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Malta will host 'Bat and Moth Walk/Talk'

Bat
Posted at 2:26 PM, Jun 13, 2024

GREAT FALLS — Trafton Park in Malta will host an event to highlight the different species of bats and moths found in Phillips County. It will begin at 8pm on Monday, August 2, 2024. The event is hosted by the Bureau of Land Management; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; and the Montana Moth Project.

Malta Field Office wildlife biologist Dillon Moes said in a news release: “As a wildlife biologist, I’ve long had an interest in bats and how they benefit the natural and human environments. With the recent spread of White Nose Syndrome impacting bat populations across the nation, it’s even more important than ever to help people understand the value of bats and learn how we all can assist in their survival as efforts continue to curb the spread of WNS.”

The news release says that moths are a major food source for bat species, and it's being discovered that they are also key pollinators for many of the crops grown in Phillips County (alfalfa, mustards, peas, cover crops, etc.). This is especially important due to increasing interest in using cover crops as a part of managing soil health.

Organizers will set up a light screen to attract and illuminate moths, and mobile bat recorders to identify bats.

Speakers include Nicole Hussey, non-game biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; and Mat Seidensticker, director and lead researcher for the Montana Moth Project.

Hussey hosts bat walks across Montana’s Hi-Line, and Seidensticker conducts moth sampling across the state. Through its partnership with the Gilette Museum at Colorado State University, the Montana Moth Project owns the largest collection of Montana moths.

Besides discussing the connections among bats, moths and agriculture, Hussey and Seidensticker will describe their efforts to protect bats and moths.

For more information, contact Dillon Moes at dmoes@blm.gov or 406-654-5124, or click here.