Andrew Foulk

Our Bat Walks Program provides interactive and in-person bat experiences in local communities nationwide to better educate the public on bats. We are developing a network of volunteers, “BCI Bat Walk Ambassadors,” to lead nature walks where they identify local bat species using technology and provide educational information about the importance of bats and threats to their survival.

 

We are no longer accepting Bat Walks Program applicants for 2023, but please check back soon for updates.

Objectives

Develop
a network of trained volunteers who will provide interactive bat encounters by providing nature walks where participants can listen to ultrasonic calls of bats
Develop
tools with zoos and nature center partners using best practices, knowledge, and technology

Project Details

In the past few years, bat detectors, which plug in to a smart phone and are app-enabled, have become cost competitive with a pair of binoculars. We commit to sparking a nationwide movement toward a new kind of nature experience, at sunset instead of sunrise, by taking advantage of emerging bat detector technology and launching a nationwide bat walks program.

In 2019, we began the pilot phase of a bat walks program. Through this initiative, we will develop a network of trained volunteers who will provide interactive and in-person bat encounters. Based on existing bat walks programs in Europe and New York’s Central Park, our program will offer highly effective, experiential ways to relay to participants the importance of bats and the many threats to their survival during intermittent stops along a walking route. Through physical participation, people will retain the information they learn through shared experience and then have an opportunity to teach others.

In the pilot phase, we will partner with zoos and nature centers to access a trained network of volunteers and an existing community of nature lovers predisposed to seek out wildlife experiences. These expert partners will provide the opportunity to jointly develop materials using best practices, knowledge, and technology.

Our pilot program will begin in Texas, which is home to 32 species of bats — more than any other state in America. Bats can be found across the entire state, including in metropolitan areas and at many popular tourist destinations. In Florida, our bat walks pilot will be targeted to support our Florida bonneted bat conservation work, through a combination of community outreach and surveillance. In 2019 and 2020, initial trainings were hosted in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Miami. Our first official partner in this effort is the Houston Zoo, who will assist in developing this program in a novel way. They are a leader in effective community engagement and developing conservation messages that resonate, which will be instrumental in piloting a nationwide program.

Andrew Foulk

Host Partners

Partner organizations offering Bat Walks:

ARIZONA

  • Arizona Bat Rescue
  • Borderlands Restoration Network
  • Kartchner Caverns State Park
  • Maricopa County Master Naturalists
  • Pima County Master Naturalists

 

CALIFORNIA (southern)

  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • High Tech High – Chula Vista
  • High Tech High – Main Campus
  • Living Coast Discovery Center
  • Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
  • Mission Trails Regional Park – City of San Diego
  • Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation
  • Nature Collective
  • San Diego Audubon Society
  • San Diego Canyonlands
  • San Diego Human Society/Project Wildlife
  • San Diego Miramar College
  • San Diego Museum of Natural History
  • San Diego National Wildlife Refuge
  • San Diego Native Plant Society
  • San Diego River Park Foundation
  • San Diego Unified School District – Garfield High School
  • San Diego Unified School District – Mount Everest Academy
  • Tijuana National Estuarine Research Reserve

CALIFORNIA (northern)

  • Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR
  • Saved by Nature
  • Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

COLORADO

  • Audubon Rockies
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Powerhouse Science Center
  • Southern Ute Wildlife Division
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Weminuche Audubon

 

FLORIDA

  • Deering Estate at Cutler
  • Everglades National Park
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
  • Florida Power and Light
  • Miami-Dade County Nature Centers and EcoAdventures
  • Miami-Dade County Schools BioTech
  • Patch of Heaven Sanctuary
  • Tropical Audubon
  • Zoo Miami

 

MARYLAND

  • Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks
  • Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Baltimore Public Schools
  • Baltimore County Conflict Resolution Center
  • Maryland DNR – Wildlife and Heritage Service
  • Patapsco Valley State Park
  • Rocks State Park
  • Watkins Nature Center
  • William S. Schmidt Center
  • Williamsport High School
  • Winters Wild World LLC

 

MICHIGAN

  • Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center

 

NEW YORK

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County
  • Indian Creek Nature Center
  • Minna Anthony Common Nature Center
  • Nature Up North
  • Nicandri Nature Center
  • Riveredge Environmental Inc.
  • Lawrence County Environmental Management Council
  • Lawrence County Soil and Water District
  • The Wild Center
  • Woodstock Public Library

 

OREGON

  • Loon Lake
  • Metro Regional Government
  • Portland Audubon
  • Rose City Astronomers

 

TEXAS

  • (USFS) Mount Hood Ranger Station
  • A Rocha
  • Aggie Grotto
  • Armand Bayou Nature Center
  • Austin Families in Nature
  • Austin Nature and Science Center
  • Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bastrop and Buescher State Parks
  • Bastrop State Park
  • Boys & Girls Club of El Paso
  • Bracken Volunteer
  • Cameron Park Zoo
  • Capital Area Master Naturalists
  • Center for Environmental Resource Management, The University of Texas at El Paso
  • Cibolo Nature Center
  • City of Austin Park Rangers
  • City of Austin Park Rangers
  • City of Austin Watershed Protection Dept
  • City of Austin Wildlands Conservation Division
  • City of Dripping Springs
  • City of San Antonio; Parks and Recreation Deptartment
  • CoEx
  • Colorado Bend State Park
  • Dallas Arboretum
  • Dallas Zoo
  • El Paso Audubon
  • El Paso Zoo
  • Enchanted Rock SP
  • Frank Buck Zoo
  • Garner State Park
  • Goodwater Master Naturalists
  • Guadalupe River State Park
  • Harris County Precinct 4
  • Hays County Master Naturalists
  • Hill Country Master Naturalists
  • Hill Country State Natural Area
  • Houston Area Bat Team
  • Houston Parks and Recreation Department
  • Houston Zoo
  • John Bunker Sands Wetland Center
  • Keystone Heritage Park
  • Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area
  • Lick Creek Park
  • Lindheimer Chapter of the Master Naturalists
  • Lost Maples State Natural Area
  • McKinney Falls SP/TPWD
  • Meadows Center in San Marcos
  • Nature Discovery Center
  • North Texas Master Naturalists
  • River Legacy
  • Riverside Nature Center
  • San Antonio Botanical Gardens
  • San Antonio Zoo
  • San Marcos Discovery Center
  • Shield Ranch/El Ranchito
  • Texas Discovery Gardens
  • Texas Master Naturalist / Trans-Pecos Chapter
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – Franklin Mountains SP
  • Texas Tech Outdoor School
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • TPWD
  • Trans Pecos Audubon
  • Travis County Balcones Canyonlands Preserve
  • Travis County Parks
  • Wild Basin
  • Wildflower Center

 

Wyoming

  • University of Wyoming – Biodiversity Institute