By Times Staff
ROCKPORT — Bats, bugs and birthdays don't usually go together, but they do for a local bookstore.
Toad Hall Bookstore, which is located at 47 Main St. and turns 40 this year, provided the funding for a free Family Build a Bat Box program for Cape Ann families.
The event, presented through the Massachusetts Audubon's Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, will be on Saturday, May 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Essex County Greenbelt Association's Cox Reservation in Essex.
The program is open to residents of Rockport, Gloucester, Essex, and Manchester. Participants must register in advance by calling the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary at 978-887-9264 because space is limited.
The program will include a presentation on the bats of Massachusetts by Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary teacher-naturalist Scott Santino.
Each family will receive one bat box kit to assemble and take home. Participants should bring a hammer. Assistance will be provided as needed by Santino and Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary educator Angela Walsh. After kits are assembled, there will be a discussion on bat box placement and maintenance.
Bats eat thousands of mosquitoes nightly, and are very effective in keeping down mosquito populations. These boxes will provide shelter and roosting places for male bats. For more information on bats, visit www.massaudubon.org/livingwithwildlife.
Toad Hall is a nonprofit organization founded on Earth Day in 1972. It has always given 100 percent of its profits to environmental projects.