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News It’s just a little Batty: The story of the Brindley Bats and The Catalyst building

Saturday 17 April 2021 is Bat Appreciation Day so what better way to celebrate than to talk about how the Brindley Bats have shaped The Catalyst?

Bats in flight
Image: Bats in flight

The new features on The Catalyst aim to replicate the old spaces the bats used and across the building over 20 roosting features have been incorporated into the building design.

Staffordshire University

The “Bat”-Story

To recap, back in November 2018, ecologists found evidence of a bat roost during due diligence survey of the Brindley Building. The protected creatures were thought to have been roosting in a cavity wall of the building.

Due to the bats being in their hibernation period, further exploratory works were unable to be completed until the summer of 2019 which ultimately delayed demolition of Brindley and work commencing at The Catalyst.

Later exploration uncovered that the bats roosting in the building were in fact a maternity roost of whiskered bats. This type of bat is widespread in the Staffordshire region. Interestingly, the ecology team supporting the University were surprised to come across this type of nursery roost in an urban building as they’re usually found in rural areas or suburban houses.

Helping our caped crusaders

Fast-forward to the post hibernation period, and with the knowledge that bats tend to return to their roosting spots, the University has since taken steps to ensure that whilst the Brindley building is no more that, The Catalyst remains a place that the bats can call home.

In the interim period whilst The Catalyst is being constructed, the University has created bat rooting provisions on the Ashley 2 building specifically for maternity roosts featuring heated bat boxes. What’s more, in collaboration with the architects of The Catalyst, roofing features have since been developed for the bats so that roosting features can be incorporated into the design.

The new features on The Catalyst aim to replicate the old spaces the bats used and across the building over 20 roosting features have been incorporated into the building design. This means that our caped crusaders including Whiskered Bats and Pipistrelle bats (plus their infants) can safely roost on all sides of the building within walls and on the roof.

But fear not, you won’t capture a glimpse of them whilst you’re visiting or working/studying in The Catalyst – these designated bat spaces have an entrance of around 20mm (not dissimilar to letterboxes) and will be safely tucked away behind brick and glass skin. This solution was selected to offer the bats a long-term roosting provision superior to wooden boxes.

Just hanging about…

It’s thought that with the site being close to the River Trent and nature reserve that this green space may have encouraged the initial bats to call the University their home – and with the recent River Trent Restoration works leading to enhanced natural habitats for wildlife accompanied with our Bat Friendly enhancements on The Catalyst building, it’s a sure bet the bats will continue to stay with us here at Staffs.

Find out more about The Catalyst building over on our Campus Transformation pages.

About Bat Appreciation Day

Bat Conservation International (BCI) was founded in 1982 by a group of concerned scientists who recognized the importance of protecting bats. Bats contribute towards controlling pests, create rich fertilizer for landowners, and pollinate fruit and flowers. BCI aims to conserve bats and their habitats through a combination of education, conservation, and research.

Human activities such as deforestation, mining, and irresponsible tourism have caused a substantial decrease in the bats’ population. Bats have often been understudied and misunderstood animals. They are often perceived as disease spreaders when in reality they help keep the numbers of many pests down.

Between 2014 and 2018 the BCI identified 35 critically endangered species of bat that it became a priority to protect. These species are spread throughout the world including the U.S, South America, and The Philippines.

To help their cause and increase awareness on all that bats do for the environment, the BCI introduced International Bat Appreciation Day to our calendars. So now you know, bats have an important role to play and we should be grateful for their presence.

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