Bat Appreciation Day To Be Held at Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine Sept. 12
Celebrate History and Bats at a Fun-filled Event for All Ages!
(HARTFORD)—Join the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wildlife Division and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for a celebration of bat conservation at the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby on Sunday, September 12, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This event will help raise awareness about the story of one of Connecticut’s most intriguing historical sites and its importance to the conservation of endangered species.
Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine is our nation’s oldest state prison. It is also the first operating copper mine in the North American colonies. Today, it is not just an amazing cultural resource – its underground tunnels are the winter home of several state endangered bat species.
The bats of Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine are considered “cave bats” because they overwinter underground. Cave bats are affected by the disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS). In less than 15 years since its initial detection in New York, WNS has killed millions of bats throughout the Northeast and has spread to and been documented in 37 states and seven Canadian provinces.
To raise awareness of the plight of bats and their importance to our ecosystem and our economy, the DEEP Wildlife Division and DECD Office of Culture and Tourism have joined forces to host the fifth annual Bat Appreciation Day at Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine on Sunday, September 12. The day will feature bat activities for the whole family and include exhibits, bat story time, historical tales, the unique opportunity to sneak a peek at the “bat cave”, a bat craft “door prize” for kids, a free entry for a chance to win a fun door prize, and a chance to see a live bat up close. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and to promote social distancing, certain activities will be limited in size. To keep everybody safe, including the bats, we strongly encourage everyone to wear masks when social distancing is not possible or anytime indoors and while touring the mine.
For those who do not wish to attend in person, we will be live-streaming certain activities from our Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CTFishAndWildlife/) and will post additional bat-tastic information on our website (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Wild-Activities/Bats-at-Old-New-Gate-Prison-Virtual-Event).
“We are excited to be partnering with DEEP,” said Morgan Bengel, site manager of Old New-Gate. “Bat Appreciation Day is a great opportunity to showcase our facility and connect people with the cultural and natural history here.”
“This is a great chance to learn the remarkable history of Old New-gate Prison and view it through the lens of the state-endangered bats that depend on it as their winter home,” said Jenny Dickson, DEEP Wildlife Division Director. “Little brown, tri-colored, and northern long-eared bats have all used this site to hibernate during the winter months. DECD and DEEP have worked closely together to protect this unique site and we are looking forward to telling its history, the story of the bats, and the importance of both for conservation efforts in the future.”
For more information on Bat Appreciation Day and directions to Old New-Gate Prison and Coppermine visit: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Historic-Preservation/04_State_Museums/Old-Newgate-Prison-and-Copper-Mine. To learn more about bats across Connecticut, visit the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Learn-About-Wildlife/Bats-in-Connecticut.
Bat Appreciation Day, scheduled for September 12, 2021 at the Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine in East Granby, will create awareness about the story of one of Connecticut’s most intriguing historical sites and its importance to the conservation of endangered species.
Photo credit: Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development