James Lane was a junior at Catlin Gable School in Portland, when he attended a spring program in 2019 at Malheur Field Station to build bat boxes. James’s stepfather, Scott Bowler was to lead the group and at the last minute couldn’t make it. The students built and repaired bird boxes during their stay instead.
James said “I’m interested in conservation and my step father, Scott Bowler introduced me to the Malheur Field Station. James couldn’t forget the bat boxes and their importance on the refuge. “It seemed a good way to combine my interests into a school project. According to Alexis Martinez, biologist at MNWR says “There are 15 species of bats in Oregon, twelve of those species are found at Malheur”. Test results in 2019 yielded information that the 12 species on the refuge are free of white nose syndrome, a fungus decimating bat populations in some parts of the country. According to MNWR, bats eat insects, including mosquitoes and are a food source to hawks, owls, and some snakes. Weasels and raccoons will climb trees to get them.
Making a bat house is more complicated than one might think. Over the summer, James, using his father’s workshop built 24 bat houses! He volunteered his time and his own money to bring this project to fruition. With help from his step father Scott, they coordinated in November to deliver 24 bat boxes to the Malheur Field Station. The Malheur Field Station is sharing 10 of these to be distributed and put up all around the MNWR headquarters, Buena Vista and Double O as well as the Malheur Field Station.
James is an incredible young man with no doubt a bright future. We are thankful to James and his stepfather Scott for their time and donation to the Malheur Field Station. We may not see James for a while, as he is heading farther east to pursue his studies at Colby College in Maine. We wish him success and hope to see him again on station in the future.