If you're afraid of bats, this article probably isn't for you. St. Cloud State University Archives shared photos from a former popular event they used to host called the 'bat count'.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? It actually sounds like an episode of 'Fear Factor' for some.  According the the university's archives, "the study of bats began in 1952 with St. Cloud State faculty member Harry Goehring … We're not quite sure when Mork (the man who eventually took over the program from Goehring) stopped doing the bat count either but it was also a popular event and often photographed."

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Several of the photos shared on Facebook show various people ranging in ages exploring the city's sewer system in pursuit of bats. What's interesting to me is, one photo taken in January 1971 depicts two people in the tunnel system who do not appear dressed for January weather. I'm guessing it's probably fairly warm in there which is why the bats have made it their home.

The photos have been shared because the StarTribune recently featured an article about how bats in the St. Cloud area have been dying and the city has actually developed a way to provide them a home where they can hopefully thrive again.

Essentially, the city's sewer system was built in the 1920s and hasn't been able to keep up with St. Cloud's growth. There's a lot more water funneling through the tunnels and the bats are drowning. So, the plan is to build a new system and give bats their old home back.

All this time, I had no idea this was happening. I think SCSU should bring back their 'bat count' event again. That would be fun. Have you ever attended one of the famous 'bat counts'?

Harry Goehring with a bat, St. Cloud State University, 1967?

Posted by St. Cloud State University Archives on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

People count bats, St. Cloud State University, 1970s

Posted by St. Cloud State University Archives on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Harry Goehring investigates a sewer for hibernating bats, St. Cloud State University, 1951-1971

Dave Mork and Harry Goehring look for bats in a sewer, St. Cloud State University, January 1971

Posted by St. Cloud State University Archives on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Posted by St. Cloud State University Archives on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Faculty member David Mork with bat specimens, St. Cloud State University, January 1985

Posted by St. Cloud State University Archives on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

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