Monthly Archives: December 2015

Community Foundation Scholarship Program Accepting Applications

Application Deadline is March 1, 2016

Muskegon, MI: The Community Foundation for Muskegon County announces that the Foundation Scholarship Program is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year.

Applications are submitted electronically through the Community Foundation website, The application process has been streamlined into three easy steps for students and families.


The Community Foundation for Muskegon County manages one of the largest scholarship programs in West Michigan, awarding $1,500,000 to both graduating high school seniors and current college students across four counties (Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Manistee) in new and renewed scholarships each year.

The Community Foundation does not make awards solely on the basis of need. Academic achievement, community involvement, extra-curricular activities, and financial need are all taken into consideration. All Community Foundation scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis.

Contact: Dana Scott, Scholarship Coordinator

Ask Dr. Universe – Monarch Butterflies

How far can monarch butterflies fly? -Roarna, 9, Nelson, New Zealand

Dear Roarna,

When cold winters come around, thousands of monarch butterflies begin a long journey in search of warmer weather. Some will fly more than 2,200 miles to find it.

That’s what I found out from my friend David James, a scientist here at Washington State University who is studying where monarch butterflies go.

So far, it appears that many monarchs who start their journey in Canada or the Northern U.S. head down to Mexico.

“If a Canadian monarch survives the winter in Mexico, it will fly back to Texas to breed,” James said. “That’s an additional flight of about 800 miles.”

So, it’s likely that some of the butterflies will fly up to 4,000 miles in their lifetime.

Some experts have calculated that’s about the same distance as a 150-pound person making a trip around the Earth 13,000 times. That’s like making a trip from the Earth to the moon more than 500 times.

The journey is long for monarch butterflies. They do it for survival.

“They can’t survive the cold winters in the north, so they leave for the milder climate along the California coast and into Mexico,” James said.

Before the monarchs start heading south, James and other volunteers tag the butterfly wings with an ID code on a little sticker. It’s like a butterfly license plate. Then, he depends on citizen-scientists, people who volunteer their time to help with scientific research, to keep their eyes out for the butterflies.

When people find the tags and report the ID number, it helps James and scientists get a better understanding of the monarchs’ flight pattern. While we don’t know exactly what route the butterflies take, the citizen-scientists are helping us learn more about it.

“We do know they travel 30 to 50 miles a day,” James said. “Sometimes fairly low, across the landscape. I’ve seen them crossing highways just above car-level.”

Some glider pilots have actually spotted monarchs flying hundreds of feet up in the air, James said. The butterflies will use air currents to help them travel.

They rise to the challenge of eating and sleeping along the way. While in flight, they have to keep their wings dry. They’ll stay in trees to escape the rain. Monarchs will fly during the day and in temperatures of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. They stop to eat nectar from flowers. At night, they’ll roost in trees.

Most monarchs will arrive in Mexico in early November. When they reach their destination, they roost with about a million other monarchs. You can spot swooping clouds of orange and black coming from the trees.

The butterflies stay in Mexico or California for the winter. Fittingly, they start to find mates in February, around Saint Valentine’s Day. They lay new eggs that hatch caterpillars. The caterpillars change into butterflies and make their way back north. It’s another long journey for a new generation of monarchs.

Dr. Universe

Community Leaders Recognized as Local Agents of Change

Hundreds gathered to celebrate nine community leaders and initiatives that were recognized as the 2015 Agents of Change. Those recognized range from art installations to major development leadership, entrepreneur support, innovation and more.

“The Muskegon Lakeshore continues to transform at a fast pace,” says Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “These dedicated individuals have passion and are dramatically changing the landscape of our community.”

Each year, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce recognizes individuals or projects that have made a positive contribution to the Muskegon Lakeshore and awards them as Agents of Change.

This year’s Agents of Change were recognized at the Eighth Annual Agents of Change Business After Hours celebration on November 12, 2015 in the Johnson Hall/Munroe Bergmann Room on the Third Floor of the Hilt Building in Downtown Muskegon. This event was produced by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with WGVU Public Media.

Here are the 2015 projects and businesses recognized as 2015 Agents of Change:

Judith Hayner, Avian Avatars
The Avian Avatars public art installation, organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art Executive Director Judy Hayner, traveled to Muskegon directly from New York City where they were first on display. These five gigantic birds standing more than 20 feet tall are a “must see” outdoor art destination in Downtown Muskegon. Bringing this stimulating art to Muskegon would not have been possible without Judy’s leadership.

Chris Baker and Bryan Betten, Betten Baker Auto Group
Chris and Bryan’s commitment and investments in Muskegon have transformed the Henry Street corridor. In less than 10 years, they have grown from one location to seven, employing more than 250 people while winning customer service awards. Their dedication to the area continues as they are major underwriters of the Watch Muskegon Image Campaign.

Parties in the Park Board of Directors, Hackley Park Stage
The Parties in the Park Board of Directors began planning for a permanent stage in Hackley Park last October, working with the Historical District and the City of Muskegon. In a matter of only six months, the board pulled in community members and resources to raise $100,000 for the new stage that was completed for the 2015 season. Parties in the Park has provided free entertainment on Friday nights in Hackley Park for over 30 years!

Richard Thorstenson, Kitchen 242
Rich lead the design and development of Kitchen 242, a certified commercial kitchen, located at the Muskegon Farmers Market. Kitchen 242 provides space for local entrepreneurs, community members, and organizations to process food products, learn and teach skills related to food preparation, safety, nutrition, and cooking. This would not have happened without Rich’s talent and dedication to the project.

Wes Eklund, John Essex, Mark Fazakerley, and John Workman, Muskegon Manufacturers Health and Wellness Clinic
This cooperative effort between Eagle Group, Fleet Engineers, and Port City Group provides on-site clinics to employees offering free, convenient, access to expert medical services. The goal of these clinics is to provide high quality care at sustainable costs for all three of the companies’ employees. So far, the clinics have had 1,293 visits by 749 patients.

Muskegon Risers Soccer Club
Muskegon’s newest professional soccer team began competition in May 2015. The Muskegon Risers strive to be a unifying force between area students, professionals and families. On and off the field, the Muskegon Risers Soccer Club represent those who understand Muskegon’s potential and spirit of Muskegon’s past, present, and future. In their first season, the Muskegon Risers finished with ten wins and three losses, with an average attendance of more than 1,000 fans.

Julie Greene, Muskegon Surgery Center
Julie Greene, Chief Executive Officer, orchestrated an innovative partnership between the Muskegon Surgery Center and the Shoreline Inn and Conference Center for patient recovery. Instead of hospitalization, Muskegon Surgery Center patients are discharged to the beautiful waterfront hotel for healthy recovery. Professional nursing and physical therapy services are located on site. Muskegon Surgery Center is one of only two centers performing outpatient knee replacements in the State of Michigan and they have done 51 to date.

Pete and Sandy Wolters and Jennifer Cross, Raggedy Ann Art Installation
The Raggedy Ann doll was originally created in Muskegon. This year, the doll celebrates its 100th anniversary. To commemorate this historical year, a larger-than-life size art installation of Raggedy Ann and her brother, Andy, has been installed in Downtown Muskegon at Alcoa Celebration Square. Pete and Sandy Wolters, with the help of their daughter, Jen Cross, have been instrumental in the preservation of this part of Muskegon’s history by bringing this piece from creation to execution, and installation in the community.

Troy Wasserman and Angie Nelund, Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts
This fifth-generation family owned business is celebrating 135 years. Brother and sister owners, Troy Wasserman and Angie Nelund, transformed this long standing business with a drastic interior and exterior renovation. The building now has a patio and pergola and offers a wider selection of items to include a light food menu. They took a traditional flower and gift shop and turned it into a gathering place where guests can spend time enjoying waterfront views.

2015 Agents of Change (2)-sm

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber Recognized as Outstanding Chamber in Michigan for a Record Fourth Time

LANSING, MI– The Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals (MACP) recognized the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce with the 2015 Outstanding Chamber of Commerce Award—Large Chamber Category at the MACP Leadership Conference & Annual Meeting on October 29, 2015. This is the fourth time the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber has been recognized for excellence in organization leadership and the most wins for a large chamber application.

“The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce received this award based on its accomplishments in leadership and governance, financial stewardship, business advocacy and member programming,” said Bob Thomas, Director for the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals. “Among the chamber’s noted achievements were its leadership in state and local policy issues and economic development, its role in the “Watch Muskegon” image campaign and community development, and best practices in leadership development.”

The Outstanding Chamber of Commerce award is presented to one chamber of commerce in each of three membership categories (small, mid-size and large chambers of commerce) and based on a comprehensive application judged by chamber of commerce professionals from seven regional states. Applicants must demonstrate quality, innovation, and effectiveness of programming in the areas of leadership and governance, finance, business advocacy and programming/membership development.

The highest scoring applications receive the annual award. The award is modeled after the US Chamber of Commerce Accreditation process for recognizing best industry practices.

MACP also presented 2015 Outstanding Chamber of Commerce awards to the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce in the Mid-Size Chamber category and an honorable mention to the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce in the Small Category.

The Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals is the industry association for almost 300 chambers in Michigan. Its mission is to build excellence in chambers of commerce through organizational and board-level resource support, professional development for chamber staff and to promote the importance of chambers of commerce across the state.

Ask Dr. Universe – Bees

Why do bees make hexagons in their hives? Why not any other shape? -Aditya, 10, New Delhi, India

Dear Aditya,

When bees make hexagons in their hives, the six-sided shapes fit together perfectly. In fact, we’ve actually never seen bees make any other shape. That’s what I found out when I visited my friend Sue Cobey, a bee researcher at Washington State University.

Cobey showed me some honeycombs where the female bees live and work. Hexagons are useful shapes. They can hold the queen bee’s eggs and store the pollen and honey the worker bees bring to the hive.Dr.U Bees

When you think about it, making circles wouldn’t work too well. It would leave gaps in the honeycomb. The worker bees could use triangles or squares for storage. Those wouldn’t leave gaps. But the hexagon is the strongest, most useful shape.

Don’t just ask the bees. Cobey explained that humans have recently used math to find out why hexagons make the most sense.

“The geometry of this shape uses the least amount of material to hold the most weight,” she said.

It takes the bees quite a bit of work to make the honeycomb. The wax comes from glands on the bees’ bellies, or abdomens. Honeybees have to make and eat about two tablespoons of honey to make one ounce of wax. Then they can add this wax to the comb as they build. A bee colony can produce 100 pounds of honey, Cobey said. In some places they can even produce 300 to 500 lbs. The structure is important to hold all this weight and protect the honey, especially during winter.

The hexagon might just save bees some time and energy. They can use the energy to do another really important job: carry pollen from flower to flower that allows new plants to grow. It’s my cat instinct to swat at a bee, but I try not to because bees are really important. They make it possible for us to eat food.

“The honey bee is an amazing animal, really fun to work with,” Cobey said. “And she is responsible for pollinating your fruits, vegetables, and nuts.”

Having a sturdy and useful hive can help bees get the job done.

Not too long ago, some scientists wondered how exactly the bees build these hexagons. They found certain bees would start out making circles in the wax using their body as a tool.

Scientists don’t really know why it happens, but the bees seem to be using their body heat to melt the wax from a circle shape into a hexagon shape.

Hexagons and honeycomb shapes are also useful for building things humans use, too, like bridges, airplanes, and cars. It gives materials extra strength.

After all, materials made with hexagon shapes can also handle a lot of force, even if they are made out of a lighter material. That’s what I learned from my friend Pizhong Qioa, an engineer and professor at WSU.

“We learned it from the bee,” he said. “Hexagons apply to almost everything you can build.”
For having never done a day of math homework in their lives, bees sure seem to use some creative geometry and engineering to build their headquarters.


Dr. Universe
Find your very own field guide to bees at

Have a question? Ask Dr. Universe. You can send her an e-mail at or visit

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County Announces Fall Grant Awards

Muskegon, MI: The Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFMC) recently approved grant awards to a variety of community organizations in support of projects throughout the Muskegon region. A total of $208,985 was awarded through the competitive application process, overseen by numerous volunteer committees.

Highlights of the grant awards include:

· $20,000 from the Youth Advisory Council Fund to the Oakridge Teen Health Center

· $10,000 from the Douglas A. Rosen Fund to Catholic Charities West Michigan for the “Fathers Matter!” program

· $10,000 from the Greater Muskegon Fund to the Muskegon Community Health Project for Pathways to Healthy Futures

· $5,000 from the Muskegon County Medical Society Endowment Fund to the Boy Scouts for the Scoutreach program

· $6,200 from the Environmental Fund to the West Michigan Environmental Action Council for Muskegon County Recycling Planning

· $30,000 from the Thomas & Geraldine Seyferth Advised Fund to the Muskegon Rescue Mission’s Remodeling Families Campaign

· $10,000 from the Bryan and Sandy Betten Fund to the Fair Food Network for expansion of the Double Up Food Bucks program in Muskegon.

Grant applications are accepted twice each year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Nonprofit organizations interested in seeking grant support from the Community Foundation are encouraged visit for additional information about the process. A complete list of fall 2015 grant awards is available at




Judge Orders Hewlett-Packard to Turn Over Source Code to State

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Kent County judge today ordered global information technology company Hewlett-Packard to turn over computer source code to the state of Michigan. The court recognized in its ruling that success on the state’s breach of contract claim “appeared inevitable,” and that the state was the rightful owner of the computer source code.

“We respect the ruling of the court, and its recognition that the state was wrongfully deprived of property it had fully paid for,” Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. “It’s a shame we had to take them to court to force them to honor their agreement and responsibilities.”

The state of Michigan terminated its contract with HP for cause in August, and subsequently sued HP in Kent County Circuit Court in September after the company failed to deliver on a $49 million contract. Michigan becomes the sixth state motor vehicle agency, along with those in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and Vermont, that is no longer working with the company, according to media reports.

Today’s ruling addressed the state’s request for an injunction to force HP to provide computer source code that is necessary to ensure the state’s ability to maintain and manage its ExpressSOS website, which is used by millions of Michigan residents. The larger lawsuit brought by the state for breach of the contract continues to move through the court system.
For now, the state’s focus is on getting the knowledge and systems in place for a smooth transition away from HP. Based on the court’s decision, the state now can focus on implementing the requirements of the new road funding law and seek a qualified vendor to replace HP.

For media questions, please call Gisgie Gendreau or Fred Woodhams at 517-373-2520.
For more about the Secretary of State’s Office:
To find Secretary of State office locations and services, visit Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at and Facebook updates at Online services are available at

Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

Right To Life

Michigan abortion providers caught on undercover video

On October 22 undercover videos from an abortion industry conference were released online. Two Michigan abortion providers were prominently featured in the videos.

The Center for Medical Progress created the videos but a court order is preventing them from publicly releasing them. Unfortunately the National Abortion Federation doesn’t want the public to know what the abortion industry really talks about. The videos were recently turned over to Congress and were apparently leaked by a Congressional staffer.

One video featured abortion clinic owner Renee Chelian speaking at a workshop on how to get rid of the remains of aborted children. Chelian owns the Northland Family Planning chain of abortion clinics which do approximately a quarter of all abortions in Michigan, and do abortions up to 24 weeks. In the video Chelian discussed the variety of problems she encountered when Stericycle, a waste disposal company, refused to continue disposing of her clinic’s fetal remains.

At one point in the workshop Chelian described how her clinics had five months-worth of fetal remains in rented freezers. She goes on to talk about her obsession with getting rid of the fetal tissue.

She said, “I was so consumed with fetal tissue that I was ready to drive to upper Michigan to have a bonfire. And it was just trying to figure out, you know, how I wouldn’t get stopped or how far into the woods would I have to go to have this fire that nobody would see me.”

During the question and answer period Chelian mentioned she thought burning the remains of aborted children for energy would be a “great idea” if it wouldn’t be such a “PR nightmare.”

Michigan Planned Parenthood abortionist Lisa Harris was shown in three videos. One featured a conversation between David Daleiden and Harris regarding the possibility of obtaining fetal body parts. She discussed how her Planned Parenthood clinic formerly provided “fetal orbits” (eyeballs) to researchers.

In a video entitled “Planned Parenthood Michigan Workshop Video,” Harris answered a question from an audience member and encouraged the audience comprised of abortion industry workers to admit to the violence of abortion.

Harris said, “I actually think we should be less about denying the reality of those images [images of aborted children] and more about acknowledging that, yeah, that’s kind of true. Given that we see the fetus the same way and given that we might both agree that there’s violence in here, ask me why I come to work every day. Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing. Let’s just give them all that.”

During another workshop Harris described how she had a chance meeting with a judge in Michigan who had been signing all of her judicial bypasses to allow minors in Michigan to have abortions without parental consent. Harris says the judge told her he did more judicial bypasses than almost anyone in the country.

To watch these videos of abortion providers talking behind closed doors, visit

Ask Dr. Universe – Spiders

Do spiders have good eyesight? -Kathryn, Comfort, Texas

Dear Kathryn,

Most spiders have quite a few eyes, but they usually can’t see very well. Then again, seeing isn’t everything. That’s what I found out when I went to visit my friend Rich Zack, a scientist at Washington State University who knows a lot about insects and spiders.

Zack explained that spiders have a number of small lenses on the top of their heads. These simple lenses let them see changes in light and dark. It’s probably a pretty blurry view, he said.
There are more than 40,000 spider species on Earth. We can often identify a spider by counting its eyes and seeing how they are arranged.

A wolf spider, for example, has three rows of eyes to help it hunt in the dark. The first row has four small eyes, the second has two large ones, and the third has two medium-sized ones.
A jumping spider has two huge eyes and two small ones on the front of its face. On top are two tiny eyes and two medium eyes. This way, it can see all around.

Some scientists are curious about how different spider eyes work. For example, the size and location of some eyes appear to help spiders see more details. Others help them see a wider view of the world, even if it’s fuzzy.
A few years ago, scientists discovered a kind of spider that lived in dark caves. It didn’t have eyes, but it didn’t really need them either.

In fact, most spiders live in the dark. We see some scurrying around during the day, but most are nocturnal, which means they move around at night.

If you pointed a flashlight in the direction of a wolf spider, you could see its eyes shining in the dark. They have iridescent layers called tapeta. Cats and other animals who have evolved to look for food at night also have tapeta to help them see better in the dark.

With or without eyes, spiders are pretty good at using their other senses to survive, too.
“Most spiders rely on smell or touch to capture prey and perceive their environments,” Zack said. “Some spiders can feel the vibrations on their webs, then move out to see if that vibration was caused by a potential item of food.”

Finding food is one big responsibility for spiders. Finding a mate is another. Jumping spiders use their bright colors to attract one.

A group of scientists thought that if these brightly colored spiders were attracting mates, then maybe the spiders saw colors, too. They found out from their experiments that some jumping spiders have special filters in their eyes to help them see certain colors.

So, even though spiders may not have the best eyesight, they view the world in all kinds of ways. Some can see near, some can see far, some see color, and some don’t see at all.

Dr. Universe

Non-Profit Organization Looking for Community Members to Join our International Team

ASSE International Student Exchange Program (ASSE) is seeking representatives to work with volunteer host families and international exchange students in your community. ASSE provides academic year and semester exchange programs in the United States for high school students from around the world. Students are 15 to 18 years of age, have passed a series of academic and character requirements and are awaiting an opportunity to embark on their American adventure. Local Representatives also have the opportunity to support American high school students in their journey abroad.

Area Representatives recruit and screen prospective host families, supervise the exchange students in their community throughout the year, and interview American students who wish to live and learn abroad. Area Representatives are compensated based on the number of students they are supervising.

ASSE’s primary goal is to contribute to international understanding by enabling students to learn about other languages and cultures through active participation in family, school and community life. Through sharing their home, host families and communities also gain new knowledge and appreciation of other cultures and languages. ASSE’s Area Representatives are the cornerstone of the organization, making all of this possible!

For more information about ASSE or becoming an Area Representative, please call the Eastern Regional Office at 1-800-677-2773, email us at or go to to learn more. We look forward to welcoming you to the ranks of Area Representatives nationwide – striving towards a world of understanding, one child at a time!

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of November 9, 2015

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township board began at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 2015, in the township board room.

Members Present: Carol Hulka, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Ron Becklin, Dave Markgraf, Marjorie Nash and Chuck Whitlow Member
Absent: Supervisor Brain Werschem–excused

Also Present: 0–employee; 0-residents; Public Safety Director, Doctor; and DPW Director, Farrar

At 7:00 p.m., Clerk Hulka opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed with a prayer by Treasurer Dillon.

The motion byChuck Whitlow, seconded by Ron Becklin , was carried unanimously, to appoint Dave Markgraf as the Supervisor Pro Tem to chair the board meeting in the absence of the Supervisor.

The meeting minutes of October 12, 2015, regular meeting, were approved as presented.

The motion by Carol Hulka, seconded by Rose Dillon, was carried unanimously, to approve the meeting agenda of November 9, 2015, with the following addition under New Business, (D): Street light proposal for DeFeyter

1) Michigan Townships Association legislative updates
2) An article regarding funding for new voting machines
3) Parks and Recreation meeting minutes of October 27th
4) Planning Commission minutes dated October 20, 2015
5) Revenue and Expenditure Report for period ending 10/31/2015
7) Muskegon County Chapter of Michigan Townships Association quarterly meeting is at Egelston Township on November 30th

PUBLIC COMMENTS – PART 1 None received.


15-101 Great Lakes Comnet Metro Act Permit
Rose Dillon moved, seconded by Ron Becklin, MOTION CARRIED, to approve a five year Unilateral Metro Act Permit with Great Lakes Comnet, Inc. that includes the following two exhibits- Exhibit A: a map showing the rights of way granted and Exhibit B: a copy of the liability insurance certificate. The purpose for the permit is for access to and on-going use of public rights-of-way within the Township of Fruitport for the purpose of constructing a fiber optic network extension to service its customers.

Ayes: Dillon, Becklin, Nash, Hulka, Markgraf, Whitlow
Nays: None

15-102 Parks and Rec Master Plan
Marjorie Nash moved, seconded by Ron Becklin, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the Fruitport Charter Township Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the period of 2015-2019.

Ayes: Nash, Becklin, Dillon, Hulka, Markgraf, Whitlow
Nays: None

15-103 Public Safety Director Ken Doctor Contract Extension
Ron Becklin moved, Marjorie Nash seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to add one year extension to Public Safety Director Ken Doctor’s contract with no change in pay.

Ayes: Becklin, Nash, Dillon, Hulka, Markgraf, Whitlow
Nays: None

15-104 Street Light Proposal for DeFeyter Street
The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Carol Hulka, was carried unanimously, to authorize the Clerk to contact Consumers Energy for a street lighting quote for the end of DeFeyter Street, off Heights Ravenna.

15-105 Payment of Bills
Marjorie Nash moved, seconded by Ron Becklin, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills for payment in the following amounts: General Fund & Parks $73,575.04; Public Safety $178,414.19; Water 388,648.45; Sewer $34,912.84. Totaling: $675,550.52

Ayes: Nash, Becklin, Dillon, Hulka, Markgraf, Whitlow
Nays: None

REPORTS – Santa Claus will be at Fire Station #2, Black Creek Road, on December 5th.


The motion by Ron Beciklin, supported by Dave Markgraf, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 7:13 p.m.



Ask Dr. Universe – Bat Habits

Do bats have habits? -Elliot

You are onto something. Quick, to the bat-lab! That’s where I met up with my friend Christine Portfors, a scientist at Washington State University who studies fruit bats.

Portfors explained that while bats don’t quite have habits like humans, they do have behaviors.
Bats are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and wake up in the early evening. The first thing they’ll do when they wake up is fly around and around their caves for a while.

We don’t know exactly why bats do this, but as they get ready to leave the cave, Portfors thinks they might be saying something along the lines of: “You go first. No, you go first. No, you go first.”
You’d probably do the same thing if you weren’t sure what was lurking out in the dark. It could be a predator, and you could be the next meal.

After one brave bat finally leaves the cave, the colony follows and goes out in search of food. A few bat babysitters in the roost will stay behind to watch the pups.

A bat’s eyes don’t work very well in the dark, but their ears are very useful for navigating at night. Their call bounces off of—or echoes from—the world around them. My cat-ears can pick up on some of the bat squeaks and chirps, but the sound is too high-pitched for most humans to hear.

Bats listen for the echoes of their calls and it helps them find, or locate, objects around them. Some bats can even use this echolocation to tell the difference between all kinds of bugs.

Some bats eat insects, others eat fruit, but almost all have a good appetite. Some kinds of fruit bats will eat about three times their body weight in figs. Just one little brown bat can eat about 600 mosquitoes in an hour. Some of the fastest bats can catch insects and eat them in mid-flight while going up to 40 mph. Now, that’s fast food.

Some farmers will depend on bats to hunt for certain kinds of insects that cause serious damage to their fields. Just like birds and bees, bats can also help pollinate plants. In some tropical areas, bats even help with reforestation. When bats eat plants, flowers, and fruits, their droppings contain seeds that help spread and fertilize new plant life.

After an hour or two of searching for food, bats return to their roost. They are social animals, and living in big groups also helps keep their naturally cool habitats warm. The bats chatter back and forth, communicating with each other through their high-pitched sounds. Before dawn, bats will hunt one more time. Then they sleep all day — upside down, of course.

Hmm, I’m not sure if I should say “good night,” or “good morning” as they go to sleep. How about, “Until next time.”

Dr. Universe