Environmental diploma Darmstadt

Discover bats at FAIR

Nicolas Waltz, pgnu, opens a round box. (Photo: Antje Stohl for FAIR)

The group illuminates a flat box from below in the search for a bat. (Photo: Antje Stohl for FAIR)

Anna Pietch sows which bats live in Mörsbacher Grund – here the thumb-sized common pipistrelle. (Photo: Antje Stohl for FAIR)

Several of the 25 species of bat to be found in Germany inhabit Mörsbacher Grund. Where they roost, what they eat and how these are animals can be protected – all this was learnt by groups of children on three days in July in the course of guided tours of the woodland not far from FAIR. Four years ago FAIR had 130 bat boxes placed in position in Mörsbacher Grund in the framework of an environmental compensation program. The guided tours were offered by FAIR for the second time as part of the “Environmental Diploma” series of environmental education projects organized by the City of Science Darmstadt.


Bats frequently change their roosting sites – many of them as often as every night. For this reason it is not so easy to discover a greater mouse-eared bat or a common pipistrelle, which are commonly found in Mörsbacher Grund, in one of the boxes specially prepared for them. Armed with pocket lamps the children shone light from below into some of the flat boxes – but this year they did not unfortunately find any bats. As a rule people only find bat droppings, the main indication that bats are using the boxes as roosting sites.


Nevertheless there was a lot to be discovered as many small birds use the round bat boxes to raise their young. “It is a block of flats!” said David with a smile as he looked at the open round box. Inside was a nest which nearly reached to the roof of the box. Bats also like to like to spend their days in holes made by woodpeckers, in crevices in trees or in bark flaking off a tree. Thus in no time at all the children discovered numerous hidings places for bats, and using a telescopic camera were also able to explore tree hollows.


The distances covered by bats between their summer and winter quarters, and how roosting sites can be created for bats, were explained by the bat expert Anna Pietsch from Planning Group Nature and Environment (PGNU), the company commissioned with consulting on ecological construction for FAIR.


Afterwards the children were given – in addition to a FAIR stamp in their Environmental Diploma booklets as proof of having completed the tour – a construction manual for a bat box, which can be hung in the garden at home, for example. The series of projects for the Darmstadt Environmental Diploma is organized every year from the beginning of spring through to the summer vacation, and is aimed at children in grades 4 to 6. By proving that they have participated at six events, at the end of the project the children are honored – publicly in the framework of the Environmental Information Fair – with an Environmental Diploma certificate.


More on the Environmental Diploma (link)


Construction manual for bat boxes (PDF)


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