Few species are surrounded by as much myth and misunderstanding as the bat.
No, bats won't get caught in your hair nor will they drink your blood.
One piece of real information about these nocturnal, flying mammals that should impress even the most squeamish person is that they eat mosquitoes by the hundreds.
There are 16 species of bats in British Columbia, half of which are threatened and all of which are protected by provincial legislation.
This past weekend, two dozen young naturalists in Chilliwack sought to help the tiny creatures out by building bat boxes that will be erected at the Camp River Wildlife Area.
Bats consume up to half their weight every night eating moths, beetles, crickets, flies and, most importantly, mosquitoes.
Bats need protected, warm, tight spaces to rear their young and as many as 300 bats can reside in one bat box.
"Our bat populations are terribly low for many different reasons," says Cynthia Berg, volunteer leader of the Eastern Fraser Valley Young Naturalist Club.
"This is all very exciting and it's really important. . . . We are looking at a very delicate animal that is in trouble in our valley."
The young naturalists and their families were at LSC Pre-Cast Systems (owner Brian Janssens volunteered the facility) to build the boxes on Saturday.
Before setting to work, they were given a presentation on bat biology by Denis Knopp of the Chilliwack Field Naturalists, and then J. David Lush walked the amateur carpenters through the process.
The group then constructed seven bat boxes that will eventually be erected at the Camp River Wildlife Area with the help of BC Hydro which has donated old poles and will cover the cost of having them installed.
The project was also funded in part by a $200 Shell Stewardship Grant.