Boy Scout Turns Chevrolet Volt Battery Covers into Homes for Bats at Consumers Energy Hydro Properties

Thanks to the innovation of a Boy Scout and electric car parts from General Motors, Michigan bats will have more housing options available near Consumers Energy hydroelectric dams.

Rich Castle with Consumers Energy, Eagle Scout Matthew Netherland, and Emily McDonald with GM stand next to bat houses made with Chevrolet Volt battery cases.
Rich Castle with Consumers Energy, Eagle Scout Matthew Netherland, and Emily McDonald with GM stand next to bat houses made with Chevrolet Volt battery cases.

For an Eagle Scout project, Matthew Netherland and some helpers built 22 bat boxes out of scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers donated by GM.

“This project connects a lot of environmental dots,” said Rich Castle, Consumers Energy’s natural resource manager for hydro generation. “Hydro dams generate clean electricity, and cars that run on electricity are a cleaner form of transportation. The battery covers from the electric-powered vehicles are being kept out of landfills, and by being utilized as bat homes they allow biodiversity to thrive along the river habitats that produce renewable energy.”

About 100 or more bats can live in each bat box, which includes five chambers. Netherland, a friend and two adult mentors helped build 30 bat boxes in about two months, 22 of which will be installed by Consumers Energy.

“I’m thankful that GM had the perfect shell for the bat box plans, and that Consumers Energy has great locations to place the boxes,” said Netherland from Boy Scout Troop 185 from Clarkston, Mich. “Both companies have been great to work with, very encouraging and generous.”

“I’m so impressed by Matthew’s energy and dedication to this project,” said Emily McDonald, environmental engineer for GM who coordinated with Netherland on his project. “We’ve worked with renowned bat experts on our bat house design and are grateful that we can partner with others who share our passion for conservation and will help us make a lasting impact. The Volt covers are made with durable material and will result in wildlife nesting opportunities for a long time.”

  • Consumers Energy and GM have both been recognized for their dedication to preserve natural resources, and properties for each company have received certification by the Wildlife Habitat Council.
  • GM has built more than 520 wood duck, bat and bluebird nesting boxes from Volt battery covers, with many peppered throughout its facilities’ grounds. VIDEO: GM project for bat (and wood duck) houses