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Johnson Engineering > News & Community > Outlook Newsletter > Bringing Bats into the Classroom

Bringing Bats into the Classroom

Outlook Newsletter Winter 2016/17 IssueIn late October, just in time for Halloween, ecologist Gary Nychyk in the Johnson Engineering environmental group, gave a presentation about bats to three Lee County Florida public schools, Edison Park Elementary, Heights Elementary, and Lexington Middle School.

The presentation included an overview of bat characteristics, discussions on where they live, what they eat, what eats them, and an introduction to the Florida bonneted bat, which is listed as an Endangered Species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Prior to the presentations, the schools invited Johnson Engineering to deploy our ultrasonic recorder for 7-10 nights at the schools to collect bat call data, which allowed the students to learn about the bats that actually live in their own neighborhoods.

Gary was able to demonstrate the latest acoustic bat detection equipment (Song Meter SM4Bat ultrasonic bioacoustics recorders© by Wildlife Acoustics), which is able to record thousands of bat calls on site and allow the user to process and visualize those calls during discussions with permitting agencies. Using the ultrasonic recorders along with Kaleidoscope© and Anabat© software, students were able to see how the identifying traits of bat calls were used to help determine which species was recorded.

Johnson Engineering is a pioneer of using this specialized recording equipment in southern Florida to conduct passive acoustic surveys for the Florida bonneted bat as required by the USFWS. We can deploy up to seven Song Meter ultrasonic recorders, covering large projects much faster, and with more precision than other consultants.

In all, Gary presented to over 600 students from a total of 20 classes ranging from 2nd to 7th grade. The children asked lots of great questions after each presentation, showing that these young scientists were captivated by this interesting topic and perhaps will remain as one of their fond grade school memories.

For more information, contact Gary Nychyk at mkt@johnsoneng.com.