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RACINE — The River Bend Nature Center is gearing up for a summer of Bat Walks. This free series is open to the public and runs from May through August. Depending on availability, some walks will include a presentation as well.

“Bats are often thought to be scary or creepy; but it is really the night insects who have the most to fear from bats.  In fact, bats are one of the most unique, beneficial animals in the world.  They provide vital ecological benefits, including consumption of insect pests, pollination of some of our favorite fruits, and seed dispersal,” reads a news release from River Bend Nature Center. 

During the event, River Bend Naturalist Christa Trushinsky will share information of interest about the bats of Wisconsin. People will have the opportunity to learn about the only mammal that can truly fly, and their use of echolocation to navigate and hunt, which has inspired the development of sonar and other navigational technology.

While bats can be found all over the world, there are eight different species that exist right here in Wisconsin. These bats range from the tiny tri-colored bat that is no bigger than one’s thumb to the large hoary bat whose ears have a similar look to those of Mickey Mouse. 

River Bend Nature Center, bat walk, tricolored bat, Wisconsin DNR
The tricolored bat – Credit: Wisconsin DNR

“All (of) our bats play a crucial role in the ecosystems they call home,” notes the release. “All our bats play a crucial role in the ecosystems they call home.”

Now is the time to learn and engage with these mammals. 

When attending a Bat Walk that includes a presentation, guests will take a night hike to monitor for these extraordinary animals using an acoustic bat detector, per the nonprofit. 

This event is free of charge and is held on a drop-in basis. No reservations are required. Meet in the main lodge building at River Bend at 7:30 p.m.

Bat walk series schedule

DateTimeWhat’s included?
May 247:30 to 8:30 p.m.Dusk Bat Walk
(walk only)
June 147:30 to 9 p.m.Presentation
and Bat Walk
July 267:30 to 9 p.m.Presentation
and Bat Walk
Aug. 167:30 to 9 p.m.Presentation
and Bat Walk
Bat walks at River Bend Nature Center
The hoary bat | Photo © Paul Cryan – Credit: Wisconsin DNR

For more information, visit River Bend Nature Center online or call 262-639-1515.

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