2018-09-06 / Life in Leelanau

Bats may lead to Eagle Scout award

by Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff


WORKING TO earn his Eagle Scout rank, Lake Leelanau St. Mary student Micah Thompson works alongside volunteers last Thursday at the bat house building event held at the Leelanau Conservancy Workshop Barn. WORKING TO earn his Eagle Scout rank, Lake Leelanau St. Mary student Micah Thompson works alongside volunteers last Thursday at the bat house building event held at the Leelanau Conservancy Workshop Barn. To earn his Eagle, he’s helping bats.

Micah Thoreson, a senior at Lake Leelanau St. Mary, is checking the boxes toward his Eagle Scout award. One of the required “boxes” is a service project, Thoreson explained.

He chose bats. Specifically, the Northern Long Eared Bat.

“I wanted to help these animals,” Thoreson said. “We live in a really beautiful area, but some of the animals need help.”

While researching, Thompson learned quite a bit about bats.

“I am a huge fan of reading, and I’m a huge fan of bats,” he said.

While the Northern Long Eared Bat is not officially endangered, it’s close — due to a fungus called “white nose fungus.”


VOLUNTEERS LEND a helping hand to cut pieces to be used to build bat houses for Micah Thoreson’s Eagle Scout project at a workshop held last Thursday at the Leelanau Conservancy Workshop Barn. Pictured, from left, are Leelanau Conservancy volunteers Lake Leelanau resident Al Swiderski and Traverse City resident Dave Coyne, and Conservancy land steward Chase Heise. VOLUNTEERS LEND a helping hand to cut pieces to be used to build bat houses for Micah Thoreson’s Eagle Scout project at a workshop held last Thursday at the Leelanau Conservancy Workshop Barn. Pictured, from left, are Leelanau Conservancy volunteers Lake Leelanau resident Al Swiderski and Traverse City resident Dave Coyne, and Conservancy land steward Chase Heise. To combat spread of the fungus and help the struggling bat population, Thoreson is helping to build and install 20 bat houses in Leelanau County. The houses will help spread out the bat population, which will help reduce close contact in packed bat colonies that causes the spread of white nose fungus, and temper infection rates.

As a first step, he organized a bat house building workshop held last Thursday at the Leelanau Conservancy Workshop Barn. According to Thoreson, about 40 people showed up to cut and prepare pieces needed to build the bat houses. Their efforts produced materials for 20 houses that now need to be assembled and painted.

Thoreson said he plans to hold a follow-up workshop to assemble and paint the bat houses in the fall or spring. His Scout troop plans to install the completed boxes in appropriate places once they are complete.

“We need to make sure these bat houses are placed appropriately to benefit the bats,” he said. “Not everyone who signed up for a house will get one.”

If you are interested in learning more about his project, participating in an upcoming workshop, or making a donation, you can find out more on the “Micah’s Eagle Scout Project” Facebook page.

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