Let’s face it: bats get a bad rap. It may stem from their blood-sucking role in horror books and films, and it may be a result of their verminous appearance, but whatever the cause, bats frequently elicit shrieks and shudders from humans. 

It really isn’t fair, though, since in most situations, bats aren’t dangerous or aggressive to people. Bats are actually very useful creatures who help control insect populations and fertilize local plant species with their droppings. Utah’s indigenous bat population is protected by law; it’s illegal to intentionally kill a bat in Utah. These friendly fliers are often seen at The Moab Resort, frequently taking refuge around exterior doorways. The typical reaction from resort guests upon seeing a bat hanging in the doorway is fear, which can contribute to a negative vacation experience — staff at the resort knew something had to be done. 

They needed to come up with a creative solution to allow resort guests to peacefully coexist with these flying mammals. And so associates at the resort took it upon themselves to educate owners and guests about the positive impact that brown bats have on the local ecosystem. They came up with a way to create an entirely unique activities program centered around brown bat education and awareness. The resort staff is proud and excited to help raise awareness of the positive environmental impact of their state’s native brown bats. 

The goal of the program is to teach owners and guests that the bats help control the resident mosquito population. The Moab Resort is next to a wetland, and mosquitoes thrive in that environment. Bats play a vital role in this ecosystem, eating up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour, as well as other insects aplenty. Without the bats controlling the mosquitoes, owners who visit the Moab Resort might have a much itchier experience! And bat droppings help pollinate plants and disperse seeds, contributing to the scenic environment around the resort. Providing this kind of specific education has made a real difference in how visitors to the resort perceive the bats’ presence during their stay.

Associates have installed more than 10 bat boxes on resort property to help shelter the bats, and this purposeful housing is used as an aid in teaching owners and guests about the bats. Because they have become a planned part of the resort environment, guests are not alarmed about the bats’ presence when they are seen sleeping during the days on the walls. Thanks to these efforts, the resort is now a member of the International Bat Conservation Society. 


Additionally, the team has created an activity for visitors to name any bats they might encounter during their stay. A coloring page is even handed out to kids at check-in that allows the kids to color and name their bat. Associates encourage the children to return the coloring page with their bat’s name to the front desk, where they are displayed in the lobby for all to see and admire. Children and adults alike now get excited when they see a bat in their doorway, and they get to name them as well. Resident bats have received monikers such as Batman, Count, Steve, Bruce, Batty, and Frederick, plus many more. The resort also offers owners and guests the opportunity to borrow one of multiple copies of the popular children’s book or animated film “Stellaluna,” a popular story that teaches kids all about the positive environmental impact of bats.

Prior to the bat educational program, resort staff often received many negative comments from owners and guests about the bats, but that has all changed since the start of the new program. Now the bats are frequently mentioned in a very positive fashion. Thanks to the innovative thinking and creativity of associates at the Moab Resort, the presence of brown bats is now considered a highlight of staying at this very special resort.


The team behind the popular Moab Bat Program was recently awarded the Activities Program Team Award at the annual ARDA Timeshare Together Conference for their efforts to help protect the local bat population, while educating guests of all ages about the important role bats play in their local ecosystem. This celebrated program was also recently highlighted in an article from Bat Conservation International!

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