Bat Education with High School Students
Jon Boxall Uxbridge Secondary School, Durham District School Board
The start of the new school year is always busy, throw in two canoe trips within the first five weeks and it is downright chaotic. That's how its been here at Uxbridge Secondary School this semester with the Outer's Club heading to Algonquin Park and the Outdoor Education class venturing further north to Kilarney Provincial Park. Along on these trips are an Echo Meter Touch bat detector and occasionally a SM4BAT Recorder. Students gather at the water's edge at dusk to look for, and hopefully record, foraging bats. Back in the classroom students will process the recordings with Kaleidoscope software.
Over the past summer some bat recordings were collected at our Outdoor Education Center and these recordings will be analyzed by the students in the coming months.
A busy fall semester saw the Outers Club and the Outdoor Education class take part in several overnight out-trips this year. Along on these trips were an Echo Meter Touch and a SM4BAT recorder. While camping in Algonquin Park and while staying at Camp Kandalore, students were able, on a few nights, to survey for bats (unfortunately poor weather conditions on some of these nights prevented bats from flying). We did manage to get some good recordings of Big Brown/Silver Haired bats on those nights.
With the tripping season over students have now had time to formally learn more about Ontario's bats. Through power point presentations and first-hand demonstrations students, including those who are not able to attend over- night trips, have learned how bio-acoustics is helping bat researchers study bats.
Some of our students are using the Kaleidoscope software to analyze recordings made over the summer from various locations within Central Ontario and at our residential Outdoor Education Center. While these students and myself! are getting more familiar with the software we (it has) have managed to identify four of Ontario's eight species so far. Some of our recordings will require further vetting from more knowledgeable bat experts.
With semester two fast approaching another group students will soon have the opportunity to learn more about Ontario's bats and the technologies being used to study them. We are patiently looking forward to the upcoming spring field season as well.