Third annual Indiana Bat Festival to take place at ISU on Sept. 19

September 9, 2009

The third annual Indiana Bat Festival will be held at Indiana State University Sept. 19.

This festival educates students and the surrounding community about the research and conservation of bats. Discussions and demonstrations by leading bat experts will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. in ISU's Science Building. There will also be live bat and predator bird programs, which include several bat species as well as children's activities including an inflatable bat cave.

"This festival is important to educate people about bats and help stop the endangerment of some species," said John Whitaker Jr., director of the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation.

There are two federally endangered species of bats in North America, he said.

Whitaker, who has studied bats around 50 years, added "Bat emphasis has increased since I started my research."

Speakers during the event include: Whitaker, Allen Kurta with Eastern Michigan University; Tim Carter with Ball State University; Rob Mies with the Organization for Bat Conservation; Lynn Robbins with Missouri State University; and Laura Hohman with the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation at ISU.

A new event at the Bat Festival will be a Project Underground educators' workshop focusing on bat habitats, especially caves.

This workshop will be presented by Kriste Lindberg, Don Ingle and Bob Vandeventer of the Indiana Karst Conservancy. The cost of this workshop is $20 and has limited space available so participants must pre-register.

There will be a variety of bat merchandise for sale including "Bats of Missouri," which is part of the ISU Bat Center book series.

At 6 p.m. there will be a barbecue at Dobbs Park, costing $6 per person. After the barbecue, a Bat Science Night will start approximately 8 p.m. Bat Science Night demonstrates live bats in the field to watch feeding and hear echolocation calls.A hike in Dobbs Park before dark will show where bats live and where they can be seen at dusk.

"We have a bat detector that will allow us to hear the bats when they come out at dark," Whitaker said.

About 1,000 people attend the bat festival and Whitaker and his colleagues hope to increase that number this year.

For additional information, visit http://www.indstate.edu/biology/centers/batfestival.htm. To register for Project Underground, please contact Laura Hohman at lhohman@indstate.edu or 812-824-3210.

Contact: John Whitaker, Indiana State University, director of the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation, at 812-237-2383 or jwhitaker3@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Bailee Souder, Indiana State University, media relations intern, at 812-237-3773 or bsouder1@indstate.edu