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Eagle project brings bat boxes to Cache Creek Preserve

A Boy Scout’s Eagle project has resulted in nine new bat boxes for the Cache Creek Nature Preserve.

A dozen or so volunteers digging holes for bat box poles at the Nature Preserve

Volunteers dug holes and used cement to stabilize three poles at the Cache Creek Preserve in late September. The poles hold a total of nine bat boxes.

(Jim Smith, Courtesy)

Elias Pollard came up with the idea as a result of doing volunteer work at the Nature Preserve, located west of Woodland.

Bats are critical parts of the ecosystem. They consume massive numbers of insects which would be damaging to local crops if left unchecked. Some species are also endangered.

There are some 25 species of bats in California with the most common in the Sacramento area being the Mexican free-tailed bat.

The 17-year-old Woodlander said he has been going to the Preserve “since before I could walk” and wanted to give something back after noticing a number of existing bat boxes were looking run down.

The son of Jeff and Christine Pollard was reached at the Preserve again this past Sunday doing some landscape maintenance along Cache Creek as well as at the Tending and Gathering Garden.

Volunteers erected nine bat boxes on three metal polesat the Cache Creek Preserve.

(Jim Smith, Courtesy)

Four young people planting a bat box pole at the Cache Creek Nature Preserve

Christine works at Moving With Grace, a local moving company on Beamer Street. Jeff is a history teacher at Natomas Charter School.

“I enjoy bats and nocturnal creatures and have also have been coming to the preserve since before I could walk,” he said. “And I wanted to give something back. I noticed that a lot of the bat boxes were old and hoped it would get the bats out of the storage areas of the Preserve.”

Pollard said he already has 20 or more merit badges through his work with Boy Scout Troop 69 and thought the project could be the culmination of his time scouting.

Working with Preserve biologist Felicia Wang, beginning in August Pollard what type of bat boxes would be best and eventually decided to install a total of nine “rocket-style” bat boxes on three separate metal poles scattered across the Preserve with three boxes per pole.

“Rocket-style” bat boxes differ in that they are narrower and a bit taller than traditional “square-style” boxes, which aren’t that wide. The square-style boxes are typically installed on the sides of outdoor structures such as barns or other outbuildings.

“Rocket-style” boxes are designed to be used in open spaces where there could be a greater threat of predators.

Pollard bought most of the materials from a commercial company and then assembled the wooden boxes himself, finishing in late September before erecting them with about 15 members of his troop and other Preserve volunteers.

He estimated the cost of buying and building the boxes and metal poles at around $1,000.

The three boxes on each metal pole are pointed in different directions meaning that different families of bats can have their individual living areas.

It’s still a bit early to tell if the boxes are attracting bats.

Now that his project is complete, Pollard, who also attends Natomas Charter School, plans to continue helping out Troop 69 until graduating from high school.

As for the future, Pollard expects to continue doing volunteer work at the Preserve but is now deciding what to do after he graduates.

He said he’s “juggling” the idea of volunteering to serve the U.S. Marine Corps or going on to college where he wants to study criminal justice, eventually going into law enforcement.

Article by Jim Smith, Cache Creek Conservancy Board Member
Reprinted with permission from the Daily Democrat
Eagle project brings bat boxes to Cache Creek Preserve

For more about Bats, Bat Week and the California State Bat, check out Keep a sharp lookout for bats at Nature Preserve’s Trunk or Treat at the Daily Democrat.

Posted on October 31st, 2023 by Cache Creek Conservancy

Posted in: Cache Creek Nature Preserve
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