Volume 38
Issue 2
115923 56
BCI Bat Ambassador graduates from Houston, Texas.

Join us for a new kind of nature experienceenjoy bat watching in your own community

In 2019, we are piloting a program of public bat walks led by trained BCI Ambassadors. Our goal is to create a program that offers highly effective, experiential ways to relay the importance of bats and conservation stories to participants.

Through this pilot initiative, BCI is developing a network of trained volunteers who will provide interactive and in-person bat encounters in cities across Texas and Florida. If this program is well received, we will broaden it nationwide.

BCI will partner in the initial phase with zoos and nature centers to access a trained network of staff, volunteers and an existing community of nature lovers who are predisposed to seek out wildlife experiences. BCI will provide the necessary tools and materials, such as bat detectors, to our expert partners. These devices plug into a smartphone and are app-enabled, providing a hands-on experience to the public to visualize the secretive world of echolocation. We are thrilled about the emerging bat detector technology that enables everyone to experience batsright in their own communities.

In Texas, there are 32 species of bats, more than any other state in the United States. Bats can be found across the entire state of Texas, including in metropolitan areas and at many popular tourist destinations.

In Florida, our initiative will support our Florida bonneted bat conservation work through a combination of community outreach and surveillance. In April, we held our first three training sessions at the Houston Zoo, San Antonio Zoo and Dallas Zoo. Later this year, we will train BCI Ambassadors in Austin and Miami. Our first official partner in this effort is the Houston Zoo, which is helping us develop this program in a novel way through its direct experience in effective community engagement and developing conservation messages that resonateboth of which will be instrumental in piloting a nationwide program.

Keep an eye out for a bat walk near you this summer hosted by one of our community partners in the pilot program cities!