Invasive species identification at the KVR

Invasive species identification class at the KVR

As part of my job at Organic Valley I get to organize programs and educational events for employees that center around environmental sustainability. One of my favorite programs that we’ve done this year is a series of educational hikes with the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. We’re so lucky to have the KVR as neighbors and it has been great to take advantage of their location and skilled instructors to learn more about different environmental topics.

Earlier this month, KVR instructor Ben Johnston visited our Headquarters to give a lecture on bats in Wisconsin. That evening, CROPP employees joined him on a bat survey as part of the Wisconsin DNR Bat Monitoring Program.

The results from our bat survey earlier this month. Click on the image for a larger view

The results from our bat survey earlier this month. Click on the image for a larger view

We met after sunset and hiked about 5 miles through the KVR. It was a beautiful night with nice weather and the sky was clear and full of stars. Everyone was able to take a turn holding the bat detector which is a device that picks up ultrasonic calls from bats flying nearby and displays their calls on a screen.

After the hike we sent the data to the DNR for analysis. The results came in today and we recorded three different types of bats: the little brown, the big brown, and the Eastern red. We also recorded a number of other bat calls that weren’t complete enough for the analysis team to identify.

We all had a great time and it was so much fun to be involved in collecting data that the DNR can use in their monitoring program. Check out the WI Bat Monitoring Program for ideas on how you can get involved!