It was during the quiet time before kids arrive. The time when just maybe I might get something done. I was walking to the copy room when a couple of kids called from up the hall way, “Ms. O’Hearn. Ms. O’Hearn, we found a bat. It’s dead.”
After drilling them about whether or not they touched the bat (don’t ever touch bats, especially with bare hands) and how they collected it, they handed me a McDonald’s french fry box with a crumpled single serving Cheetos bag inside.
I invited them to my room to wash their hands, put on gloves and examine the bat.
Wow! We were enthralled with this little creature. Actually it seemed a bit large for a bat. It seemed to be looking right at us. I had to quell fantastical thoughts that it might just resurrect and begin flying around the room. We discussed what we noticed, how amazing its wings and fingers were, what might have happened to it, etc… Apparently they found it in some grass laying still under a tree while they were walking to school. After a bit, and several kids popping in to see (word spreads fast at a middle school), I put it safely away and we researched what species it might be. Hoary Bat.
I have never been this close to a bat before. Its fur is unbelievably soft. The frosted tips, rounded ears, and blond spots on its arms, as well as the environment it was found in all distinguished it as a Hoary Bat. I am thankful my students are safe and that they noticed this opportunity to learn. I am grateful for the chance to teach them and inspire them to notice nature in their urban world, like dead bats on the way to school.