Participation in helping, studying bats declined

The M.D. of Smoky River declined at its March 9 meeting to take part in a program to preserve bats.
Robb Stavne, vice-chair, Boreal Nature Network, emailed council with the request Feb. 11. He has previously worked in the Peace region as a biologist with the Alberta Conservation Association, and is now an independent consultant with Sora Ecological Consulting.
Stavne told council his group was successful in getting a grant to start a bat monitoring program in northern Alberta. Part of the plan is to build maternal bat roosts and collect information on existing roost sites. The grant covers the costs of all materials but not time spent collecting data. Stavne asked council to consider supporting one or two youths in the program.
Northern Sunrise County was targeted as a partner community in 2021, and is providing $2,000 each year for five years in support of 40 hours of work during the summer. However, the group wants to expand to the Town of Peace River, M.D. of Peace, M.D. of Greenview and the M.D. of Smoky River in 2022.
The request of Smoky River was for $2,000 for two volunteer positions but council declined.
Councillor Alain Blanchette noted there were plenty of bats at Winagami Lake Provincial Park where he camps. He added they fly around the campfires.
“You can actually catch one,” he said, but added campers “still get bit by mosquitos.”

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