Girl Scout Project: Julia Kerr Builds Bat Houses

Highland Park High School freshman Julia Kerr is to thank for the new bat houses at Bachman Lake.

She built them after hearing local cases of bats inhabiting people’s homes and to help with pest control as bats eat mosquitos.

“Where I installed them, it was close to water … and there weren’t too many things around it that got in the way,” Kerr said. “It wasn’t too close to neighborhoods, so they wouldn’t also go live in houses, and it wasn’t too close to a lot of busy places.”

Kerr started designing and researching in July 2022. Once she was ready to start building, she used her grandfather’s workshop to cut the wood and, after obtaining permission, worked with a team to install them at the lake. There’s a specific direction, height, and distance from water that bat house builders must abide by, she said.

“There are some specifications about where a house should be, what makes it best, [and] what makes it most likely for bats to actually come live there,” Kerr said. “So part of the research was just going online, looking at what other people did. I got inspiration for my design from other people.”

Kerr built these houses to fulfill her Silver Award requirement as a Girl Scout. Going forward, she plans to continue maintaining the houses.

“I also might make more bat houses not necessarily for a Girl Scout project, but just because I think it’s so fun to make and so fun to watch them go live there,” Kerr said. “I have one in my own yard.”

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