Ann loves to bring the joy and wonder of bats to communities everywhere. As a Public Affairs Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ann has travelled the country
Name: Ann Froschauer
Title: Public Affairs Supervisor
Organization: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State Fish and Wildlife Office
What is your focus in bat conservation?
My main focus in bat conservation has been outreach and education. Whether as part of my work as a communications specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or as a volunteer through working with outreach and education organizations like the Save Lucy Campaign, I am really passionate about sharing my love for the coolest mammals on Earth.
In addition to my outreach and education work, I participate in field surveillance and monitoring and other bat research as a field technician when I can. I also am working toward becoming a bat rehabilitator. I spend a lot of my free time working with bats and bat outreach and education.
Who is your female conservation hero?
I have so many, it’s hard to say! But when it comes to bats in particular, I think I’ve learned the most about bat research and field work from Joy O’Keefe at Indiana State University and Winifred Frick (pictured) at University of California Santa Cruz. Both have been exceptionally welcoming to having me in the field and giving me an opportunity to learn about a lot of different species and research techniques. Leslie Sturges from the Save Lucy Campaign is so inspiring when it comes to outreach and education. I’ve loved having the chance to work with Leslie and show kids live education bats up close and personal, it makes a huge difference!
What is your most exciting moment in your conservation career?
I think one of the most exciting things was working with my friend and colleague, Winifred Frick, in Baja, Mexico. There is a cave in a cemetery with a particularly gnarly long belly crawl complete with thousands of cockroaches fleeing your advancing light. The roaches were clambering all over each other to get away from me- like a scene from Indiana Jones. It was a hot day and a warm cave, and I was sweating up a storm in the Tyvek with roaches all over and around me. I was definitely pretty grossed out and tempted to stop at a few points, but once I got to the end of the crawl and the room opened up, I was greeted by a colony of extremely pregnant Leptonycteris. They were so beautiful and graceful, even with their huge bellies. I quickly backed out through the dreaded cockroach crawl, but getting to see so many pregnant, healthy lesser long-nosed bats was a treat- these bats are federally listed endangered in the U.S.
What is the most amazing thing you have leant about bats?
There are so many amazing things, I could write a book! One of the things that fascinates me most is the evolutionary “arms race” between bats and moths. Moths are constantly changing tactics for detecting and jamming echolocation calls or evading capture, and bats keep pace by employing other techniques- like some big-eared bats species using their hearing instead of echolocation- to find a meal.
What’s your favorite species and why?
Any of the big-eared bats get me excited. I may have first fallen in love with big-eared bats doing cave surveys when I saw my first roosting Rafinesque’s big-eared bat. The way they curl their ears up and tuck them under their wings is really cute- but also helps them conserve heat and stay hydrated. As soon as they hear you, they pop one of those ears out and swivel it around following your every move!
Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in bat conservation?
Get connected with bat conservation organizations in your area, and find out what you can do to help! Volunteer at an event to talk to people about bats, or find out how you can get involved in citizen science projects like counting bat emergences or doing acoustic monitoring in your state. I find the bat community to be really open to getting people involved, and we all love to share our knowledge and love for bats. There’s so much more to learn, it is really important that we help build the community of bat researchers and educators.