FREDERICKTOWN — Fredericktown students are batty about bats, in a manner of speaking. The high school industrial technology classes have teamed up with fourth-graders to build bat houses for the new addition to Community Park.
As part of a service learning project, fourth-graders in the classes of Susan Link and Kathy Gardiner planted 300 bulbs at the park. They are now building bat houses, explained Anthony Caputo, grade four, because, “The bats will eat the insects so the insects don’t destroy the flowers.”
Link said they do hope to attract the bats to control the insect population at the park. Beside eating beetles, wasps and moths, bats feed on mosquitoes.
Caputo said the bat houses are different than bird houses.
“The ones we’re making are very long, longer than bird houses,” he said. “Each [bat] house can get 12 families in it. They can have their babies in the houses.”
The bat houses are actually more like rectangular boxes, with about three-quarters of an inch of space front to back. Industrial technology instructor Don DeMarco said the inside of the house is painted black and the outside is painted brown to blend in with the surroundings. There is also a slit for air circulation.
Link said the high school students have been “fabulous” working with the younger builders. The high schoolers do the power tool work, such as scoring the inside of the houses, while the fourth-graders do as much as they can; for instance, measuring, driving in screws, using hand tools such as coping saws to cut the curves called for in the design and painting.
Megan Butterbaugh, a senior, said she liked working alongside the fourth-graders in the wood shop.
“It’s a little hard,” she said, “but it’s also a great time for them to learn what all we do [in industrial arts] and see what they can do.”
Butterbaugh said she also liked working on the project because it will help the environment and give bats in the park a place to live.
The next phase of the ongoing learn and serve project for the park is owl houses. DeMarco said those will most likely be prefabricated by the industrial technology students and then assembled by the fourth-graders.