“It was like Christmas opening up the bat trunk: a great resource and a great idea!” That’s how one member of Bat Conservation International reacted when she received her loaner Bat Trunk. She was, in fact, all set to spread the word about bats.
|The 'Bat Trunk' for educators © Dianne Odegard, BCI
Education – dispelling myths and teaching the public about the benefits of bats – has always been a crucial part of BCI’s conservation mission. But “the public” is a bit too large for BCI’s Education Department to reach on its own. Since its very beginning 30 years ago, BCI has depended on its dedicated members to pitch in. And we have never been disappointed.
BCI members and friends talk about bats at schools, garden clubs, festivals and community groups of all kinds. They usually use bits and pieces of BCI educational publications and other materials. But now, under the guidance of Education Associate Dianne Odegard, BCI has finally fulfilled a long-standing goal: Bat Trunks packed with teaching tools for both children and adults.
The 10 Bat Trunks were made possible through the generosity of five BCI members who responded to our request for help in the Winter 2010 BATS magazine. The responses from Tillie Paige Laird, Rudi Lambrechtse, Leonard C. Keifer, Marilyn F. Campbell and Debra Power made all the difference.
Dianne packed the trunks with such things as BCI’s classic multimedia education kit, Discover Bats!; the Educator’s Activity Book about Bats; posters; colorful Powerpoint presentations; DVDs; actual bat specimens, including skulls, skeletons and bat guano (in its own magnifying cube); and even a replica of the Green River bat fossil, the oldest bat fossil ever found intact – from more than 50 million years ago.
There’s also a binder filled with educational information and photographs, and many materials (such a temporary tattoos that are a real hit with kids) that recipients can keep. Others may be duplicated.
And everything is loaned for two weeks absolutely free to those planning an education presentation. Even the shipping, both ways, is free.
Professional and amateur educators in Connecticut, New York, Maine, Oregon and Texas have so far used our magic bat boxes – at schools (all levels, including college), libraries, museums and zoos. Here is a sampling of their comments:
“The bat trunk is a wonderful idea and a great compilation of materials for educators, especially those not familiar with the many facets of bats.” “The Discover Bats DVD was good even for my staff.” “Students were able to share information at home with their families and get excited about bats!” “Just finishing our third event with your bat trunk—it has been a wonderful success each time!”
So if you have an opportunity to share the good news about bats, contact Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the use of a new BCI Bat Trunk.