Here’s a sign of summer – BEEPS would like to introduce their summer students! From the left is  Kaylene Eytcheson, Michael Shearwood, Jackson MacPherson and Natalie Rehberg. BEEPs president Heidi Slyngbom, and Lynne Herrin, Janet Hornseth and Cheryl Evans from the visitor centre / art gallery also joined in on this recent nature walk.

What are the students working on this summer? The Bat House Interpretive Trail – 1km loop along Trepanier Creek that connects with other walking trails in the woods – is expected to be popular. These students are happy to share what they know about our local bat population – information on bat shelter, food and life cycle are displayed along the trail, and they’ll also be reminding people about social distancing when necessary. The Interpretive Trail is also a pleasant self guided walk for all ages, abilities and dogs. To make a guided tour reservation or to pick up a trail map, head over to the visitor centre at the Peachland historic school. They’re now open, but check their Facebook page, call (250) 767-2455 or email to double check!

In other BEEPS news, May 22 marked the first impromptu bat count of the season! They counted 1,006 mamma bats up in the schoolhouse attic. The first official count is planned for June 19. They’ll be doing it physical distance style and asking participants to download apps to use for counting instead of the regular clickers.

Did you know Peachland is one of only three official bat-friendly communities in BC? It’s because of the work of BEEPS! Founded in 2015, BEEPS has the good fortune of being the caretakers and advocates for the little brown bats which have roosted for decades in the attic of Peachland’s historic yellow schoolhouse. Estimated to be around 2,000 strong, our town’s bat population is a maternity colony, comprised mostly of females and their pups. Through their educational programs BEEPS has become a provincial leader in managing and spreading the word about bat health, preservation, and maintaining their habitat. BEEPS’ Bat House interpretive trail has become an interesting way to enjoy a walk, with information displays about bats and their importance to our ecosystem. The group’s bat counts have also become a unique summer tradition. Visitors gather at the schoolhouse just before dusk. When the bats leave their attic roost to feed on the insects that hover over Okanagan Lake, the totals are counted and recorded as a way to keep track of the population.

Check them out on Facebook or their website.

Written by Kristen Friesen

May 25, 2020

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