reynolds and Robert Reed from Black Mountain public services department, town manager Matt Settlemyer Black Mountain and community garden manager Diana McCall contributed time and effort to the project.

“Bats are misunderstood,” awareness event organizer Libba Tracy said. “Bats also don’t get the credit they deserve for consuming 1,200 mosquitoes an hour and pollinating the fruit we love to eat. These boxes will offer shelter to Valley bats long after our event has concluded.”

The goal of "The Beauty of Bats" is to educate the community and to bring awareness to these fragile, important creatures.

As part of that effort, Valley students this week will “fly” from  Town Square up the street to the Black Mountain Center for the Art, shepherded by Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Black Mountain, weather permitting. At the arts center, students will view a gallery show of bat photographs by noted nature photographer Michael Durham and be treated to a live bat presentation by Vicki Beckham Smith, a respected bat educator from A-Z Animals in Atlanta.