Past Speakers 2024

Dagenais, Danielle (January 18, 2024)

Speaker: Danielle Dagenais, BC Community Bat Program

Topic: Creating a Bat-Friendly Garden

Danielle Dagenais has been working and volunteering on bat projects since 2011. She has been the Regional Coordinator for the Community Bat Programs of BC ( since 2018. She is also a wildlife educator and consultant under her own company. Each year, Danielle organizes and leads many bat presentations and bat walks throughout the Greater Vancouver Area, and visits schools and summer camps to provide bat education to youth groups. Danielle conducts bat and bat box assessments in the region, and when time allows Danielle also helps with local bat research.

Interesting facts about bats:

  • They are the only flying mammals
  • They are not rodents -  actually they are more closely related to humans than rodents.
  • In Canada they hibernate for 4 to 6 months
  • They can live up to 40 years
  • They only have one young per year.
  • They cannot walk on the ground so in order to take flight they have to hang upside down
  • They are not blind - they have great eyesight and  they use echolocation to detect insects
  • There are 15 - 17 species in Canada
  • Less than 1% of bats carry rabies.  As long as you don’t get in contact with them you have nothing to fear.
  • There is no proof that bats caused COVID

Life cycle:

  • Bats hibernate in trees, rock faces and caves from October to March.
  • By April they become more active and migrate to areas where they will be active until October.
  • They need fresh water, food (insects) and shelter.
  • Big,mature trees are natural roost for bats.  They can be day or night roosts as well as feeding, maternity, foraging, and winter roosts.  They are also used as travel corridors.
  • Their natural habitats include agricultural lands, local parks, grassy fields, gardens, fresh and salt water areas, pools.
  • They can also use artificial habitat such as under siding, shutters, roof tiles, bridges, wood piles . All they need is 1/2” to 3/4” to squeeze in.

Natural threats:

  • Predators  - cats are the number 1 predators of bats
  • Winter
  • When grounded they cannot take flight

Other threats:

  • Pesticides
  • Exclusion
  • Disturbance and light
  • Alteration and urban sprawl
  • Fear of them
  • Habitat loss is the number 1 threat to bats
  • White nose syndrome. 14 species in North America are affected by this fungus.  It has been detected in the Kootenays

Good ways to support bats

  • Plant shrubs and plants that attract insects such as Philadelphus (mock orange),  Ledum glandulosum (Trapper’s tea) and  Rhododendron albiflorum (white flowered rhododendron)
  • Plant early, mid and late summer bloomers
  • Vertical structure (roosting)
  • Open areas to water as they drink on the fly
  • Remove threats and disturbances such as pets, pesticides, light
  • Gardening for birds and insects will help bats
  • Bat boxes are a long term commitment and very specific.  If you wish to install one contact bc bats for help and advice.

Support bats by:

  • Becoming a bat advocate
  • Spreading the word
  • Education others
  • Allowing them to stay
  • Minimising disturbances
  • Volunteer with BC Bats

Report the following to BC Bats at 1-885-922-2287:

  • Bat roosts
  • Bat activity in any season
  • Bat encounters
  • Bat boxes
  • Dead bats between November 1 and May 31

For more information:

Balance, Owen (February 15, 2024)

Speaker: Owen Ballance
Topic: Monet's Garden Working with Light and Colour in the Artists Garden
Owen Ballance is a horticulturalist, an experienced gardener, who has worked within both the public and private gardening sectors in Canada, France and England. He began professionally gardening with the City of New Westminster in 2016; however, was brought up by a pair of keen vegetable gardeners and began gardening at a young age.
His educational background originates from the University of Victoria, studying physical geography, as well as the University of British Columbia attending the Horticultural Training Program. He approaches gardening with a holistic view and an understanding of the importance of gardens, with the roles they play in the greater ecosystem.
Spending time in both France and England, working at Maison & Jardin de Claude Monet in France and Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, respectively, Owen has a keen interest in and deep appreciation for classical and informal gardens. He is currently a horticulturist at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, where he is building upon his base of knowledge dealing with rare and sensitive plantings.