Local Conservation Fund Feature: Kootenay Community Bat Project – Upper Columbia Valley

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provide funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The purpose of the CVLCF is to provide local financial support for important projects that will contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas; one step towards restoring and preserving a healthy environment.

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) was established in 2004 with the goal of raising awareness about bat conservation. Funded by the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund and the Columbia Basin Trust,, the KCBP supports landowners who have bats, conducts inventories of bats in buildings, and promotes the Annual Bat Count. KCBP’s presence in the upper Columbia Valley is still relatively new and they believe strongly in personal conversations using a diverse set of tools. You may see KCBP connecting with residents at farmer’s markets, delivering workshops at community events, writing articles for the local newspapers and connecting with residents and visitors using social media tools..

In 2016, the KCBP delivered a comprehensive program throughout the Columbia Valley. Highlights included:

  • Making connections with 19 landowners from throughout the area via their website and toll free telephone number to discuss dead bats, how to home renovate without disturbing bats, how to enhance bat habitat, and troubleshoot if existing bat houses did not attract bats.
  • Re-engaging with individuals who participate in the program in year’s previous
  • Beginning to see new landowners reach out because they were referred by a friend or neighbour.
  • Increasing exposure through the distribution of 5 targeted press releases in local newspapers.
  • Maintaining a strong presence on social media throughout the year. In total, 20 posts on the KCBP Facebook page one post alone reached 2,811 people.
  • Investing time in making personal connections with local residents at six farmer’s markets in the upper Columbia Valley. All events well attended (340 individuals in total).
  • Building relationships with the local Akisqnuk First Nation community through First Nations Day a bat-house workshop at the Little Badger’s Daycare.
  • Connecting with the community through bat talks at the Blue Lake Education Camp the Invermere Hospital.
  • Continuing the Building Homes for Bats program to support upper Columbia Valley residents that want to build, install and monitor at least two bat houses.

For more information please visit their website here: http://www.kootenaybats.com