West Utica bat garden earns certification
West Utica bat garden earns certification
Posted on 09/07/2016
Bat Garden InspectionWhat started as a conservation project is now a full, certified bat garden

Thanks to a series of community grants, West Utica Elementary students have planted and nurtured a garden with bat-friendly  plants.

The garden was recently inspected and certified by the Organization for Bat Conservation.

The idea for a garden originally sprouted out of a environmental unit coordinated earlier this year with the Michigan-based conservation group.

Students and staff wanted to take their efforts to the next level by seeking grants to establish a "bat garden" in the school's courtyard.

The bat grant proposal grew from its roots through w$8,500 in successful grants: $5,000 from Lowe's, $2,000 from Kensington Church and a $1,500 Scott's Miracle Grow Grant.

In May, the effort got under way with volunteers from Kensington Church clearing the school's courtyard to prepare for the garden. The plants were delivered by Telly's Greenhouse the last week of school and planted by the students.

One side of the courtyard has plants that will attract bugs for the bats, which are an endangered species. The other side will have a vegetable garden, including squash, brussel sprouts, cabbage, sweet peppers and - much the excitement of the students - pumpkins.

Fourth grader Haley Dobbs said she feels the students are making a difference in their conservation efforts. "We are able to save the bats," she said. "We also will have vegetables this fall that we can eat."

Students visited the school once a week to water and maintain their garden.