One of the many wonders in Cochise County includes Kartchner Caverns in Benson, AZ. These caverns were undiscovered until 1978 and still remained private knowledge for 10 years after until the Arizona State Parks purchased them in 1988 for public use. Today, they are carefully preserved with visitors required to participate in guided tours with strict rules in order to help maintain the quality of the caverns and its delicate ecosystem.
During the summer season, an average of 1,500 bats migrate to the Caverns and spend their summer months hibernating in the different caves. Bats play an ecological role that is vital to the health of the Caverns natural ecosystem. Without bats’ pollination, seed-dispersing services, and insect control, local ecosystems could gradually collapse.
Rangers at Kartchner have been counting the park’s bats each summer, and the last seven year’s worth of data show that the colony is maintaining its population and maybe even increasing. In order to further monitor these bats, Kartchner Caverns applied for a grant through Cochise RAIN to receive cameras to put around the caverns. These cameras will help monitor the bats and track their hibernation patterns.
We are looking forward to hearing and seeing what these cameras capture in the future. For more information on the bat migration and Kartchner Caverns, explore their website here.
The Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN) is funded by the National Science Foundation to oversee grant funding for informal STEM education projects in four rural Arizona communities: Cochise County, Graham and Greenlee County, the Verde Valley, and the Navapache/White Mountains region. RAIN acts as a resource for best practices in informal STEM program development and works to highlight effective STEM programs, employers and organizations across the state of Arizona. Interested in applying for a grant? Visit our website today and learn more about the opportunities in your community.