Bat Friendly program receives grant from Dominion Power

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MOUNT SOLON, Va. (WHSV) -- Dominion Power awarded $1.2 million to nonprofits that work to improve the environment.

These grants will support over 100 organizations in 10 different states, including one right here in our backyard.

The Save Lucy Campaign works to raise awareness of white-nose syndrome and its devastating impact on bats in North America.

According to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, white-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern to the central United States at an alarming rate. Since 2007, millions of bats in 30 states and five Canadian provinces have died from this disease.

Leslie Sturges, president of the campaign, has worked with bats for years. She's dedicated her life to rehabilitation and education.

Sturges plans to take the $4,000 she was awarded by Dominion and put it towards her Bat Friendly program.

"It's funding our ability to get to classrooms, get into classrooms and feed the bats that go to the classrooms," said Sturges. "So it's definitely helping support the animals we use for educational programming."

Sturges plans on creating publications and other activities for the kids as well.

Her team is also finishing up building a new shelter for her 30 bats to call home.