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Four young people holding bat boxes in Better Place Forests Rock River

Building bat boxes in Rock River: How we’re supporting the ecosystem

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Better Place Forests creates and maintains conservation memorial forests for people who choose cremation and don’t want their ashes to end up in a traditional cemetery.

Our mission at Better Place Forests is to help people leave a meaningful legacy for the planet and the people they love. A large part of that requires that we care for the environment around us and support the health of the overall ecosystem. 

Many living things come together to foster a healthy ecosystem, and bats are one of those critical animals. They play an essential role in pest control, pollination, and dispersing seeds. In our Rock River forest, we recently had an opportunity to collaborate with a local scout on her Eagle project — building 4 rocket boxes for bats within the forest. 

Creating a home for bats

A family of bats was living in a structure on the property. We needed a way to safely support them by providing a designated habitat, and so our team contacted the Illinois Bat Conservation Program to see what suggestions they could provide. They recommended we establish rocket boxes to provide the bats with an alternative nesting location and connected the team with a local scout troop interested in the project as part of their Eagle Project. 

This kicked off a three-month long installation project. Two boxes have now been installed in our Rock River forest and two more will be installed in our St. Croix Valley Forest. The boxes provide the bats with an appealing cavern-like spot to nest. 

What are bat boxes?

Bat populations in the world, including in the U.S., are in decline. They can be affected by a fungal disease called white nose which infects them while they hibernate. And, while we tend to think of bats as living in caves, they also like to live in trees. As deforestation occurs, their habitats are placed at risk. 

Bat boxes are a way to create a safe environment for bats that mimics the space between the bark and the trunk of a tree. This home provides a safe place for young bats to be born and grow into maturity.  

Bat boxes should be placed in sunny areas that are near a water source and at least 15 feet from the ground to protect against predators. They are typically made from plywood and pine. Bat Conservation International provides a handbook to help you build your own bat box. 

An ongoing commitment to the ecosystem

In each of our forests, we work with experts in local ecology to support the habitat of the trees, plants, and animals that call the area home. In fact, we find that many of the people who choose memorial trees as their final resting place are attracted to Better Place Forests precisely because they get to support the environment and be a part of that forest life. 

If you’re interested to learn more, our expert guides are available to help you explore the forest and find your tree. Schedule a tour to learn more

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