In 2017, GIPL was pleased to provide a seed grant through our Four Directions Fund to Georgia Mountain Unitarian Universalist Church. One of ten grant recipients, Georgia Mountain UUC has a vibrant Green ministry that engages people within and beyond the four walls of the church. This past year, the congregation collaborated with several local organizations to tackle an environmental issue close to their hearts.
Georgia is home to six different bat species who help pollinate plants, disperse seeds, and control insects. A single bat can eat hundreds of mosquitos in one hour; however, bat populations are declining rapidly in Georgia. In an effort to help combat the decline, Georgia Mountain Unitarian Universalist Church received a Four Directions Fund grant to build and install bat houses at homes throughout the Dawsonville, GA area.
Ian Cowie, Chair of the Children’s Faith Development committee at Georgia Mountain UUC, conducted three sessions with youth, ages 12-14, to learn about bats. Discussions revolved around bat habitats and conservation. Building plans for the bat houses were sourced from Bat Conservation International. Afterward the groups, many of whom came through Lumpkin and Dawson County 4-H Clubs, assembled bat houses. A total of 15 houses are now distributed in these counties. Twenty-six young people participated in the project.
The project’s impact includes making participants aware of the importance of bats in their communities and finding ways to increase bat populations by installing shelters–bat houses. This fulfills the church’s principles “to build world community and see our interconnection with the world around us.”