Jewel Cave Library Lectures Begin With...Bats

Sep 20, 2016

Townsend's big-eared bats huddled together during hibernation
Credit Courtesy National Park Service
Jewel Cave National Monument begins a series of after-school lectures this month at nearby libraries. The goal is to establish as many connections with children as possible in order to preserve the future of Jewel Cave and other National Park Service sites.

If you like bats…and you’re a student…then September is the time to be at the Custer County Library for the first of 10 monthly presentations by a Jewel Cave National Monument ranger.

Jewel Cave spokesperson Riley Hays explains.

Children in the Custer area regularly attend after-school activities - such as the Jewel Cave National Monument Lecture Series - at the Custer County Library.
Credit Courtesy Custer County Library

“In September we’re going to  focus on bats,” comments Hays. “There are 9 species of bats that return to Jewel Cave every year to hibernate. So we would like to discuss them and all the cool things about bats…like echolocation. And kinda discuss white nose syndrome and how we can protect bats for this disease. And get kids to realize that bats are really important to the ecosystem and hopefully they want to protect them just like we do.”

Hays says topics in the lecture series will change each month. But the primary focuses are Jewel Cave, the Black Hills and getting kids outside to experience them both.

“Not only do we need to protect them," observes Hays. "But we need to educate about them…which is the purpose of these programs. Getting them outside to really appreciate them and learn about them is what fosters that appreciation and that knowledge for the future generations.”

Dogtooth spar, a calcite crystal, is one of the jewels that give Jewel Cave its name.
Credit Courtesy National Park Service

Custer County Library Director Doris Ann Mertz says she’s really looking forward to the lecture series

“I think anything that peaks your interest…makes you more curious…will make you want to get out there in nature more to see what else there is sot discover out there," Mertz comments. " We have such awesome…awesome places to go just in our backyard here.” 

Topics for future lectures include how caves form, fossils and area wildlife.

The Jewel Cave National Monument After-School Library program takes place at the Custer County Library and the Weston County Library in Newcastle, Wyoming from September through April 2017.


The Jewel Cave National Monument after-school lecture series starts Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in the Weston County Library in Newcastle, Wyoming and will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 4:15 p.m. The lecture series will begin at the Custer County Library on Wednesday, September 21, 2016  and will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of  every month at 4:00 p.m. After-school library programs will be available through April 2017 in both communities.   

Related links -

Jewel Cave National Monument

Custer County Library JumpStart Bat Echolocation Song