The kids of the Bat Squad come from all over the country – Texas, Virginia, California, Oregon, Michigan, Tennessee and Indiana. Let’s get to know them!
Alexis is a lot like other girls in Gatlinburg, Tennessee – she likes going out with her friends, cheerleading and playing tennis. But when she isn’t with her friends she’s hanging out with a very different crowd. Known to her friends as “Batgirl” Alexis is a serious bat scientist.
Since the third grade Alexis has been helping local bat scientists with their research and conducting her own field studies. Her research focuses on the impacts of the deadly fungal disease called White-nose Syndrome on local bat species. She has won awards for her work in science fairs, and she helps to educate others about bats in presentations and at the bat booth at the Knoxville Zoo.
Alexis hopes to continue educating people about bats. She wishes that more people knew just how intelligent bats are and that they aren’t blind. Her favorite species is the common vampire bat, even though it is not found in Tennessee!
On his family’s farm in Lubbock, Texas, Calvin likes to raise chickens and learn about ancient Vikings. He may be only ten years old, but that doesn’t stop Calvin. He has already participated in a crowd-funding campaign for bat conservation and is doing his own science fair project on White-nose Syndrome.
Calvin first discovered his love of bats when he was only five-years-old while visiting Inner Space Cavern. Since then he’s learned more about bats, and has corresponded with scientists as he investigated whether WNS could possibly reach the bats in his home state of Texas. If other kids are interested in bats, Calvin encourages them to ask their teachers or even contact scientists with their questions. Even though he loves echolocation his favorite bats are flying foxes (most of which don’t use echolocation) and one day hopes help find a cure for WNS.
Camryn, from Willsonville Oregon, has an investigative mind. After learning about bats dying from collisions with wind turbines she wanted to know if anything could be done about it. Camryn researched wind turbine technology with help from a group of wind industry experts and scientists from Bat Conservation International (BCI).
Knowing that BCI scientists are developing acoustic deterrents to dissuade bats from coming close to turbines, Camryn experimented with a sonic device and acoustic analysis on smaller fans to see where an emitter would be most effective. Surprisingly, she found that devices produced the most consistent sound when mounted on a fan’s central nacelle rather than on its blades.
Not only did her project win her “best of show” in her category at the regional level, she was invited to present at the Oregon state science fair and selected as a semi-finalist in the national Broadcom MASTERS science competition. “The science fair helped spread my ideas, and it went pretty far,” Camryn said. “But anyone can start with a small idea about how they can get involved in helping bats.”
Eowyn, a Girl Scout from Dripping Springs, Texas, likes to play soccer and go horseback riding. She first got interested in bats through completing animal projects at school. She thought bats were amazing as they are the only mammals that can fly.
Eowyn and her fellow girl scouts travelled to Bracken Cave, the largest bat colony in the world with more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats roosting in the cave each summer. When she saw the bats stream out of the cave she said “I think that if kids could see this they would be in love with bats It’s an amazing sight. I’ve never seen anything like this. I probably will never have again.”
From the time he was five years old Oscar has loved bats. Fast forward to 2014, when as a 7th grader, his science teacher asked him if he’d be interested in joining Team Chiroptera. The new school club would be studying bats in and around Monterey Bay, California. Oscar’s answer, naturally, was yes.
Comprised of a core group of seven or eight kids that meet during lunch and after school, the team devises and conducts bat research projects with guidance from their teacher and a local bat ecologist. Their work ultimately brought them to the 2015 symposium of the North American Society for Bat Research, where they presented a poster on their most recent findings.
Oscar helped recruit new students into the club the following year, but now, as a new high school freshman, he’ll only be able to help out after school hours. It doesn’t seem to be slowing him down. Just this past July, he was out in the field with the other Team Chiroptera members, using bat detectors to find where bats liked to hang out the most around a local park. The sight of a group of kids and adults all staring up into the night sky attracted the interest of a random passer-by, who expressed surprised delight when informed they were looking for bats.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to go out and do real science,” Oscar said. “And you don’t always need fancy equipment—just genuine interest and determination. There just are some things you can’t learn in the classroom.”
Logan loves to teach other kids about bats both in his hometown of Muncie, Indiana and further afield! He has been helping his father, who is a bat biologist, teach kids about bats with their travelling “Be a Bat Biologist” exhibit. Logan says he has been into bats for as long as he can remember. When he talks to other kids he likes to tell them that bats aren’t scary and help people understand how cool field research is. While he still gets excited about echolocation, his favorite type of bat is the Rafinesque’s big-eared bat since they can hunt insects by sound alone.
Logan loves animals and when he leaves the bats behind in the woods to go home, Logan likes to take care of his two dogs, lizard, frog, turtles, and fish.
At just three years old, Madison was handed her very first bat to hold by her father, the founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation located in Detroit, Michigan. That one tiny bat was the start of something great, as Madison started working with bats and hasn’t stopped since.
Now 14, Madison loves to play softball and volunteer, but she has never stopped loving bats. Together with her dad, Madison travels to different libraries, schools, and museums to tell others about how amazing bats are. She even works at bat festivals where she helps others understand just how unique and interesting bats can be. Recently Madison gave a TEDx talk at her school in Lake Orion Michigan where she promoted bats conservation and kids taking action.
For Madison, bats aren’t anything to fear. In fact, she thinks that most of them are pretty cute! She wishes that she could tell more people around the world not to fear bats and explain how important they are. Different sizes, colors, and shapes, Madison loves all kinds of bats. While the bumblebee bat is her favorite, she has worked with vampire bats and even visited Costa Rica where she got to see the bats of the rainforest.
Go online to check the Baturday news and you will meet the next member of the Bat Squad! A fourteen-year-old from Fairfax Virginia, Rachael likes to read, draw, and go kayaking as well as tell everyone she can about her favorite animal- bats! For the past few years Rachael has been working with the Save Lucy Campaign to help injured and abandoned bats. Her favorite species is the tri-colored bat, but all kinds of different species come to Save Lucy for some help getting back on their way to the wild.
Even though Rachael doesn’t get to work with the bats herself, she does have a very important job. By writing a bat blog called the Baturday News, Rachael raises awareness about endangered bats, as well as teaching people about the importance of bat species around the world. She also works with other Girl Scouts to change public notions about bats. She even earned her Silver Award through a bat project.
“If other kids want to help protect bats they don’t have to go far,” said Rachael. ”You can try to contact a bat rescue near you or just turn off the porch light at night.”