Bat Appreciation Days at Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine Virtual Event
Celebrate history and bats with us from August 31 to September 4, 2020!
Join 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 during a virtual event to be held from August 31 through September 4, 2020. Bat Appreciation Days will highlight the story of one of Connecticut’s most intriguing historical sites, the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby, and its importance to the conservation of endangered species. In years past, Bat Appreciation Day was held on-site at the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine. This year, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the event will go online, but will still feature bat activities for the whole family.
Following is a brief agenda of activities planned for Bat Appreciation Days. Stay tuned all week as we add more activities and information, and be sure to follow the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page for videos, livestreams, and updates about activities.
Monday, August 31: Wildlife Division Supervising Biologist Brian Hess will provide an introduction about bats and the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine (link to video) on the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page.
Tuesday, September 1: Starting at approximately 7:45 PM, tune into the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page for a livestream of a Bat Monitoring and Acoustic Survey. Supervising Wildlife Biologist Brian Hess will drive a survey route and demonstrate how special equipment captures the acoustic sounds of bats. Along the way, he will explain why the Wildlife Division is collecting the information and how it helps bats. (link to video)
Wednesday, September 2: Starting at 7:00 PM, join Brian Hess from the DEEP Wildlife Division and Morgan Bengel, with the CT Department of Economic and Community Development and site manager for the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine, LIVE on the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page to learn about the bats that live at the historic site, find out how the Wildlife Division monitors the bats, and take a pre-sunset tour of our nation's oldest state prison. (link to video)
Thursday, September 3 -- Expert Panel Q & A: Have your questions about bats answered by a panel of bat experts. Submit questions here, and join the experts to hear the answers on Thursday, September 3 (link will be shared here and on the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page). Panel participants will be Jenny Dickson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division; Morgan Bengel, Curator and Site Administrator of the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine; Kate Moran, Wildlife Biologist with the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources; and Gerri Griswold, Director of Adminstration and Development of White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield and a volunteer bat rehabilitator.
Friday, September 4: Tune into the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page to view a video on the importance of bat houses (link will be shared on this webpage and on our social media). You can find plans on how to build either a small or large bat house in our Bat Fact Sheet.
Living with Bats: In this video, Wildlife Division Biologist Brian Hess provides a few tips on living with bats in your attic.
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.
Color and cut out a Bat Mask. Pick from 4 designs, courtesy of Bat Conservation International:
7 Best Recipes for Bat Appreciation Days!
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. Follow the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine Instagram for creative recipe posts throughout the week.
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 Days 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.
Bat Fact Sheet (includes plans on how to build a bat house)
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 Coppermine
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 8, 2020.