There wasn't a lot of money to account for in BCI's early days in Austin, so the bookkeeper also fed the two fruit bats, Zuri and Rafiki, and cleaned their cage in the office hallway. She also learned about bats by transcribing dictation for Founder Merlin Tuttle.
"We wore so many hats back then – and, you know, most of us still do. It was just wonderful," says Linda Moore, who joined BCI on April 8, 1986. Now BCI's longest-serving staffer, she is Director of Administration and Finance – and no longer cleans bat cages.
With an extensive background in accounting, Linda was ready to leave her full-time job for part-time accounting work when she spotted a classified ad in the local newspaper: "International conservation organization seeks part-time bookkeeper."
"I had always wanted to work in conservation, but I didn't have the skills to do fieldwork, so I called the number and went in for an interview with Merlin," who had just moved BCI to Austin, she recalls. "When he offered me the job, I was just thrilled."
So she joined Merlin and Mari Murphy, the BATS magazine editor and membership director who had worked for BCI in Wisconsin and made the move to Austin, as the entire staff of Bat Conservation International. Amy McCartney signed on the following February as Membership Manager, a post she still holds.
"I had never seen a bat before," Linda says. "They were so cute, I couldn't believe it. People are almost always surprised because bats look nothing like what they expected."
"The budget that first year in Austin was just $60,000," Linda says. "There were a few times over those years that we were afraid we wouldn't be able to meet payroll, but we always did."
BCI had just a few hundred members in 1986, "but then Merlin had an article in National Geographic, and "all of a sudden, we grew so much it was incredible. It just exploded."
"Bill Haber saw a little blurb about us in People magazine and sent us a donation," she recalls. He became an especially dedicated member of BCI, and "a few years later, in 1991, he's the one who made it possible for us to move into this building," BCI's current headquarters in Austin.
Looking back over 25 years, Linda concludes: "It has been so inspiring to think of how much this organization has accomplished all over the world. We've got a great team here. No matter what happens, it's like [former staffer] Andy Moore used to say: 'Let's get on with saving the bats.' That's what it's all about."
"We're all working to leave the world a better place. So I contribute the way that I can."