4-H Bat House Relocated to New Home
Thousands of bats have a new address to call home. Today, crews from Navy Federal Credit Union’s general contractor Hensel Phelps Construction Company installed the bat house on its new foundation on the Escambia County 4-H property, located at 5681 Chalker Road in Molino.
According to UF IFAS Extension Agent Carrie Stevenson, the bat house was funded by the Florida and Escambia County 4-H Foundations and has enabled thousands of children and their families to learn the ecological benefits of bats.
The bat house was originally built in 2010 on the former 4-H property located on West Nine Mile Road in Beulah. The property was sold to Navy Federal Credit Union in 2012, but leaders with the financial institution committed to relocating the bat house.
“We are very excited to be part of this process,” said Debbie Calder, executive vice president of Navy Federal’s Greater Pensacola Operations. “The bat house was a unique feature of the 4-H property and we are glad we could work with Hensel Phelps and the Escambia County 4-H to make sure this structure could continue to serve both as a home for wildlife and as an educational tool for local children.”
Originally, materials for the house cost about $4,500 and the building was constructed for free by Rick Jones and his students in the Pensacola State College carpentry program. The relocation of the bat house was made possible by Navy Federal, Hensel Phelps Construction and the donation of new poles by Gulf Power Company.
“I was thrilled when Navy Federal approached me about moving the bat house up to the new property,” said Carrie Stevenson, who specializes in educational outreach on sustainable land use. “This will be a tremendous resource for 4-H’ers and other members of the community to learn more about local wildlife. We hope that it can become as populated as the large bat house on the UF campus in Gainesville.”
The bat house was designed to provide shelter for up to 50,000 bats. The structure also serves to educate local youth about the important role bats play in the environment. Contrary to popular culture references, “vampire bats” do not live in the United States, and native bats help control insect populations can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
For more information on bats or the new bat house, contact UF IFAS Escambia County Extension at 850-475-5230.