Iowa DNR looking for volunteers to conduct bat research

(Photo: Daniel Vianna / CC BY-SA 3.0)
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteers to help conduct surveys for bats in several Iowa counties, part of a long-running project by the department.

Volunteers are needed in Dubuque, Lucas, Jackson, Warren, and Clayton counties. Participants would work in teams of two on one night in both June and July for around two and a half hours. A two-hour training session in late May would also be required. DNR officials estimate total time commitment at roughly 10 hours between all activities.

The survey, called the Acoustic Monitoring Survey for Bats, involves mounting a microphone to the vehicle, which is attached to bat-detecting equipment inside the vehicle. One person drives at 20 mph, while the other gives directions for a predetermined 30-mile route and monitors the equipment.

Volunteers would need to have a flexible schedule, as the equipment used is not effective in certain weather conditions. They also need a vehicle, the ability to record data on datasheets, and the ability to coordinate with other teams to share limited equipment resources.

The survey has been conducted for six years as a joint effort between the Iowa DNR and researchers at Iowa State University as part of the Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program. It helps monitor population trends, especially in the wake of White Nose Syndrome which has caused a decline in bat numbers across the Midwest.

Those that are interested can look for the Volunteer Interest form on the Iowa DNR's website.