"Finding a bat is like finding a needle in a haystack. It's really hard for us researchers to figure out where bats are and what species of bats are around."

That's the reason the University of Saskatchewan is supplying Bat Detector Kits to libraries around the province.

Research and Outreach Coordinator for Dr. Jeffrey Lane in the Biology Department at the University of Saskatchewan, Lauren McDonald, visited the Weyburn Public Library on Wednesday, October 4th, to not only bring the kit, but to provide a presentation for a crowd of attendees.

"It's both introducing bats to the populace and teaching kids about bats. It is also about allowing us researchers to get a lens into the bats around Saskatchewan," she explained. "So here in Weyburn, there's a bat detector kit at the Public Library that folks will be able to check out, just like a book."

"Come spring, once the bats are out of hibernation or they've migrated back up north, they'll be able to check out the bat detector kit, bring it wherever they think bats might be, like their backyard or a park or camping, detect the bats that are flying above them, identify which species are there, learn about those species, and then send us researchers that data so that we can use it to figure out where bats are, and especially our endangered bats are so that we can protect them here in Saskatchewan."

She said they're especially interested in finding endangered species.

"So if folks find these bats and submit that data to us, we will look at it and if it looks really promising, we'll come out with the research-grade bat detector that can be left up for weeks or even months at a time, which will give us a better idea of what's really flying around on a daily basis," said McDonald. "And then, if there're still detecting a lot of those endangered species, we will come out with nets to actually catch them and assess how healthy they are, and if they're being affected by white-nose syndrome, the disease that's threatening our hibernating species."

She said Weyburn was about the 15th stop at libraries across the province for her this week, and all have been given bat detector kits.

"This is part of research is getting to do all these fat outreach talks and delivering these kits. It's an excellent part that I love," she shared. 

"Every one has had really large crowds. It's been really promising. There's a lot of interest in the kits, both from adults who are also free to take them out and also of course from kids who are just so excited about bats!" 

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