Bat Barn to Provide New Home for Misunderstood Mammals

Bat barn design contest kick-off for first-of-its-kind concept in Utah.

Salt Lake City, UT | October 17, 2016

Nearly a thousand bats have taken up residence in an old costume shop creeping out neighbors in Layton. As Halloween nears, the spooky fast-flying creatures are becoming a nuisance for people in the area. That’s why The Nature Conservancy, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources and Architectural Nexus are joining forces to develop a solution designed to benefit both people and nature at the Great Lake Salt Shorelands Preserve

While these spooky mammals may send shivers down people’s spines, many don’t realize how critical bats are to our environment and economy. “Bats are possibly farmer’s best friend, and farms feed us,” says Adam Brewerton, wildlife conservation biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Each night bats eat thousands of insects primarily ones that are agricultural pests. Elsewhere in the world, bats are crucial pollinators of many of our foods like bananas and mangoes.” 

Arch Nexus designers are donating their expertise, time and design skills to this project through a 3-man team design competition that will kick off on October 20th at 11:00 a.m. “We’re excited to be part of this environmental experiment,” says Rich Arave, Arch Nexus Project Architect. “Not only is this an innovative idea, it could also set a new standard for creating safe habitat for bats to thrive.” 

Utilizing best known practices and science while learning about bat behaviors from Kody Wallace with Utah’s Working Bat group, designers will create variations of a 24-foot tall bat barn. The first-of-its-kind design will be selected and presented at Arch Nexus’ office on November 17. Using these plans, The Nature Conservancy will build a bat barn at the Conservancy’s Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve in February 2017. 

“Our research tells us nine species of bats already live on the preserve, which provides a unique mix of marshes and ponds,” says Andrea Nelson, The Nature Conservancy in Utah’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. “It’s a great place for bats and birds, providing plenty of food sources and water. Our hope is that the Brazilian free-tailed bats living in the old costume shop will move to these new digs where they’ll be welcome.” 

Media are invited to cover the Bat Barn design competition kick-off where the concept and criteria will be shared. Plus, you can learn more about the fast-flying mammal that has become the symbol of Halloween. The contest kick-off is scheduled on October 20 at 11am at Architectural Nexus, 2505 E. Parleys Way in Salt Lake City. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Tracey Stone at 602-738-1586. Bat video and photos will be provided upon request.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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Tracey Stone


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