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BC Conservation Foundation is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the BC Conservation & Biodiversity Awards to further its efforts in the Bat-Friendly Forestry project. This project in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS Canada) to further its efforts in the Bat-Friendly Forestry project. This project, aims to enhance and restore roosting habitat for bats and other species affected by landscape-level impacts on biodiversity in the Kootenays region.

"Bats as night-time insectivore mammals play vital roles in ecosystem health," explained David Hendrickson, Executive Director of the BC Conservation Foundation. "The project's goal is to identify and describe natural tree roosts, create and monitor human-built roosts for bats, and use field research data to inform and drive changes in forestry practices, mitigating habitat loss caused by forest harvest."

The Bat-Friendly Forestry project will focus on more than 16 locations in strategic areas on crown and private conservation lands in the Kootenays. The project involves locating natural bat roosts in trees, with a particular emphasis on species-at-risk that rely on old growth and mature forests. Additionally, a wide range of roost structures will be created and monitored, including "bat condos" designed to accommodate species that congregate in colonies to raise young, BrandenBark® "trees" (poles or young trees wrapped in artificial bark to simulate old growth tree cavities), and chainsaw-modified trees with strategic crevices cut into trunks. The project will also work towards influencing changes in forestry practices in British Columbia.

"Funds from the grant will be used to complete roost construction by the end of 2023," stated Hendrickson. "The structures are monitored for an additional 2-3 years to evaluate species-specific use. The results of the project are highly anticipated by provincial and federal biologists who rely on WCS Canada for guidance on appropriate and effective mitigation techniques for habitat loss."

BC Conservation Foundation expresses its gratitude to our partners, WCS Canada; and the BC Conservation & Biodiversity Awards for support in funding this important research project. By prioritizing the needs of bats and other species-at-risk, the Foundation remains committed to its mission of preserving biodiversity and ensuring ecosystem health.