Monday, January 2, 2017

The Bethke Elementary “Bat-Bots” and Creative Solutions to Deter Bats from Wind Turbines

The Bethke Elementary Legos Robotics Team, called the Bat-Bots, invited Rob Schorr to talk with them about bat conservation and ecology. The Bat-Bots are tasked with coming up with solutions to reduce bat mortality at wind turbines. In 2012, it was estimated that over 600,000 bats died at wind turbine facilities in the United States (M.A. Hayes. 2013. Bats killed in large numbers at United States wind energy facilities. BioScience 63:975-979). They were all aware of the importance of bats for insect control and pollination, and were concerned about conflicts between renewal energy from wind energy development and bat conservation. They wanted to know about possible solutions to reducing bat deaths, while maintaining access to clean energy. Schorr and the team discussed options to use ultraviolet (UV) light as a deterrent (P.M. Gorresen and others. 2015. Dim ultraviolet light as a means of deterring activity by the Hawaiian hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus semotus. Endangered Species Research 28:249-257). The team discussed how to design buildings with UV lights, and were contemplating ways of designing new turbine facilities with dim UV light deterrents.

The Bethke Elementary Bat-Bots include Case L., Carly L., Juliana S., Ella N., Abigail F., and William W., with Schorr.  

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