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

Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

Four presentations on the medical properties of cannabis for seniors come to Victoria

Rickter Scale: California Dreaming with Steve Shutt

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column in the Goldstream News Gazette

Victoria gears up to axe free parking on Sundays

Council vote puts Sunday parking fees towards bus passes for youth

Oak Bay one step closer to deer immunocontraceptive test

Up to 80 deer could be given ‘birth control’ vaccine in the fall

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

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

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Nanaimo edges Royal Bay by one point to win Vancouver Island AAA girls basketball title

Nanaimo District Secondary School wins first AAA girls’ Island title in 29 years

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Most Read