“The balance between sustaining a healthy environment and maintaining a good standard of living has always been important to me. That’s why I got involved in building bat houses;it’s one way I can help leave our surroundings in a better state.”

Jeff Pajor — Safety & Health Specialist, Georgia Power, Cartersville, Ga.

When Georgia Power began monitoring a bat population at Plant Bowen, Jeff Pajor found himself learning a lot about bats and saw the opportunity for a project that would benefit the plant’s surrounding ecosystem. He solicited co-workers, the Boy Scouts, Bartow County and Keep Bartow Beautiful to lead an effort constructing seven bat boxes that were able to accommodate hundreds of bats.

Bats play an important part in the balance and health of many ecosystems and, as Jeff learned, more than half of the bat species found in Georgia can be found in Bartow County where Plant Bowen is located. Hardwood forests located on Plant Bowen’s border, the Drummond Swamp and the Etowah River provide existing bat foraging and roosting habitat as well as travel corridors. In addition, two small caves are located on the plant site that may provide hibernation refuge.

After learning this, Jeff saw the potential to support and increase bat populations at the plant by adding artificially constructed roosting habitats – often referred to as bat boxes.

Jeff, a member of the Citizens of Georgia Power Plant Bowen chapter, realized there was an opportunity for an environmental stewardship project. The Citizens of Georgia Power Plant Bowen, Citizens of Georgia Power Cartersville, Boy Scout Troop 115, representatives of Bartow County and Keep Bartow Beautiful joined Jeff for a day-long Earth Day project to build the bat boxes.

“This really was a unique environmental and educational opportunity for everyone involved,” said Jeff. “Increasing bat roosting options at Plant Bowen gives the bats a safe haven and increases the chances of their survival.”

To prepare for this event, Jeff reached out to a bat ecologist for box specifications. His wife and two children joined him, spending four weekends cutting out materials to specification, so construction would go smoothly and safely during the project. They prepared sides and roofs for the houses, including cutting grooves on the inside walls, so the bats have a place to hang and sleep.