Harris Center’s cemetery bat survey featured on St. Louis Public Radio

Big brown bat

In this file photo, Vona Kuczynska, alumna and bat expert for the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at UMSL, holds a big brown bat native to Missouri. She led the center’s bat survey at Bellefontaine Cemetery with Jennings High School students last week. (Photo courtesy Vona Kuczynska)

Bats, transmitters, antennas and a cemetery.

That spooky but intriguing mix caught the attention of new St. Louis Public Radio science reporter Eli Chen, who spent an evening last week with scientists and volunteers of the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center.

Just what were they doing? Conducting a bat survey at Bellefontaine Cemetery in north St. Louis County. Joining them, too, were students from nearby Jennings High School.

Vona Kuczynska, a Harris Center bat expert and UMSL alumna, taught the students how to track transmitters with antennas and set up mist nets to catch bats. It’s work Kuczynska started in graduate school at UMSL and continues professionally.

The night’s efforts resulted in netting one bat and a flying squirrel, but there was still tons of fun to be had and data to be collected.

Bellefontaine Cemetery will use the findings to help determine opportunities to increase wildlife diversification – a goal that additional UMSL biology students have provided research for in the past.

To read more about the evening, click here for Chen’s St. Louis Public Radio article.

The UMSL Experience


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