Next night hike to see bats at Sodalis Nature Preserve set for Friday

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Bats are a boon to agriculture. Bats disperse seeds and pollinate hundreds of species of plants. Steve Orr

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The benefits of bats are many, and participants will learn about them at 6:30 p.m. Friday during a night hike through Sodalis Nature Preserve.

Bats are essential to many ecosystems, ranging from rainforests to deserts, and are a boon to agriculture. Bats disperse seeds and pollinate hundreds of species of plants. Because some of them eat roughly their own body weight in insects every night, they reduce crop damage and the need for pesticides. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, bats eat enough harmful insects to save this country’s corn industry $1 billion a year.

The night hikes are scheduled in time for participants to see the bats at sunset. They last about two hours and follow a 2-mile paved trail. Participants are welcome to stay with the group or return to the parking lot on their own. Activities include seasonal observations, sensory activities and the telling of the creation of Sodalis Nature Preserve.

Twenty participants are allowed. Reservations must be made by calling Hannibal Parks & Recreation at 221-0154 or by emailing mlrichards@hannibal-mo.gov.

Nature programs and hikes are led by Gale Rublee, a nationally certified interpreter guide with more than 25 years of experience in outdoor education. Rublee is a founding member of the Hannibal area Mississippi Hills chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists, whose volunteers often assist with HPR programs. 

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