10-24-19

BAT CAMP: ASLA Student Award Winner!

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Congratulations to Katherine Kelleher, 2019 Graduate of Kent State’s Master of Landscape Architecture Program, for her Student Merit Award from the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Her advisor on the project was Dr. Reid Coffman.

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The Indiana Bat is an endangered species in Ohio. Their population has significantly declined since the mid 1970s and continues to struggle. There are many factors for this including habitat loss and the detrimental fungal disease known as White Nose Syndrome. Bat Camp creates a space mutually beneficial for all. The structures create a habitat which supports life and prosperity at Acacia Reservation in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Katherine’s design addresses and enhances the broader ecosystem including plant and animal life.

The Indiana Bat is a hibernating species. From about mid-October to mid-March the Indiana Bat will hibernate in limestone caves in Ohio and adjacent states. The fungus of White Nose Syndrome unfortunately lives in these caves. The bats can contract the fungus here or from contact with infected bats. Starting in about mid-March the bats will emerge from the caves and start heading towards their spring and summer time roosts.

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Existing conditions at Acacia Reservation are accommodating to the Indiana Bat. The ecologically patchy environment provides diversity for habitat. The Indiana Bat likes to forage down long, open corridors. The wet meadows are part of a network of wet depressions and established wetlands which host diverse aquatic insects that the bat will feed on. The typical trees that host the Indiana Bat are typically along forest edges near water, or in open fields. The scale of the reservation provides several spaces for the bat to meet their daily needs.

The structure’s design is flexible and constantly changing. Layers of untreated wood become more habitable as it decays, opening up more space to occupy. The roosting spaces from the decay will come naturally – but there is flexibility to adjust the design to manually beat up the wood before being added to the structure to give faster habitability. The design is simple and responsive, allowing adjustments and change every season to better accommodate the bats.

The structure’s interior is built with copper. Copper has antimicrobial properties that radiate to adjacent material. This gesture is an attempt to slow down the spread of White Nose Syndrome. Additionally, the copper becomes an ideal hanging space for the bats once the wood has decayed enough.

Katherine conducted a series of sun studies to demonstrate the dynamic changes that the structures go through during season change and time change. Indiana Bats are especially particular to temperature. The scale, and multiple roosting options allow the bats to have ample choices to move around for ideal comfort and temperature.

Bat Camp uses ecomimicry to create a space for cohabitation at Acacia. This shared space is beneficial for the Indiana Bat, plant life, pollinators, people, and more. The design is adaptable from year to year, with the goal of becoming more mutually beneficial for all with each passing year.

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