Boosting Education with Tablets
Thousands of people visit Bracken Cave and Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the bats each year. That’s a great opportunity to spread the word about bats and Bat Conservation International and to build support for our efforts. BCI staff members and volunteers are usually on hand to answer questions and explain the benefits of bats. We hope to improve the content and impact of that important outreach by equipping our educators with portable tablet computers. These could display everything from dramatic close-up photos of Mexican free-tailed bat mothers and pups to videos that show the bats’ evening emergences and their appearance on Doppler radar. BCI hopes to provide educators with four ASUS 10.1-inch tablet computers at a cost of $1,072 ($268 each).
Basic Bat Gear for Africa
Three representatives of the year-old Bat Conservation Africa (BCA) network visited BCI’s offices recently and discussed their plans for the future. Several things became abundantly clear: African bats face grave threats; the continent is blessed with some remarkably dedicated bat scientists and conservationists; and most of Africa lacks even the most basic field equipment for bat research. Such essentials as leather gloves, headlamps, nets, poles and bat detectors are scarce. Even a modest set of equipment could allow such urgently needed projects as impact assessments before wind turbines are built, surveys to assess the status of threatened bat species and training to enhance local capacity. BCA consists of six regions, and $3,300 per region could provide a basic set of equipment that would be shared by the network’s members.
A Bat Center for Bangladesh
Nurul Islam, a tireless champion of bats in Bangladesh who won a 2012 BCIConservation Impact Award, recently helped conduct the country’s first bat workshop (see page 18). Now he and his colleagues hope to build on that training by establishing an unprecedented bat laboratory at Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences Laboratory to centralize resources and encourage bat research and conservation throughout the country. Among other goals, he plans to begin building a bat-call database for the 33 bat species of Bangladesh. The first step is obtaining a professional Pettersson D240x bat detector and a high-resolution recorder. For these essentials, he requests a Global Grassroots Conservation Fund grant of $1,449.