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'Bat Days' and bat nights

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and AWA hold pre-Halloween bat-themed events

Posted: October 24, 2013 - 11:01pm

This weekend, bats will invade the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center — in 2D. The Visitor Center is holding an event called “Bat Days,” which will provide activities for children and their families.

Bats are also the topic of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance Southeast Chapter’s upcoming “Wildlife Wednesday” lecture, during which Alaska Department of Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Biologist Karen Blejwas will speak. Blejwas has been studying Southeast’s bats for more than three years.

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Park Ranger Helen Unruh said the visitor center will be providing activities, screening informative videos and talking about bats over the weekend. Visitors will be able to “learn about these fascinating, mysterious little mammals that can fly,” she said. (Bats are the only known flying mammals.)

“You can come to learn more about bats and to have some fun with some crafts and games,” she said.

Alaska Wildlife Alliance Southeast Chapter member Patricia Wherry said she’s excited about Blejwas’ talk next “Wildlife Wednesday.”

“She goes around with this electronic eavesdropping device to listen to them,” she said. “It’s almost like she’s counting ghosts — that’s what she has to do to even find them.”

Wherry also pointed out that Blejwas’ research is “right in the Juneau area, too,” so her research is relevant to Southeast residents’ experiences with bats.

“I just get excited trying to find out ‘What kind of research did she do?’ and ‘What has she learned about our bats?’” she said. “I want to find out what she knows.”

The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center event is this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AWA’s Wildlife Wednesday is next Wednesday, Oct. 30 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Thunder Mountain High School Library, where the group plans to hold all its future events this season. Wherry invited audience members to “come in costume if you dare.”

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