A brief review of some of BCI's accomplishments in the last six months...
The BCI Highlights report appears in the winter and summer issues of BATS to help keep members informed about BCI's progress. For more information on the following programs, please visit our Web site at www.batcon.org, or call our office at (512) 327-9721. You may also request a copy of BCI's annual report or view it on our Web site.
North American Bat Conservation Partnership (NABCP)
Received 28 grant proposals for essential conservation, research, and education projects, and funded the top 18 in the amount of $59,929. These funds will be matched by $648,260 in partner assistance, bringing total support to $708,189.
Produced a traveling exhibit, with funding from the U.S. Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, for the ongoing Bats of the Eastern Forests campaign. The exhibit is being used to educate wildlife managers, foresters, and private landowners at wildlife conferences throughout the Eastern U.S.
Sponsored a resolution that passed unanimously at the North American Symposium on Bat Research. As reported in Science magazine's March 2000 issue, the resolution addressed the issue of bats and rabies, and the CDC's reporting of rabies statistics.
Established a permanent Mexico City office for the Program for the Conservation of Mexican Bats. From this office, staff can better handle the hundreds of requests for educational materials and conservation assistance.
Met with tequila industry leaders in Mexico to discuss conservation of bat species that pollinate agave plants. Participants pledged support for research and educational outreach in agave-producing communities.
Bats and Mines
Surveyed 30 mines in the second of a four-year study at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Five were found to be important for bats and these will now be protected.
Helped gate Fort Bowie Mine in Arizona, home to a maternity colony of 4,000 cave myotis, one of the state's largest populations, and a hibernation site for Townsend's big-eared bats.
North American Bat House Research Project
Produced traveling exhibit demonstrating how farmers can incorporate bats and bat houses into integrated pest management, which premiered at the Success with Organics 2000 conference.
Initiated coast-to-coast testing of bat houses by ten leading organic growers as a first step toward research that will quantify the benefits of bats for organic farms.
Bats and Bridges
Hosted environmental planner from Germany's national transportation department, who will now implement bat-friendly designs in that country.
Collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and Research Associates Bob Wisecarver and Marvin Maberry to install artificial bat roosts near the old Franklin Bridge in Sacramento California. Displaced bats are beginning to use the new roosts as the bridge is dismantled, and the new bridge is being designed with crevice space for millions of bats.
Global Grassroots Fund
Launched the Global Grassroots Bat Conservation Fund in January 2000, and awarded approximately $15,000 in grants, educational materials, and donated use of bat images to support individuals and local nonprofit groups in bat conservation activities. Projects are now underway in Cambodia, Sulawesi, Poland, India, Honduras, and Moldova, and additional applications are being reviewed for projects in Hungary, Uganda, and the Philippines.
Education and Scholarships
Attended the National Association of Interpretation and taught 60 association members about bats so they can educate the public at the national and state parks, museums, zoos, and nature centers where they work.
Awarded scholarships totaling $56,488 to 24 students in support of conservation-relevant research in 14 countries. Projects include studies of foraging behavior of fruit bats in Brazil, bat habitat requirements in western Siberia, roosting needs in northwestern U.S. forests, and bat impact on insect pests in Belgium.
Taught more than 6,000 children in Austin-area schools to value and live safely with bats through 140 presentations by BCI's fall intern.
Funded economic impact study of the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony in Austin, Texas, which documented that the colony brings $8 million tourist dollars annually to the local economy.
Received an average of 21,266 visits each month to BCI's Web site (up from 12,000 per month in 1999). In addition, BCI transmits 10,389 documents every day, or almost 3.9 million each year.
Twenty leading scientists came together at the first Agri-Bats Workshop in Johnson City, Texas, where we reviewed and planned research to better document the agricultural significance of Mexican free-tailed bats that feed on crop pests.
This old gate on the Pewabic Mine in northern Michigan was modified to be bat-compatible this past winter thanks to contractor Irv Ruitta (right) and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association. This is the first of up to 20 new gates planned through the Great Lakes Bats and Mines Initiative, with the support of the USDA National Resources Conservation Service.
Millions of little and big brown bats from as far away as Kentucky migrate to this region each winter, and between 300,000 and 400,000 already hibernate in the mines slated for closure. Now that entrances are being made safe and accessible for bats, millions could easily find shelter within the hundreds of miles of underground tunnels in this area.