Bat Appreciation Day at Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine
Thank you to everyone who joined the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wildlife Division and Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for a celebration of bat conservation this past September 2023, at the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby. Bat Appreciation Day highlights the story of one of Connecticut’s most intriguing historical sites and its importance to the conservation of endangered species. Stay tuned for the exact date and details for the next Bat Appreciation Day in September 2024.
This event features 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”, bat crafts, a free entry for a chance to win a fun door prize, and a chance to see a live bat up close.
Bat-tastic Activities for Kids and Families to Do at Home
Learn about bat houses and get tips on installing a bat house in your yard from this video posted on the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page.
Bat Bingo: Families can try to make a "bingo" with this fun activity about bats!
Learn about echolocation while playing the Bat and Moth Game.
Creature Crafts: Toilet Paper Tube Bat (YouTube video) -- Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife outreach staff member Gabby DeMeillon shares some info about bat conservation and demonstrates how to make a simple bat craft out of a toilet paper tube!
Color and cut out a Bat Mask. Pick from 4 designs, courtesy of Bat Conservation International:
7 Best Recipes for Bat Appreciation Day!
Bats, especially many found in deserts and the Tropics, are important pollinators. Here are 7 recipes (plus one just for adults) using bat-pollinated plants to enjoy each day during “Bat Week”. The bat-pollinated food is shown in italics.
All videos were either pre-recorded or livestreams that are posted on our Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page.
- Bat Appreciation Days Introduction - Wildlife Division Supervising Biologist Brian Hess provides an introduction about bats and the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine.
- Mobile Acoustic Bat Survey - Brian Hess also presented a livestream of a Bat Monitoring and Acoustic Survey. Brian drove a survey route and demonstrated how special equipment captures the acoustic sounds of bats. Along the way, he explained why the Wildlife Division is collecting the information and how it helps bats.
- Brian and Morgan Bengel, with the CT Department of Economic and Community Development and site manager for the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine, gave a live presentation about the bats that live at the historic site; discussed how the Wildlife Division monitors the bats; and provided a pre-sunset tour of our nation's oldest state prison. (link to video)
- Bat Appreciation Days - Bat Houses - Wildlife Biologists Brian Hess and Kate Moran discuss some tips for installing a bat house. (Bat House Plans)
- Tips on Bat Exclusion - How to live with bats in your attic.
- Bats for Kids -- A great video where kids can learn about bats.
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”, in part because they hibernate underground in caves and mines. Cave bats are affected by the disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS). In less than 10 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 35 states and seven Canadian provinces.
Bat Appreciation Day offers the perfect opportunity to experience the remarkable history of Old New-Gate Prison through the lens of the state-endangered bats who have claimed it as their winter home. Little brown, tri-colored, and northern long-eared bats have all used this site to hibernate during the winter months. DECD and DEEP are diligently working to protect this site, and it is imperative to tell the story of the bats, the history of the site, and its importance for conservation efforts in the future.
Listen to a report by WNPR Connecticut Public Radio about the Wildlife Division's ongoing efforts to monitor Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine.
There is so much to learn about bats and how you can help them. Check out the following resources for interesting natural history information, how to build a bat house, descriptions of Wildlife Division research and monitoring efforts, and so much more.
Bats Count! Live Bat Cam at the White Memorial Conservation Center
Living with Bats (advice if you have bats living in your house or outbuildings)
Teaching About Bats (A resource for educators and parents to teach children about bats)
Articles in Connecticut Wildlife Magazine:
Bat Appreciation Day at Old-Newgate Prison and Copper Mine
Rediscovering a Long-lost Bat
Little Brown Bat Colony Discovered at White Memorial
Sparks Fly for Bat Conservation
Listening to Bats - A Glimpse into the Night
Denizens of Darkness: Facts and Fables about Bats
What You Didn't Know About Bats
White-nose Syndrome Devastates CT's Hibernating Bats
Bad News for Bat Conservation
Content last updated September 25, 2023.