Going batty with Champions for Wildlife

Published 7:49 am Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Did you know that bats the only mammals that fly, or that some species of bats have been clocked at flying up to one hundred miles per hour? 

These and other facts were shared with students in Polk County Schools’ after school programs and several in-school sessions, as they learned about bats from Champions for Wildlife Education Coordinator Alexis Hinchliffe. 

As the goal of Champions for Wildlife is to inspire kids to love wildlife through art, the sessions include a related Wild for Art activity. For this project, each K-8 grade student traced a bat template onto heavy black paper, cut it out with scissors, drew in the bone structure, features and fur, added sparkly rhinestone eyes and then mounted their bat onto a decorated wooden wand. The resultant bat’s wings were bent so that the paper animals “flew” in the way that bats move, pushing the air with the membranes stretched between their long fingers. 

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Champions for Wildlife relies on a cast of volunteers to help in their school programs, alongside the teacher Alexis and Outreach Coordinator Karen Dacey, who creates and leads most art projects and organizes the volunteers. Involved in this series were Elise Fillpot, Jess Glasscock, Ellen Douglas, Rob Fuller, Cathy Brettman, Lynne Parsons, and their ever-reliable ally, David Riddle. 

Students created bats as part of an art project during a recent Champions for Wildlife session.

Other Champions for Wildlife projects this fall have included a Pollinators series at Polk Central Elementary School, resulting in students and community partners planting a pollinator garden. Also, a Pollinators series is continuing at Polk County Middle School as well as presentations on Birds, Red Wolves, Hellbenders, and Monarch Butterflies have been held in various local schools. Debbie Junge has been a consistent volunteer with these projects, along with help from Rebecca Barnes, Shannon Lindsay and Denise Harwell.  

These programs have been supported in part by grants from the Forbes Foundation and the Polk County Community Foundation via Polk County Schools. As a nonprofit organization, Champions for Wildlife relies on the generosity of others to provide much of their support, and welcomes local donations on Giving Tuesday as well as any time through the year. To donate this fall, visit the organizations website or mail to Champions for Wildlife, PO Box 128, Lynn, NC 28750.

Most of us realize the importance of “passing the torch” to our younger generations to help care for the natural world around us. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer or supporter and help make a difference, visit www.championsforwildlife.org for more information.  

 

Submitted by Karen Dacey