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Take a bioacoustic tour of the native bats on the MSU Bat Walk

Posted at 9:41 AM, Sep 14, 2022

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For some people, they're your worst nightmare. But if you're afraid of bats, it may be time to face that phobia at the Fall 2022 MSU Bat Walk.

The walk is described as a little bit of citizen science and a little bit of education. The walk will be hosted by the Bat Association of MSU and the MSU Zoological Students Association.

Peter Fowler and his friend started the Bat Association of MSU back in 2016.

"We started off just wanting to build bat houses and put up bat houses around campus," Fowler said.

They noticed a lot of people didn't know about bats, so they felt like they needed to spread the word.

"It became really more of an educate MSU community about bats sort of thing," Fowler said. "In Ingham County, there's six bats that we kind of are on the lookout for that have been known to be in this area. Usually, we find between three and four species when we're doing these bat walks."

At the bat walk you can learn about bioacoustics and how they use an echo meter to match up what bat you are hearing.

"What the echo meter does is it plugs into your phone and interacts with an app," Fowler said. "You can actually listen to the bats echo location call as it's foraging. And with that echolocation call, it creates a spectrogram. And you can, depending on the shape of it, you can determine what species at bat it is."

And, you will also be able to learn how important bats are.

"I give a little spiel about the importance of bats to the ecosystem. People don't realize how important they are for pollination services," Fowler said.

The event starts at 7:45 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Beaumont Tower.

They will have a raffle for some batty gifts and a projected display on the tower before the walk begins to Beal Botanical Gardens.

For more information about the walk, click here.

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