The benefits of bats are many and participants will learn all about it at a Night Hike through Sodalis Nature Preserve Friday Sept. 24. The night hike begins at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot at Sodalis.

Bats are essential to many ecosystems ranging from rainforests to deserts and are a boon to agriculture. Bats disperse seeds and pollinate hundreds of species of plants. And because some of them eat roughly their own body weight in insects every night, they reduce crop damage and the need for pesticides. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, bats eat enough harmful insects to save this country’s corn industry $1 billion a year.

The night hikes are scheduled in time for participants to see the bats at sunset.

The full Night Hike program lasts about two hours and follows a 2-mile paved trail. Participants are welcome to stay with the group or return to the parking lot on their own. Activities include seasonal observations, sensory activities and the telling of the creation of Sodalis Nature Preserve.

There is a strict limit of 20 participants and reservations must be made by calling Hannibal Parks & Recreation at 221-0154 or by emailing

Nature programs and hikes are led by Gale Rublee, a nationally certified interpreter guide with more than 25 years of experience in outdoor education. Rublee is a founding member of the Hannibal area Mississippi Hills chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists and Master Naturalist volunteers often assist with HPR programs.