Spreading the Word to Stop the Spread of White-nose Syndrome
A Teen Teaching Others Why We Should Save Our Bats
White-nose syndrome, a mysterious and deadly bat disease, broke out in New York in 2006. Since then, it has killed nearly 7 million bats — including endangered species — and has been confirmed in 19 states and four Canadian provinces. The fungus has also been found on bats in Oklahoma.
Diana Fontaine, a New Hampshire high school senior who graduated in 2012, heard about white-nose syndrome and became passionate about saving these precious flying mammals, which humans depend on to devour insect pests that could otherwise devastate our crops. She wanted to spread the word about the bat-killing epidemic.
Diana did her senior project on bats and white-nose syndrome, partially under the guidance of the Center’s Jennifer Shepherd (who acted as her official “professional mentor”) and our primary bat advocate, Mollie Matteson. Her project took the form of a public presentation in May 2012, in which she talked about what white-nose syndrome is, how it affects bat populations, how bat declines can affect humans and what all of us can do to help protect bats.
Diana also taught a class about white-nose syndrome to a troop of Girl Scouts, even leading the troop in an excursion to paint bat houses — mini-habitats or “safehouses” for bats to take shelter in urban areas — which she also plans on building in her own community.
A budding fundraising expert, Diana raised $260 to donate to help promote white-nose research and help prevent its creep across the nation.
And she’s not finished yet. Diana is continuing to spread the word about saving bats and will do all she can to prevent their demise.
“White-nose syndrome is taking a huge toll on bat populations,” she said. She begs you to learn more about bats’ value to humans, white-nose syndrome’s serious threat and how we can save our bats from it wiping them out.
Learn about the Center’s Save Our Bats campaign and take action online to help stop the spread of white-nose syndrome.
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