This fall, fourth grade students are taking additional steps to ensure that more local wildlife species feel at home at Ross Lower School. Last year the Bridgehampton campus was designated by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, acknowledging the students’ efforts to improve habitats for birds, frogs, and butterflies by providing them with essential elements for life. This year, the students are ensuring that bats also have the resources to survive by building wooden bat houses for shelter.
Within the Spiral Curriculum, fourth grade students examine the migration of humans and animals, drawing connections between species’ relationships with their natural environment and the resources necessary for survival. Typically during this unit, students focus primarily on the life cycle of monarch butterflies. Researching bats has added another dimension to the lesson. At least six different species of bats are found on Long Island, all of which are critically beneficial to the ecosystem because of their contributions to insect management, seed dispersal, and pollination. Habitat loss, among other factors, has led to a decline in the bat population.
“Studying bats fits perfectly into our unit on local migratory animals,” said Lower School Science teacher Joey Lener. “This will be a terrific addition to our migration unit going forward because we will now have both types of animals accessible for observation on campus.”
The bat houses will be installed once final approval is given by the National Wildlife Federation.