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Bats are one of my favorite animals, and they are sadly one of the most feared and misunderstood. There are over 1,300 bat species around the world, and each one plays a vital role in its ecosystem.

Bat Week is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature. Bat Week (October 25th-31st 2015) is organized by a team of representatives from Bat Conservation International, Organization for Bat Conservation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Acoustics, Lubee Bat Conservancy and the Save Lucy Campaign (Bat Week).

International Bat Week :: girldust.com // stock photo credit: mogieg @DA

Next Sunday, October 25th, marks the start of International Bat Week 2015! As the week culminates, people across North America will attempt a world record for most bat houses built in a day. The goal for October 31st is 5,000 bat houses. Find an event near you, or learn how to make a bat house here! Bat houses should be mounted in an area that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight (facing either east or south), relatively close to the nearest body of water and 12-20 feet above ground or highest level of area vegetation.

Bat houses are just one way to help. Check out some more ways to #SaveTheBats at The Organization for Bat Conservation!

Why Bats are Important

  • Bats consume insects, including agricultural pests. Larger bat populations in key areas mean less need for pesticides.
  • Bats are pollinators! Both wild and cultivated varieties of many commercial products depend on bats for pollination, including agave, bananas, and peaches. Pollination is obviously good for non-harvested plant species, too. Some plants rely heavily (or entirely) on bat pollination.
  • Fruit-eating bats help disperse seeds, often covering larger areas than birds.
  • Some bats are considered keystone species that are absolutely essential to their ecosystems.

Twenty-six species of bats are listed by The International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Critically Endangered. Fifty-one others are Endangered, and 954 bat species are considered Vulnerable. As a mammal species, bats are also severely under-studied (Bat Conservation International). There are some species of bats that we know next-to-nothing about.

Why Bats Need Our Help

  • Bats are losing habitat as a result of timber harvests, farmland expansion, mining operations, and other human activity, including tourism.
  • In some parts of the world, bats are still being killed because of harmful myths and misinformation. Fact time: there are only three species of bat that consume blood: the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi), and they live only in Central and South America. Learn more about vampire bats here.
  • Bats reproduce slowly (many females only give birth to one pup every year), so recovery from a significant loss within a bat colony is difficult and slow-going.
  • In the United States and Canada, White-nose Syndrome is still killing off colonies.

In North America, over 5.7 million bats have been killed by White-nose Syndrome, a wildlife disease that continues its spread across the continent. Caused by a cold-loving fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans, WNS attacks hibernating bats, causing mortality rates that approach 100 percent at some sites. The disease was first spotted in a cave in upstate New York in February 2006 and has since expanded across the eastern half of the United States and Canada. Despite tireless scientific efforts to find a solution, the disease is still killing huge numbers of bats. Until the arrival of WNS, two Endangered U.S. species, the Indiana myotis (Myotis sodalis) and gray myotis (M. grisescens), were showing promising signs of recovery. That now seems doubtful. And scientists predict that the once common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), will be reduced to just 1% of its pre-WNS population numbers by 2030 (BCI).

You can find lots more information about White-nose Syndrome here. Fellow Maine residents should read this page from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which includes some information and links for cavers. Maine Audubon recently published this brief article, as well!

International Bat Week :: girldust.com

via Organization for Bat Conservation / ModCloth (affiliate) / LUSH

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Nota bene: Friday Favorites posts contain some affiliate links. I will receive a small commission for any purchases made using those particular links. Every little bit helps! Thank you!

Friday Favorites // 037 :: girldust.com

  1. I am head over heels in love with this beautiful burgundy bra from True & Co.
  2. I am going to attempt this Halloween craft via Martha Stewart. Are you doing any Halloween decor projects? I would love to hear your ideas. It’s been hard to find crafts for adults that aren’t either too goofy or too gory. We’re going for a sort of mystical haunted woodland cemetery look, I think. I’m still kind of unsure.
  3. New cute and spooky limited edition Dunny figures are out at Magic Pony. These are blind box, as usual, but I love “The Grisly Phantom” best.
  4. I love the black beeswax candles from For Real Surreal Club. Their black candles are all scented with cedarwood, but they have totally natural options, too, if that’s more your style.
  5. I will always say yes to crochet detailing, especially in soft gray.
  6. Check out these beautiful handmade wooden spoons by UK-based carver Giles Newman. His instagram is full of gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces, and his etsy shop is here.
  7. I don’t think I could ever really pull it off, but this cool-toned lavender shade (named “Cipher”) from Rituel de Fille is just beautiful.

I was going to totally use my death cold as an excuse not to write this post, but I decided not to be so dramatic. I actually do enjoy putting these posts together every week. Have a great weekend!

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Halloween is upon us (okay, pretty much)! Are you excited? I’m excited. It’s the time of year to let your inner goth shine without anyone pointing at you and laughing. Although, to be perfectly honest, now that I’m an adult I totally don’t care. It’s like I’m a slightly more confident, put together (also wiser and more thoughtful) version of the girl I was as a teenager. And I’m proud. That being said, I very rarely wear a black lip. My day-to-day look, especially  lately, actually involves very little makeup at all. But it’s soon to be October, friends. Magic is afoot. Be bold. Wear black lips with pride, if you don’t already. Don’t wait until last minute, either! Treat yourself to something luxurious. You’ve got plenty of time.

PS. Why is there no bat emoji? Or witch hat?

The following lip products are cruelty-free and/or vegan. I’ve listed them from most indulgent to least, and all (some more than others) are full of natural and nourishing ingredients. I’m serious about treating yourself.

Black Lips for All :: girldust.com

Axiology/Kat Von D/Nero Cosmetics

  • Axiology / Existential: buy here $28 (cf/v)
  • Kat Von D / Studded Kiss lipstick in Slayer: buy here $21 (cf/many shades vegan, including this one)
  • Zosimos Botanicals / Onyx: buy here $20 (cf/v)
  • Nero / Nevermore: buy here $18 (cf/v)
  • Portland Black Lipstick Co. / Original Black: buy here $14 (cf/contains beeswax)
  • Insomnia Cosmetics / 3am: etsy shop currently down, as creator is recovering from illness $12 (cf/v)
  • Black Widow Balm / Black Magic: buy here $10 (cf/contains beeswax)

Have you noticed that black lip shades always have the coolest names?

Black Lips for All :: girldust.com

two swipes of product, natural (mid-afternoon) light

Axiology lipsticks make for a totally decadent experience. This is a beautiful, lovingly made product. This is the highest quality lipstick I have ever owned, and it’s one I feel really good about purchasing (plus I got it on sale). Check out the ingredients list here. Existential is highly pigmented and ultra-moisturizing. I prefer to use a lip brush, but the lip color will apply nicely straight from the tube. This goes on smooth, with a light shine. This is a great example of a luxury brand with a wide range of color options. They make non-traditional colors really approachable.

Insomnia Cosmetics lipsticks are all made by hand in small batches. 3am is a semi-matte, highly pigmented black. There is instant gratification with this one. Applies best with a lip brush. I’m hoping this shop re-opens soon, because their products are great, with a lot of character. Moonchild (a bright berry purple) is one of my favorite lipsticks, right now! 3am was originally part of a Halloween collection, but was re-released into regular rotation due to popular demand.

Black Magic wears like a lip balm. It applies sheer and can be built up to your desired level of blackness. What it lacks in instant pigmented coverage, it more than makes up for in texture and scent. This Color Balm is infused with a blend of peppermint, pine, and nutmeg essential oils. I recommend using a lip brush for precise application and color build-up, but if you just want an on-the-go swipe of glossy sheer gray, go straight for the tube. Color Balm is available in a wide range of tints, if black isn’t your thing. This is a good option if you don’t feel 100% comfortable wearing a full-on black lip!

If I’ve missed any of your favorites, please let me know in the comments!

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