The Echo
Women in Bat Conservation: Mylea Bayless

The Echo

Women in Bat Conservation: Mylea Bayless

Published on May 5, 2015


Mylea BaylessName: Mylea L. Bayless             

Title: Senior Director, U.S. / Canada Conservation

Organization: Bat Conservation International

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I studied wildlife biology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. 

What is your focus in bat conservation?

Easy! Conservation of bats in North America – it sounds like a big broad topic (and it is) but with a big task comes a lot of opportunity to make a difference. In my role at BCI I have the opportunity to work on conservation initiatives that will ( I hope) save species from extinction, reduce our impact on the environment, and share my appreciation of bats so many people.

How did you get involved with Bat Conservation International? 

I took a BCI workshop when I lived in Arizona and worked for the Game and Fish Department. I’ve been hooked ever since. 

Bats emerging from Bracken CaveWhat is your proudest moment in your conservation career?

I literally cried the first time I visited the new property we recently acquired in Texas adjacent to Bracken Bat Cave.  The negotiations to buy this tract of highly valuable land in the path of urban growth to protect the flight path and foraging grounds of Bracken’s bat colony were tough, exhausting, and seemingly (at times) impossible.  But walking through that gate onto now permanently protected land, made every moment worth it. It was a highly emotional moment for me. It may not be the funniest moment (that would be when I got a bald eagle stuck on my arm) ….but that’s for another time.

If you could have one incredible animal adaptation, what would it be?

To fly – of course!!! Who wouldn’t want to zoom around the atmosphere at 10,000 feet (like Mexican free-tailed bats, Tadarida brasiliensis) or navigate down streams zipping in and out of tree branches (like Tri-colored bats, Perimyotis subflavus). Bat-centric answer I know – but can’t help it.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in bat conservation?

Read, learn, help. Local involvement is so important. Your commitment and actions will speak for you. The concept of community based conservation works especially well for bats, since almost the entire globe has local bat populations (and everywhere bats need champions).

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