Volume 10
Issue 2

BCI and Texas A&M University Form a Conservation, research, and education partnership…

MAJOR GRANTS WERE JOINTLY made by the Sid W. Richardson and Bass Foundations in support of the new International Bat Research and Education Center. The three-million dollar tiered challenge grant will ultimately raise nearly half of the total $15 million in funds needed.

Development of the center is the result of a collaboration between Bat Conservation International and Texas A&M University [BATS, Spring 1992]. This unique partnership will utilize the resources and talents of both organizations to accomplish what neither could alone. Working together, BCI, university scientists, and students will be able to design applied projects to solve serious bat conservation, management, and education problems.

The center’s approach to conservation education will be innovative, and uniting a diversity of disciplines will hasten the pace of scientific discovery and ensure its practical application. Education programs will meet a critical need by producing well-trained conservation biologists who appreciate the complexity of economic factors and human dimensions that are involved with wise resource use.

Bats are by far the world’s least-studied mammals, and research of applied value in solving real ecological or economic problems has thus far been rare. Lack of knowledge is a serious impediment to understanding the vital roles of bats and to planning management and conservation initiatives. The International Bat Research and Education Center will fill this essential niche. It will be the first of its kind and is an essential element in planning, not only for the future of bats–one of the world’s most diverse and important groups of mammals–but also for the development of sustainable use and conservation plans for tropical forests worldwide.

The center will be developed in three phases. Endowing two faculty chairs is the first step, followed by endowed graduate scholarships and fellowships, undergraduate internships, and special programs to support the participation of postdoctoral students, visiting scholars, and conservationists in research and educational projects. Construction of a research facility for specialized studies at the A&M campus in College Station, Texas is the final goal.

It will be jointly headed by BCI founder Dr. Merlin Tuttle and Dr. David Schmidly, a professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M. Tuttle will also retain his position as executive director of BCI and continue to lead the organization.

This project is a top priority both for BCI and for A&M’s Department of Fisheries and Sciences. For information on how to make a contribution toward the capital campaign to fund the International Bat Research and Education Center, please contact Cindy Lind at BCI, 512-327-9721.

The new International Bat Research and Education Center will facilitate urgently needed research and help solve conservation problems for bats worldwide.

Above: The new International Bat Research and Education Center will facilitate urgently needed researchand help solve conservation problems for bats worldwide.