Tenth Anniversary of the NASBR Teacher's
In 1996, at the 26th Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research (NASBR) in Bloomington, Illinois, the society held its first teacher's workshop, beginning a tradition of outreach at our annual meeting. The society has now embraced this event as a community service for the city where NASBR meets, and over the past 10 years, hundreds of local educators have been introduced to state/regional bats and their ecology, behavior, and conservation needs. Donations provided by sponsors of these workshops have allowed participants to return to their community not only with an increased knowledge of bats but also with a substantial number of educational tools, such as books, posters, curricula, and videos.
At the recent 35th Annual NASBR in Sacramento, our presenters once again generously took time away from their participation in the scientific aspects of NASBR to help educate the public. [To view the PDF of the Workshop Schedule, please click here. Adobe Acrobat is required to view this schedule.] Patricia Brown-Berry (University of California, Los Angeles, and Brown-Berry Consulting) provided an introduction to the bats of California, and Stephanie Remington (California bat expert and educator) followed up with an exercise on bat identification that used a key and a collection of study skins provided by NASBR local host, Winston Lancaster. Stephen Burnett (Clayton State University) made a fascinating presentation on teaching bat echolocation, and Rob Mies (Organization for Bat Conservation) helped educators learn how to motivate an audience about bats and bat conservation. Finally, two California educators and rehabilitators -- Dharma Webber (California Native Bat Conservancy) and Patricia Winters (Wings in the Night Education Programs) -- brought out live bats and used them to build on information presented by other speakers (anatomy, behavior, echolocation, etc.). This was easier said than done due to very strict permitting and demonstration requirements dictated by California law. In addition to our presenters, two other people must be acknowledged. Robin Whittall (Sacramento Zoo) was the local liaison for the workshop, helping to promote the workshop and managing the registration process, and Margaret Griffiths (Illinois Wesleyan University) arranged all logistics at the hotel (meeting room, audio-visual equipment, and refreshments).
The annual workshop cannot be done without the many generous sponsors, many of whom have been supporters for the full 10 years! I thank the following organizations for helping to make the teacher's workshop at Sacramento a success, as well as a permanent part of the annual meeting: Bat Conservation International, Bat Research News, California Native Bat Conservancy, Lubee Bat Conservancy, NASBR, Organization for Bat Conservation, Speleobooks, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
This year's workshop in Sacramento was certainly one of the best and was filled to overflowing during the six hours of presentations. I hope that those readers who plan to attend the 2006 NASBR meeting will stop by and visit the Saturday workshop so that they may become acquainted with NASBR's effort to inform and engage local educators.