If you caught sight of a bunch of college-age students fiddling around on rooftops of some Lancaster city landmark buildings recently, don’t be concerned.
They were just looking for bats.
The city could certainly use more bats, many of which have experienced alarming declines in recent years. The only mammals capable of sustained flight, they eat bugs that bite us and pollinate the flowers and gardens we grow.
Now, a Millersville University professor and students have begun the second year of a two-year joint study with Franklin & Marshall College to see if “green roofs” — those planted mini fields on top of rooftops — attract bats and help them thrive.
Halfway through the study, it appears they do.
If another summer of research confirms the initial results, the findings may be useful for planners, ecology landscapers and bat conservation groups to strategically use green roofs to help bats in small cities across the United States.