Tuesday, 7 April 2015

We talked to Lizzie Barker, Director of Creature Candy and full-time ecologist, about her love for bats, wildlife and giving to charity:

Q.       Do you have a memorable bat experience?
My first encounter with a bat was pretty memorable, as Im sure it is for most people. It was a brown long-eared bat we had uncovered during some roofing works and I remember thinking how beautiful, delicate and innocent it looked. I was shaking with excitement and that feeling stayed with me for several days. Brown long-eared bats are still to this day my favourite bat and is one of the reasons why I chose this species for my first product design. 

Q.       Do you deal with bats a lot during your job as an ecologist?
As a consultant I specialise in bats but most of my survey work involves encounters with foraging bats during emergence surveys, or encounters with bat droppings during building inspections. There are very few opportunities to see bats close up in their roosts or to handle them. If we do find bats we always keep disturbance levels to a minimum and only handle bats if absolutely necessary. It’s always such a pleasure to find a new roost and I still get that excited feeling in my tummy whenever I see one, whether close up or flying in the sky. They are simply magical creatures. 

Q.       What other species do you frequently deal with? 
I have to deal with lots of other protected species in my job, including great crested newts, dormice, reptiles, water voles, otters and badgers. Most of my work is focused around bats though which is how I like it. 

Q.       What is the greatest threat to bats in the UK?
The populations of our UK bat species are unfortunately under threat now due mainly to loss of foraging and roosting habitats, largely as a result of building and development works. As a consultant ecologist, part of my job is to survey buildings, structures and trees that are due to be subjected to development or remedial works. Our role is vital to ensure bat roosts are not unknowingly destroyed and bats are not harmed in the process. We also provide guidance and support on how to best mitigate for such development works and often create many new bat roosting spaces as a result. However, it shouldn’t just be left to the consultants and developers to create new roosts. I think we can all do our bit for bats and encourage them into our gardens and roof spaces. Just some simple wildflower planting would help attract insects, and the bats (and birds) will follow. Simple!

Q.       What made you make the jump and set up Creature Candy?
On a daily basis I work side by side with British wildlife charities and often ask them for guidance and reassurance. They work tirelessly to conserve our threatened species and help raise awareness. I felt the need to give something back and so I came up with the idea of Creature Candy. My primary aim was to raise money for British wildlife charities, however I also wanted to raise awareness of our declining species and offer information to my customers about the species and the charities their donations will help support. We provide fact sheets about each of the species, charity membership forms, and there is also descriptive text on each product. It was also really important to me to try to change people perceptions of bats from dark black silhouettes with fangs and red eyes, to the beautiful charismatic and unique creatures they are. I hope our brown long-eared bat illustration has achieved this. 

Q.       Why did you choose bats, bees and moths to focus your designs around?
The challenge of changing peoples opinions of bats via an illustration and some text was my main motivation for the bat design. I also know the charity (Bat Conservation Trust) very well and admire the wonderful work they do. Supporting them was a no brainer for me. Bees and moths have a wonderful elegance to them and they are both incredibly important in our ecosystem. Getting people to understand them, understand their habitats and encourage them into their gardens imperative. They also look really beautiful as illustrations on our products. However, we are not just stopping at bats, bees and moths, we have lots more design ideas in the pipeline. Watch this space!

Q.       Why did you decide to donate 10% of sales to charity?
Creature Candy is not just about British made products with pretty designs on them. It’s also about education, inspiring people and giving something back. Our wildlife charities operate on such small budgets and without donations from individuals and businesses, both small and large, they wouldn’t be able to operate at all. It gives me the greatest pleasure handing over cheques to them at the end of the financial year. 

Q.       Apart from buying a bat themed product from Creature Candy, what more can people do to further bat conservation?
Learn and get involved. The Bat Conservation Trust website offers lots of advice on creating habitats for bats and encouraging them into our gardens. Planting even the smallest area of wildflowers or putting up just one bat box will contribute to the wider picture and help conserve British bat species. Donations to the BCT and purchasing Creature Candy bat products is also very helpful too!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Bat chat from Scotland

Hello, its Anne Youngman here, Scottish Officer for Bat Conservation Trust.  Here I am at the end of one financial year, finishing off reports for funders and looking back over the last year. My job is very varied (although too much time is spent sitting down in front of a computerL) and I’m always slightly surprised to see just how much has been done.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to say some thank yous and share a few of the highlights of the last year.

The first thank yous go to volunteers who helped on the BCT stall at the Scottish Bird Fair in May 2014.  Their efforts included; putting up the tent ( and taking it down) answering endless questions from the public and helping hundreds of small excited children make bat badges and bobbing bat hats. 

Bat man and Superman with bobbing bat hats  

My next HUGE thank you goes to the bat carers;  Carol Ann Terry , Tracey Joliffe and Heidi Cooper Berry (carer and vet)  who gave their time and considerable expertise to deliver training to (15) vet students at the Royal Dick Veterinary School, Edinburgh.  Feedback from the day was excellent; it’s great to think we will have more vets in future with knowledge of bat care.

Bat Identification – bat care training for vet students  

I DO get out of doors some days and nights and have had great fun delivering training to various bat groups and wildlife interest groups.

After a bat identification training night with Inverness bat group

A misty night with Sustrans volunteers on a Waterways survey training night

Bat Identification  – with RSPB volunteers ( a nice change from birds!)

Hibernaculum survey training CSBG

On the subject of training I owe more HUGE thanks to everyone who lead a workshop and or delivered a talk at the 2014 spring into Action day for bat workers last May.  We had 75 attendees and a choice of 14 different workshop topics.  The aim of the day was to deliver practical training to bat workers at the start of the bat season  ( and get them inspired and ready to go…)

Endoscope training  at the  spring into action day.

We have 6 Members of Scottish Parliament who are bat Champions.  They are ;
·         Jayne Baxter (brown longeared bat),
·         Bill Kidd (common pipistrelle)
·         Willie Rennie (Nathusius pipistrelle)
·         Graeme Pearson (Leisler’s bat)
·         Jim Hume (noctule)
·         Murdo Mackenzie (Natterer’s bat) 
Local bat groups and I have been keeping the MSP bat Species Champions busy.
Jayne had a great day checking bat boxes with Fife and Kinross Bat group (Thank you Fife and Kinross), Graeme Pearson met John Haddow for a bat walk at Holyrood and an opportunity to have all his questions about the Leisler’s bat answered by an expert and four out of the six Champions featured in a short film (Produced by Scottish Environment link) explaining why climate change was bad for bats.

Central Scotland Bat group celebrated its 30th Birthday (with special bat beer at the Bridge of Allan brewery)

Central Scotland Bat group - Celebrating 30 years of batting and still going strong

The Scottish bat workers conference in November attracted over 100 attendees for a day of talks, workshops and bat chat 

Delegates at the Scottish Bat workers Conference 2014

A boat trip on the canal near Falkirk in October to deliver a bat talk and training with bat detectors to volunteers with the Seagull Trust identified 3 species of bats. That was despite the rather chilly weather and late timing.

Sailing into the sunset with Seagull trust volunteers on the Falkirk canal

A training talk and workshops were delivered to green keepers / golf course managers on how to safeguard and enhance bat roosts and habitat at the SNH Sharing Best practise event “In the Rough”.  This was part of a full days training on enhancing biodiversity on golf courses and it was great to make the link between making places attractive for wildlife and making them healthy and attractive places for people too.

That’s just a few examples of some of the positives through the year; I should mention just two rather disappointing parts of the job.

An application for a Bat detector library loan scheme was unsuccessful in getting funding ( always disappointing as quite a lot of time and effort goes into the application ) However I think it’s such a good idea I’ll keep the application and can hopefully re-jig it and try another funder in future.

In December I sat in on a court hearing where a property manager for CKD Galbraith had instructed workman to block up access to a bat roost.  His defence was that he simply did not know bats were protected.  I don’t think the sheriff was entirely convinced, he pointed out that the next door neighbour (“an ordinary member of the public”) knew as she had contacted the police!  He was fined only £240.  What was good about attending was that I could see that the impact statement provided to the Procurator Fiscal by BCT and the information from a local bat expert where very useful.

That’s just a very brief look at some of the events last year. In the future my main focus will be on encouraging more survey for bats; this will range from encouraging the public to add their bat sightings to the Big Bat Map to delivering training to wildlife groups to encourage more National bat Monitoring Programme surveys.  So hopefully next year holds a nice balance between being out of doors (hurrah) and being in front of a computer. 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Our Communications and Fundraising Intern has been working with us over the last couple of months, and he's shared his experience with us!

Hi, I’m Aleks, and since November I’ve been working at the Bat Conservation Trust as the Communications and Fundraising Intern.

I’m actually a marine biology graduate, so I do get my share of “you do realise bats don’t swim don’t you?” comments. But I find all animals interesting, and have particular soft spots for ones that are often misunderstood and get an unfair reputation, so I guess at BCT I’m in the right place.

One of the reasons I took up the role was because while I was at university, I realised that one of the most fun things about my degrees was going home at Christmas, Easter and summer (no, not to doss about!) and talk to my friends and family about what I’d learned. Talking to people about animals and why they’re important is always a lively discussion, and getting replies like “oh wow that’s pretty cool” makes it even more satisfying. Take my parents for example- they’ve never shown any real interest in wildlife, but now they’re avid birdwatchers and I barely see them at weekends anymore as they’re always knocking around nature reserves in Essex. That may only seem like a small thing, but for me that’s a victory. So taking up a role with the comms team at BCT, and helping to spread the word about bats to a much wider audience seemed (and has proved to be!) a very rewarding experience.

Another reason that this internship was appealing to me, was because I’d spent a lot of time at university mostly sitting in lectures and writing essays, so this opportunity has provided me the chance to expand my skill set. In my role, highlights have included developing e-bulletins, including BCT’s first corporate e-bulletin targeted at corporate partners, writing press releases and producing newsletters to funders.

Here are a couple of the pieces I’ve worked on:
I’ve done things I’d never done before, and I’m grateful to BCT for the opportunity.
If you have any ideas for our blog, social media or e-bulletins, let me know at comms@bats.org.uk and I’ll share it!

I’ll be working at BCT for one more week. What I’m about to say is really cheesy, but it was depressing watching the Comms team put up the advert for the next intern to come and sit at my desk once I leave. Whoever they are, they’re in for a great experience.

This isn’t my last involvement with BCT however; in September I’ll be walking as fast as my little legs will carry me up and down the Peak District at Trekfest to hopefully raise us some money! Hopefully I’ll see some of you there!

Aleks Cocks

Communications and Fundraising Intern

Monday, 12 January 2015

In this post, we speak to environmental consultant Adrian Woodhall from AWEcology. Adrian has been a member of Bat Conservation Trust since 2011. He founded AWEcology the same year after a long career in property, conservation management and ecology with a variety of land owners including the National Trust. Adrian also volunteers his time as a bat surveyor on the NBMP Daubenton's and barbastelle surveys, and helped out at the Bat Conservation Trust stand at Birdfair 2014.

Q. How did you get into bats? Can you remember the first time that you saw a bat? 

When I was a kid we stayed on a heathland caravan site in Suffolk- I can remember bats flying round at dusk and realising they were different to the normal birds you would see. So it sparked an interest but it was not until I was managing SSSI sites in north Somerset with limestone caves that I started to deal with bats on a more regular basis- these were mainly lessor horseshoes using the cave entrances for roosting- these were low caves so it was easy to see a bat. I then joined Somerset Bat Group and helped do surveys in many fantastic roost sites- we also had talks from researchers looking at bat behaviour and habitats so my interest just grew

Q. Do you have a favourite bat species? Why is it your favourite?

I have no favourite species but I have had some fantastic experiences dealing with a number of species- lessor horseshoes emerging from a cellar along a narrow passageway not caring that I took up half the space- just flew round me; serotines emerging from under roof tiles and flying along a hedge- these are big bats when up close and you ‘duck’ when they fly towards you! Noctules displaying is always interesting as they swoop and dive at dusk…

Q. What’s the best and worst thing about being an environmental consultant? 

Best thing I am doing something I have found interesting since I was a teenager, and the other consultants I deal with (mostly) have a passion for wildlife and helping it. Worst thing is dealing with people who are following the law but resent it every inch of the way- very difficult to find common ground when there is little empathy with the subject. It does get good though when you thought the builders you are dealing with are going to be difficult but then turn round to you and suggest very simple things to enhance a roost

Q. What is the most obscure place that you’ve found bats? 

I was working for another consultant on a re-entry survey last summer- I tracked a pip55 flying round one side of the barn, and then she tracked it re-entering between two bricks about 2m above the ground on her side- absolutely nothing round the entrance to indicate this was a roost but the bat got into the space through a gap about 11mm wide and flew straight in without circling round! It just indicates how aware bats are of their own environments if they can do something this skilful in one take.

Q. Aside from bats, which species do you also frequently get asked to survey?

I have surveyed newts quite a bit and regularly help out on reptile surveys- always interesting as you never know what will be under the mats!

Q. What in your opinion is the greatest challenge facing bats?

It looks like many populations are starting to stabilize after large falls in size. This is great but I hope that we continue to help landowners manage land for many purposes- food production is very important but there are good husbandry techniques such as allowing hedges and headlands that give locations for bats to feed, but also give space for other wildlife. It would be so easy just to treat most land, apart from highly designated areas, as ‘industrial farmland’ to the detriment of us all. I also think the licence system is having a number of challenges at the moment- anything devised has got to be workable for bats, and for people, as it is obvious to me that if the system is too hard and takes too long some people will at best bypass the system, and at worse, just do what they want with little chance of getting caught if a protected species has got in the way.

Adrian's website can be found here

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Tragic stories about bats in Australia have been reported in the news over the last couple of weeks. We spoke to Tiere Thorpe from Sydney Wildlife...
©Sarah Thorpe

By Tiere Thorpe (tt.yeah@gmail.com)

Volunteer – Flying Fox rescuer and rehabilitator

The Casino Heat Stress Event – November 2014

©Sarah Thorpe
The small town of Casino is in northern New South Wales. The extreme heatwave saw temperatures soar up to 44C which was deadly for our Black Flying Foxes and Grey Headed Flying Foxes that were roosting there. The timing was simply awful as most mature females had pups under wing, as the birthing season is always late spring (around mid October). These babies are totally dependent on their mother’s milk and as such mothers and babies were the most vulnerable to heat stress. As the heat increased, the flying fox camp became littered with dead bodies. A systematic search through the piles of dead, revealed some live pups still clinging to their dead mums. These have been taken into care by wildlife carers along the Eastern Coast of NSW and in the Sydney basin, deeply haunted by mass death but who care about the life and death of these important yet persecuted species.

Q. How many bats are you currently looking after?

©Sarah Thorpe
Across Sydney, there are over 200 baby flying foxes in care at present. Most of these are from the Casino Heat Stress event. There are also local rescues occurring each week, some orphaned pups and many adults from misadventure into powerlines, backyard fruit netting, and car accidents, chemical poisoning and raptor attacks. With so many flying foxes in our care facilities, it can be hard to keep track of ‘who is who in the zoo’. It’s all about the latest fashion of course.... coloured thumb rings and painted toe nails help us with identification and individual treatment plans.

Q. How do you look after pups in your care?

 Flying fox pups that come into our care are usually hypothermic / hyperthermia, often have a maggot load, some abrasions and are emotionally traumatised.  Many babies have witnessed their mum’s terrifying and often tragic struggle to survive whether it is from entanglement, power line electrical current or hyperthermia from extreme weather events. The first couple of hours in our care is vital and needs to be handled correctly to stabilise the pup and set it on the road to recovery and ultimately release. Hydration is a key aspect to our initial and ongoing care, as is setting up a routine with consistent foster parents. Flying foxes are not lactose intolerant like many mammals. We feed them full cream cow’s milk with added calcium and glucose supplements.
©Sarah Thorpe

At around 6 weeks of age, we introduce fruit to increase the pup’s carbohydrate intake, assist in their growth and to provide enrichment to these smart little guys. Always trying to imitate nature, this is offered late in afternoon and evening to encourage nocturnal behaviour. It would be next to impossible to provide them with a natural diet of nectar, pollen and native fruits. Apples and pears are a mainstay for the pups with the occasional melon and grapes added in for variety. Unfortunately this predominately fruit diet takes up a large proportion of our donations. Australian flying foxes have a largely liquid diet and they have evolved to pulp the fruit between their tongue and rigid palate, extract the juice and discarding the fruit pulp. Aside from addressing the never ending appetite of our little charges, we must clean and sun our pups everyday as mum would in the wild. All this is done in a nurturing bond that forms between the foster parent and the pup. Just like human children, without love these little ones fail to thrive.

©Sarah Thorpe
As foster parents we are always looking to imitate nature, we notice that in the wild young pups (under 4 weeks old) spend almost all their time attached to mums nipple and grasping her body with their little feet.  Staying attached to mum is very important.  As foster parents we provide mumma rolls (imitating mums body) for the pup’s feet to grip and a dummy or pacifier (a substitute nipple). These two simple things considerably reduce stress levels for a pup in our care, helping them feel safe and secure.

A busy 12 weeks will pass quickly and our pups will be weaned off milk and onto fruit and ready for the next stage of rehabilitation – crèche. This is where we provide the right environment amongst other flying foxes minus our emotional involvement. Hopefully by this stage our pups are becoming emotional independent and confident. They will spend a few weeks with other like-minded, self assured pups as human contact begins to withdraw and their innate behaviours emerge – washing and toileting themselves, socialising and nocturnal food seeking behaviours. This is the time when our volunteers work extremely hard, chopping copious amounts of fruit to fill little growing bellies (up to 400g per night per bat).

©Sarah Thorpe

Q. What are the chances of young orphaned bats survival once they are released?

©Sarah Thorpe
The timing of release of our hand-reared orphans is critical to their survival and integration into the wild colony and fortunately based on science.  A three year tracking study of hand-reared orphans released at the Gordon release facility in Sydney was published by Augee & Ford in 1999. This provides guidelines for a successful release and integration into the wild flying fox colony. Another observation made was that in early February the older wild males are seen taking the youngster out of the camp in the early evening to teach foraging and navigational skills. Our aim is always to get our youngster out into the colony to coincide with these brief but necessary excursions.  With our release protocols based on the above study, our hand-raised pups have a very high chance of survival.

M.L Augee and Denise Ford (1999) Radio-tracking Studies of Grey-headed Flying-foxes, Pteropus poliocephalus, from the Gordon Colony, Sydney.

Q. Apart from the current heat wave what other challenges do bats in Australia face?

There are many factors forcing our flying foxes to become increasingly urbanised, placing them in zones of conflict and terror as they attempt to co-exist with humans.
Evidence makes it very clear that our flying foxes preferred diet is myrtaceae flowers and forest fruit. However, with the increasing clearing of native vegetation and the replacement with commercial crops, we now see increased conflict between farmers and flying foxes. Despite the fact that our flying foxes provide an amazing free ecosystem service, recent political and legal changes (2012) have reduced protection for these vulnerable species. The Queensland and NSW Governments have reintroduced shooting permits allowing orchardist to inhumanly cull these animals.
Habitat clearance also has another effect – it increases the distance between native food sources and hems in flying fox populations, forcing them to look for other food sources locally. We have seen this recently in Sydney, just before spring flowering. We had many rescued flying foxes suffering from starvation, especially pregnant females, juveniles and the elderly who have lower fat reserves and the inability to fly greater distances.
Local governments also have power to disperse flying fox colonies and destroy their roost sites without assessment or accountability. These regular dispersals are undertaken using sound, smoke, helicopters and any stress-inducing method to unsettle the flying foxes from their habitat trees. The dispersal procedure is ongoing and expensive and despite research showing it is an unsuccessful short or long term control mechanism – sadly it is still used!

Q. How can members of the public help with the current tragedy?

Donations are always very welcome. Sydney Wildlife does not receive any funding from the government. We rely solely on donations from members of the public and the generosity of our wildlife volunteers who are all unpaid. Our flying fox rehabilitation is a costly process, requiring an ongoing commitment from a small but dedicated group of bat carers within the organisation. The current Heat Stress victims from Casino have many injuries including ongoing hydration issues, organ damage, skin abrasions, eye ulcers and wing membrane damage. Any financial assistance given to the flying foxes always goes straight to their daily care and medical expenses.
©Sarah Thorpe

We are able to take heat stress donations via the Tolga bat hospital

We are also listed on the Global Giving website (globalgiving.org ‘Help Baby Bats Take Flight’) where there is a regular update for those who donate and become part of our commitment to help this vulnerable species.

Be a flying fox advocate – educate members of the public about the importance of flying foxes as keystone species: no other animal does their job; in fact the survival of many animals relies on flying foxes to do their job each night. They are long range pollinators and seed disperser of many Australian coastal trees and these gentle night workers are absolutely essential to the health of our ecosystems and forests (as well as being incredibly cute and smart J). At the current rate of die-offs, we may sadly witness this species becoming functionally extinct in our generation. Functional extinction always precedes actual extinction.

©Sarah Thorpe

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Bat Blog!

Chester University student Jemma Chesworth studied bats in her undergraduate project, and she shares her experience with us!


I am a third year Animal Behaviour and Welfare student studying at Chester University. For my third year dissertation study I chose to study bats because although there are 17 breeding species of bats around the UK, many are rare or uncommon, and due to urbanisation they are becoming increasingly hard to spot. This was my chance to get up close and personal to these fascinating animals- the only true flying mammals!

I chose to do this study at Delamere Forest in Cheshire, as the land is vast, holding a variety of different mosses, wetlands and species of plants and trees. It is Cheshire’s largest area of woodland and a haven for wildlife. The Cheshire Wildlife Trust have been working alongside Delamere Forest to improve their wetlands by re-wetting some of the smaller areas. The aim of my study was to identify which wetland sites were preferred by bat populations. I chose 5 sites out of all the wetlands at Delamere Forest and studied for 5 days a week at each site, for a total of 5 weeks. The sites varied in how dense the surrounding woodland was, and how wetted the wetlands were. All of this was recorded, as well as the weather, the temperature, and the time of day. As bats are nocturnal I undertook my study each evening from 9:30pm onwards. I would record continuously at each site for one hour.

The software I used was a Roland wave mp3 recorder R-05, which has a memory card slot to store all of the recordings, and a bat box duet so that I could listen to the high frequency calls.

Sitting in a dark forest was not appealing at first, it seemed scary, but I brought along my mum to sit in silence with me (with her phone turned off so the signal did not interfere with my bat box) and we both found it rather enjoyable.

Each of the five sites I visited fascinated me in different ways. At some sites I could hear more bats than others and the woodland scenery I was in was amazing. I enjoyed sitting in the silence watching the sunset and the bats slowly coming out as the darkness came in. I would see the occasional bat flying around but as it got darker I wouldn’t be able to follow them with my eyes anymore, so instead I just listened to them. Having one of my senses cut off pulled me into a new world. Listening more carefully to the sounds around me was surreal at first as hearing bat calls was something I had never done before. At some sites I could hear bats constantly flying overhead, and I also had a few near misses from bats colliding into me. At other sites however there was very little or no bat activity. Although I have not finished my study to reveal which species of bats there actually were, I believe to have found a Nathusius Pipistrelle which has not been recorded in Delamere Forest before. This will be confirmed when I have uploaded my data to the bat analysis software.

©Hugh Clark

I still have a long way to go before my project is finished, and I haven’t yet identified all of the bat species that I heard, and at which specific sites I could hear bats most frequently, but all of my data is now collected. I have been working alongside the Cheshire Wildlife Trust to help them to keep a close eye on their bat populations within Delamere Forest. I am hoping my study will provide a base project on how to attract more bats to woodlands in surrounding areas, and how to improve the other wetland sites at Delamere Forest to make them more bat friendly. I learned a lot more about bats that I ever thought I could, and I am hoping my study will inspire other people to help protect these amazing animals.

Jemma Chesworth

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


(reproduced with permission from Forest Group of Churches May Newsletter)

In the United Kingdom we have 18 species of bat, all are insectivorous and a great biodiversity indicator. A single bat can eat up to 3000 midges in one night making them an excellent natural insect controller, but unfortunately over recent years their populations have declined, making each roost important for future survival. Due to their decline, bats and their roosts are protected under European law with a roost defined as any place that a wild bat uses and is protected whether bats are present or not.

Churches have been enduring features of the British landscape and due to their structure have made excellent roosting opportunities for generations of bat populations, particularly in areas where alternative roosts are scarce. About 60% of pre-16th century churches contain bat roosts and we therefore play a pivotal role in securing the future for these fascinating creatures.

I have been attending Ray Lodge Church since a small child and am currently employed by Bat Conservation Trust on the National Bat Helpline. Because churches provide an important community for both ourselves and bats it is essential that each can live in harmony with the other. At Bat Conservation Trust, and on behalf of Natural England, churches may be eligible for a free bat roost visit carried out by volunteers. I recently accompanied a volunteer who visited a local church in Woodford Green as they wished to carry out porch refurbishment works. The church appreciated the service and from the subsequent advice a letter of consent was granted by the faculty for the works to be undertaken as the bats safety was ensured.

Numerous resources are available, so if your church requires assistance or seek information relating to bats please do contact me on the National Bat Helpline, 0845 1300 228 or alternatively by email djackson@bats.org.uk. Every church’s worship is unique and with our support we can help the future survival of this unique mammal species.

David Jackson
Bat Advice Officer
National Bat Helpline - Bat Conservation Trust