Big Bat Box

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Bats were discovered visiting the Study Centre at Studland.

The National Trust decided to provide an exhibit to help visitors, especially children, understand more about these creatures. Laura Jones, a student at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth (see link below), was commissioned to create ‘The Big Bat Box’.

Laura was a 3rd year student on the BA (Hons) Modelmaking course (see link below). She worked under the supervision of Course Director Ben Moss. The Purbeck Association contributed £200 towards the cost of the materials.

The model takes the form of a giant bat dropping. There are small drawers that can be opened and which contain materials that help people learn more about bats

Chrissy Suhr, National Trust Studland Community Learning Officer, said: “This is a great example of partnership working which we hope will benefit the school groups who visit us at Studland. Last year, we discovered that bats were using the Study Centre as a bat social club – the appearance of their calling cards on the decking was a big clue! Since then bats have become a regular part of our talks, especially to primary school groups, which ties in very well with the three year Purbeck Bat Project*, which is currently underway.

 “Bats are elusive creatures that don’t normally coincide with school visit hours so ‘The Big Bat Box' will prove invaluable as a teaching resource. It is very visual, unusual, interactive and will certainly appeal to kids!”

Laura took eight weeks to create the fibre-glass resin model, and although the actual scale is unknown, it’s estimated to be over 1,000,000:1. The interactive model has four drawers for children to discover different information tags on what a bat eats. In addition to the main model, Laura has also created an informative puzzle and a ‘touchy-feely’ bag with pockets for children to put their hands inside to feel replica skin, legs, teeth and wings of a bat.

Laura commented at the end of the project, “This was a great live project to take on, although I did have my reservations at first! I did a lot of research into the bats in Purbeck, and visited the Study Centre and the Purbeck Bat Project to understand the reasons behind the model I was making. I even got the opportunity to see an injured bat up close, and that certainly helped with my designs.”



* The Purbeck Bat Project is a three year survey into the roosts, flight patterns, diets, habitats and the influence of farming practices on the Greater Horseshoe bat and other bats in the Purbeck area. To learn more about the project follow the link below.

Update September 2007 - We're told that 200 bats are now roosting in the eaves of the building

Links: The Arts Institute  BA in Modelmaking  Purbeck Bat Project

This page was last updated 28 November 2013

© The Purbeck Association of The National Trust