Connecticut Teenager Spearheads Relocation of Bat Colony

Sometimes, small acts of kindness can make a huge difference. Nathan Lieske, an aspiring Eagle Scout from Watertown, CT, certainly ascribes to this philosophy, as earlier this month, he successfully launched an initiative to relocate a colony of bats to permanent homes after noticing that they were being displaced from their current residence in a local park’s bathhouses.

Gianni DiMeglio

Thanks to Nathan Lieske, Watertown bats now have a permanent place to live.

Despite his young age, Lieske, 15, clearly recognizes that charity can be given to animals, as well as humans. This is what spurned him to recruit his family and a group of 22 of his fellow Boy Scouts to assemble the bats’ new homes, which are essentially boxes similar to birdhouses. And instead of choosing the location of the bat boxes himself, Lieske has also demonstrated that he already understands the value of deferring to the experts, as he has donated the assembled boxes to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Because bats hibernate during the winter, DEEP is installing the boxes in the park near the bathhouses now, with the hope that the bats will become familiarized with the boxes this fall and hopefully take up residences inside them in the spring, when they’ve finished hibernating for the year.

Lieske estimates that the project took about 115 hours to complete, and his effort to improve the lives of the bats in his hometown have not gone unnoticed by local media or DEEP, which has expressed gratitude to Lieske for undertaking this project out of the goodness of his heart. Because they eat millions of night-flying insects per year, thereby controlling the outbreak of diseases these insects carry, bats provide what DEEP describes as “a tremendous ecological service” to humans, making Lieske’s initiative that much more important to the state of Connecticut and proving that compassion for animals extends to compassion for humans, as well.

For his hard work, Lieske has officially earned the rank of Eagle, which is the highest rank a Boy Scout can hold and normally only achieved by Scouts who are 17 years old and above. On behalf of both the human and the animal residents of Connecticut, a big thank you goes out to Nathan Lieske and his fellow Scouts for making our state a better place to live.

Connecticut Hospice House To Be Built With The Help of Fundraising

There can never be enough hospice care in this country, and the Center for Hospice Care will soon be building another facility. The center announced a fundraising campaign that will build a 12-room hospice care facility in Eastern Connecticut called Hospice House.

The project will break ground later this year, and will be completed and occupied in late 2017. This $7.5 million project will be built next door to the Dunham Street facility of the Center for Hospice Care of Southeastern Connecticut. The facility be created on 7.5 acres of land that have been given to the nonprofit by the St. Peter and Paul Church.

Gianni DiMeglio

Connecticut Hospice House will be built with the help of fundraising efforts.

The community was missing a center like this, so this project will be an promising way to make a genuine change. Many people have been waiting for a hospice facility like this for years, as in Eastern Connecticut, the only freestanding hospice care facilities are currently in Danbury and Branford. This means that hospice patients and visiting family members often have to make long trips to get to these facility. Hospice House is a great step in working to make it easier for families to see their loved ones in Eastern Connecticut. 

The steering committee has raised $5.5 million through behind-the-scenes fundraising, and they still have $2 million more to go. The team won’t begin building the facility until all of the money is available.

Some of the funds already pledged include $2 million in state bond funding. This funding is secured through the efforts of local legislators like State Senators Cathy Osten (D-Sprague), and Paul Formica (R-East Lyme). Also included and Representatives Kevin Ryan (D-Montville), Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford), and John Scott (R-Groton).

About $6 million will be spent on construction, and $1.5 million will be dedicated to five-year start-up costs. Large donations in the form of pledges can be made to help pay these costs, and the donations can be made over a period of five years. Because the center is relying on these donations, the center will use a bridge loan mortgage during the time period while pledges are being redeemed. Through a five year start-up period, the center will pay down interest on the mortgage while simultaneously working to reach full capacity in terms of patients. Hospice House will serve over 800 patients annually with all twelve of its suites in service.

One of the ways that the steering committee intends to raise funds is by offering naming rights to several parts of the completed building. Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey is thrilled to see this project take place. Hinchey’s father died in hospice, and she believes hospice is a crucial place to help people feel comfortable when death cannot occur at home.

The facility will have the feel of a home rather than a hospital or nursing home. It will have a bright and spacious living room in its center, a peaceful chapel, a playroom for visiting children, cozy library and a dining area. Hospice House is just the facility that this community needed.