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Kutztown origami project to save bats

By Lisa Mitchell, The Kutztown Area Patriot

Monday, August 6, 2012

Three Kutztown girls want to save bats.
The three Kutztown Elementary School students recently completed a project--making and selling origami bats to raise money to help scientists find a cure for White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that is killing off millions of bats in the United States, mostly in the northeast.
“The girls came up with the idea themselves and did a lot of work to raise the money,” said Lisa Schnell, mom of two of the girls. “I’m really proud of the initiative that the girls took with this. This was totally their idea, their plan and they spent a lot of time going door-to-door walking around and actually selling these bats. This was something new for all of them and they did a really great job.”
Cassidy Walker, 9, and Marina Schnell, 9, and Fiora Schnell, 7, folded more than 100 origami bats. They then went door-to-door in Kutztown, with help from another friend, Sophie, selling the bats for $1 to donate to Bat Conservation International to help save bats from White-nose syndrome. They also talked to relatives on the phone, selling more than 114 bats to people in six states. Some didn’t buy an origami bat but instead only donated to the cause.
They raised $158 for bat research to find a cure for White-nose Syndrome
“We were really happy because we had all of that money to send to the bats,” said Marina.
“To save the bats,” added Fiora.
Cassidy heard about White-nose Syndrome in a “Time for Kids” magazine at school. The girls explained that White-nose Syndrome wakes bats during their winter hibernation and the bats burn energy and there is no food in winter so they die of starvation. Spores get on the bats’ fur and when bats go to different caves, it spreads onto the cave walls and spreads to the other bats, said Cassidy.
“It’s killing them off by the millions,” added Lisa Schnell.
“I don’t want them to become extinct,” said Cassidy. “I think they’re really cool.”
“I like bats,” Marina. “They’re interesting and they eat insects. There would be a lot more mosquitoes if there were no bats.”
They all really like origami, it’s something they do together so it was only natural to create bats for their fundraiser.
“It’s fun to do and you can take a piece of paper and make it into something with just a bunch of folds,” said Marina.
“You don’t even need glue or scissors,” said Cassidy.
Making the origami bats was fun for them.
“We saw who could make the fastest origami bat,” said Marina. “We learned how to make the bats from a video and then we tried to beat the man on the video.”
In a letter to Bat Conservation International, Cassidy and the two Schnell sisters wrote, “We are three girls who love animals. We live in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. She was upset about the fact that it is killing off bats. She couldn’t imagine a world without all the animals that are there right now.”
Letter sent to Bat Conservation International on July 20:
Dear Bat Conservation International,
We are three girls who love animals. We live in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
Cassidy heard about White-nose Syndrome in a Time for Kids magazine at school. She was upset about the fact that it is killing off bats. She couldn’t imagine a world without all the animals that are there right now.
Marina also heard people talking about the problems that White-nose Syndrome is causing for bats. She was sad about it because she really likes bats. She is glad that they eat mosquitoes, because even though she really likes insects, she doesn’t like mosquitoes.
Fiora likes watching bats fly around in the evenings, and she even saw one on a tree at camp. It looked like it was hurt. She would feel sad if she didn’t see any bats anymore or if the bats had White-nose Syndrome.
We talked about it and decided to help save bats because we all like bats. We decided to make origami bats and sell them to raise money because we like making origami. We also made a flyer to let people know what White-nose Syndrome is, because not many people know what it is and we wanted to tell them more about it and let them know how they could help.
We made more than 100 origami bats and went door to door and sold them (our friend Sophie helped us, too). We also talked to our relatives on the telephone. Altogether, we sold over 100 bats to people in six different states. We raised $158.
We are donating the money we raised to help scientists cure White-nose Syndrome.
Cassidy Walker, age 9
Marina Schnell, age 9
Fiora Schnell, age 7