Survey season is over for a final year – here’s what will happen next

That's a wrap! The National Bats in Churches Survey is over for its fourth and final year and with the help of our incredible volunteers, we've managed to smash our targets and gather vital data about how and why bats are using churches.

A young woman using a mobile phone to take a photo of the inside of a church

For the last three months, volunteers and church representatives across England have been working tirelessly to find out more about how and why bats are using these ancient buildings.

The final season of the National Bats in Churches Survey and Church Bat Detectives, our citizen science projects, has now come to a close and all of us at Bats in Churches would like to extend a huge thank-you to everybody who has taken part.

The survey began in 2019 and since then, our volunteers have surveyed an incredible 645 ancient churches for bats.

Volunteers have scoured for bat droppings, interviewed church representatives, set up bat detectors and returned DNA samples and audio files for analysis, and as a result we now have a really valuable dataset that will be used to help church communities and their bats now and in the future.

A brown long eared bat flying in front of a church

Our next job is to finish sound and DNA analysis from churches in the National Bats in Churches Survey and share the results with churches and volunteers. Over the winter, we'll collate and analyse the data ready to share the final survey findings in 2023.

Claire Boothby, training and surveys officer at Bats in Churches, said: 'One thing I love is that many churches have learnt which bats are using their church and this has allowed better engagement with the church community about their bats.

'Next season we plan to lend bat detectors to churches and to carry out the sound analysis, letting churches know which species are using their church, and to possibly send them a poster with information about their bats.'

Keep an eye on the Bats in Churches website and social channels for the survey data next year, and once again a huge thank you to everybody who has taken part.