United States

Bat Week Kicks Off on Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill has gone batty.

Bat Week has kicked off in D.C. and conservationists are showing off bats on the Hill to spread awareness about the importance of the cute and creepy critters to Congress.

Advocates say bats are significant in protecting the environment, but are in danger.

“Bats are the primary predators of night time insects. They eat tons of insects. They protect our crops, our gardens and our forests,” Rob Mies, executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, told News4. “We need to make sure that we protect them and unfortunately, there’s a fungus that’s been killing bats across North America.”

This year’s Bat Week celebration is called “Go to Bat for Bats.” According to Bat Week’s website, organizations in the U.S. and Canada -- including the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service -- are offering different activities from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31.

This Saturday you can see millions of "virtual" bats swirling around you as part of a virtual bat cave at the U.S. Botanic Gardens. The free event goes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to the National Park Service, people can celebrate Bat Week taking a pledge to help bats, wearing bat ears on social media and preparing dishes that are made possible through bats.

“Bats are also pollinators. Blue agave that we make tequila from is only pollinated by bats,” Mies said.

Bats have a special place in the D.C. area. In 2005, then Virginia Gov. Mark Warner declared the Virginia big-eared bat the state’s official species and Rock Creek Parkway in D.C. is home to several endangered bat species.

For more information and events visit batweek.org.

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