project Ideas

Bat Food Sources

If you live in a region that is visited by nectar-eating bats in the spring and summer, an important project you can consider is adding plants that provide the pollen and nectar sources bats rely on when they are in your region. Plants like agave and certain cacti that grow in tall column shapes with flowers that bloom at night are a favorite of bats.

Some challenges to creating or adding to this kind of habitat is that pollinating bats like to feed in places with a huge abundance of these plants. Another potential challenge is that it can take a long time for these plants to grow to maturity, with some taking as long as ten years! Despite these challenges, it is still important to create this habitat to ensure bats will have food in the future.

If you don't have a lot of space, nectar-eating bats can also get energy from the nectar we would ordinarily feed hummingbirds. When the bats arrive back in the far southwestern US in the spring and summer to have their babies, they need lots of energy, so consider putting out hummingbird feeders for them. The feeders need to be cleaned regularly. A nectar recipe for bats is 1 cup of sugar dissolved into 4 cups of water and cooled.

Relevant United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG’s) are a list of projects and actions that all countries can take on to improve their economies and reduce poverty while also protecting the planet. If you choose this project for your Quest, you will help address climate change through the goals listed below:

Questions to Consider

As you consider this project idea, here are some questions to ask:

  • Does this project address the threats of your pollinator species? How?

  • How can this project help your ecosystem?

  • What are the specific ways your project will help your pollinator species? If you feel like your project won't help enough, you can combine multiple projects.
  • Is this an effective project for the space in which you are working?

  • Does your class have the time, money, and ability to do this project?

Helpful Resources

Here are some useful resources with more details on this project

  • Ecoregional Planting Guides - Lookup the ecoregion that corresponds to your ZIP code to read about gardening for pollinators in your ecoregion. (Pollinator Partnership)

  • Bat Conservation International is an international organization committed to conserving bats and bat habitat around the world. Check their website and reach out to their team for some helpful suggestions.