Local artist Estraven Lupino-Smith speaks with community members about their bat-inspired artwork at the Bat Bash. The event was held by the Metchosin Community Hall and Habitat Acquisition Trust to celebrate the hall’s resident bat colony. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Metchosin community gathers to celebrate with Bat Bash

Annual event provided education and artistry inspired by local bat colony residing in Metchosin community hall

The Metchosin Community Hall was buzzing with excitement Sunday as community members gathered to celebrate and learn about the hall’s resident bat colony at the annual Bat Bash.

Hosted by the Metchosin Community Hall and the Habitat Acquisition Trust, the day’s events featured crafts, treats, a silent auction, a bat art installation and information about local bat species.

READ MORE: Public’s help needed in tracking bat activity

The Habitat Acquisition Trust serves southern Vancouver Island and according to executive director Katie Blake, is focusing on the Metchosin area at the moment.

“We’re connecting East Sooke Park with the Sooke Hills Wilderness area and are trying to keep the habitat connected between those two,” Blake said. “We’re working with the community to enhance nature on their own properties and in their neighbourhoods.”

Paige Erickson-McGee is the stewardship coordinator with Habitat Acquisition Trust and she said there are close to 1,200 bats living in the hall’s attic.

“The hall is one of the first in Vancouver Island to be a host for a bat colony,” Erickson-McGee said, adding there are concerns for local bat populations due to things like habitat loss, disease and human disruption of roosts.

And while the colony in the hall is hibernating right now, they’ll be back in full swing come spring, she added.

READ MORE: Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

Local artist Estraven Lupino-Smith, who put together an art installation inspired by the bats, said they were inspired to do so after learning about the many bats that are dying of disease in Eastern regions of the country.

They said they paired up with Habitat Acquisition Trust earlier in the year and used their research to inform their art.

“There’s currently a fungal disease that’s wiping out bats on the East coast,” Lupino-Smith said.

But Lupino-Smith also said they were inspired by the creatures because they are cute.

Erickson-McGee said that there are some myths surrounding bats that need to be dispelled; one of them is that they aren’t ridden with disease.

“Bat poop is safe in our area of the world,” Erickson-McGee said. “And they’re not rats. They’re not even closely related to rats.”

As for whether or not they turn you into vampires, Erickson-McGee said she has yet to test that theory out.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

Saanich to hear update on regional sewage treatment plant

Likely subjects of presentation include fate of trees along Grange Road, costs

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read