Sand firm wins bat action awardWisconsin Industrial Sand Company (WISC) has announced the Wildlife Habitat Council has recognized the company’s Hager City-Bay City mine with its Bat Conservation Action Award.
BAY CITY--Wisconsin Industrial Sand Company (WISC) has announced the Wildlife Habitat Council has recognized the company’s Hager City-Bay City mine with its Bat Conservation Action Award.
The award, which was presented at the council’s annual symposium Nov. 8, distinguishes the nation’s most outstanding bat habitat enhancement program.
“WISC is grateful to the Wildlife Habitat Council for recognizing our efforts to conserve and maintain Wisconsin’s bat population,” said Lauren Evans, sustainable development coordinator for the region. “We are accepting this award in memory of David Redell, a bat ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, who passed away recently from brain cancer at age 42. We worked closely with Dave. He organized the Department’s bat conservation program, and he developed a plan that will guide the state’s response to White Nose Syndrome.”
More than five million North American bats have died from White Nose Syndrome, which is spreading from the East Coast to the Midwest. The syndrome does not harm people or pets. Controlling the syndrome is vital to the ecosystem because bats, which are on Wisconsin’s threatened species list, eat millions of insects that can destroy crops. Killing a bat in Wisconsin is against the law.
Working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), team members at the underground mine have developed a series of projects to attract and protect nearly 53,000 bats that hibernate there. The mining process has created a natural habitat that is now Wisconsin’s third largest bat hibernating spot.
The DNR has installed bat detectors at the mine to log the time and direction of these night-flying bats so they can learn more about White Nose Syndrome. The mine has also installed gates and blocked other mine entrances to allow the bats to fly into their tunnel home. The gates are helping to prevent predators from entering.
All mine visitors are instructed how to prevent spreading White Nose Syndrome by ensuring their clothing, shoes, equipment and vehicles were not contaminated prior to entering the property.
The mine’s team members also work with the Boy Scouts of America and young students to build and maintain bat boxes, another important sheltering spot.
Besides recognizing the mine with the bat conservation award, the Wildlife Habitat Council recertified the Hager City-Bay City mine for its successful community conservation education through the council’s Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning programs. The recertification once again underscores WISC’s corporate commitment to environmental preservation and conservation. The mine was first certified in 2010.
The Wildlife at Work program “provides a structure for corporate-driven cooperative efforts between management, employees and community members to create, conserve and restore wildlife habitats on corporate lands.” The Corporate Lands for Learning program “involves the community in conservation efforts” by teaching “a clear understanding of the interdependence of ecology, economics and social structures in urban and rural areas.”
Through these programs, the Hager City-Bay City mine team members work with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H groups, schools and service organizations to complete projects preserving native wildlife and habitat at and around the mine’s property.