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Bats (Encore)

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Sometimes when I mention that I have a bat house on my home, I see people visibly shudder. I can understand that reaction because bats, just like 8-legged arachnids and slithering reptiles, have a sordid on-screen history that makes a lot of people really uncomfortable.

Whole horror movie franchises have been built from our fear of bats. Vampire bats. Sewer bats. I even remember a grocery store tabloid with a terrifying image of a child with large, pointed ears and sharp incisors that read, “BAT CHILD FOUND IN CAVE.” No wonder we’re all a little nervous about them. But what I tell people who are bat-averse is to “try to think of them as furry nocturnal birds clearing the skies of the insects that spread diseases and damage our crops and gardens.” That’s because bats are the major predator performing a true ecological miracle every night. Just one bat can eat over a thousand insects each night. They work the night shift so other insect-eaters can get some shut eye.

W. Brooks Paternotte took the helm of Irvine Nature Center as executive director in July 2013 and immediately began building on the strong 35-year foundation. Brooks is a Baltimore native who was a teacher, coach, advisor, dean and Head of the Middle School during his 13 years at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore. He is also an instructor and ambassador of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and is a Leave No Trace Master, as well as an avid outdoorsman and a features writer for FlyLife Magazine.