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We Have a Winner!

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We Have a Winner!

Published on February 3, 2016

Marion and Verne Read
Marion Chester Read and her husband, Verne Read, show off two
Australian Grey-headed flying foxes in 1985. After the discovery of bats
in their summer home in Milwaukee, the Reads went on to establish
Bat Conservation International with Merlin Tuttle in 1982. The couple
traveled worldwide. (Note: BCI does not endorse the handling of bats
without gloves). Credit:

It brings us great joy and pleasure to announce the first-ever winner of the Verne and Marion Read Bat Conservation Award: Santiago Gamboa Alurralde. Alurralde’s research aligns effortlessly with the Reads’ ever-lasting legacy of achieving greater conservation impact at home and around the world. According the Read family, Alurralde’s study of a Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) colony in Argentina’s Escaba Dam, “demonstrated that he shared some the same passion that Verne and Marion brought to their bat conservation efforts” more than three decades ago.

In 2015, the BCI Board of Directors announced the establishment of the Verne and Marion Read Bat Conservation Award as a way to encourage bat enthusiasts to fight for bat conservation beyond U.S. and Canadian borders. The honor is simply unmatched—Verne and Marion Read were key players in BCI’s founding, and offered unwavering support, commitment, and dedication to the cause. Recipients of this distinguished award are chosen from among the awardees of BCI’s Small Grants Program. Awardees of The Verne and Marion Read Bat Conservation Award are expected to epitomize Verne and Marion’s spirit through inspiring education and community action to protect bats and address critical conservation needs.
Santiago Gamboa Alurralde
Santiago Gamboa Alurralde's award winning project will encompass
ecological research and community education for a colony of Mexican
free-tailed bats in the SICOM Escaba Dam in Argentina.
Credit: Santiago Gamboa Alurralde

Since 1998, BCI has awarded one million dollars to hundreds of aspiring bat conservation leaders for their work in more than 40 countries. Many of those recipients are celebrated at the highest levels in their home country and have an excellent standing in the scientific and conservation community. Today, BCI is privileged to be working alongside the organization’s recipients.

“BCI is very proud of the amazing work people have achieved over the years,” said BCI Senior Director of Global Conservation, Dave Waldien. “I am very pleased to encounter past recipients as we work around the world and am honored when I have an opportunity to directly work with them.”

BCI scholarships and small grants are made possible with the generous support of the US Forest Service International Programs, the Leo Model Foundation, and BCI members. To learn more about our awards and scholarships click here.

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