Woman donates Arkansas land for bats

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Woman donates Arkansas land for bats

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 27, 2006 6:02 am

Clydia Davenport was looking to donate her 65 acres of land near the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. The land is steep, craggy, has no road access and is almost completely unusable by humans. Little did she know that her 65 acres are used as a home to one of the most endangered bats on Earth: the Ozark big-eared bat.

Davenport, 56, who lives in West Roxbury, Mass., had never seen or set foot on the land. She had read, however, that several local politicians wanted to dam up nearby Lee Creek, creating a man-made lake and destroying the local habitat. Politicians had raised $4 million to dispatch the Army Corps of Engineers to study the land. Davenport, who spent years as a lawyer trying to defend wetlands, wanted nothing to do with that plan, even though it would make her now-useless land into lake-front property.

"I don’t have the resources to fight $4 million and the Army Corps of Engineers," said Davenport, "but the Nature Conservancy does."

Davenport called the Nature Conservancy, an international organization that has protected more than 117 million acres worldwide, according to its Web site. The organization wanted a better look at the land before it agreed to receive it, so they dispatched Tim Snell from their Arkansas branch to look at the land. What he found was the perfect habitat for the Ozark big-eared bat, a species with only about 2,000 bats remaining.

"As far as we can tell, it has never been logged or developed," said Snell. "It’s virtually in a natural condition. The property itself is perfect for the bats."

<a href="http://www2.townonline.com/roslindale/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=542562">Full Story</a>
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Wayne Harrison
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