Fourth annual Indiana Bat Festival set for Sept. 18 at ISU

August 30, 2010

The fourth annual Indiana Bat Festival will be Sept. 18 at Indiana State University from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. followed by a barbecue and bat science night at Dobbs Park.

This event, hosted by the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation at Indiana State University, is designed to bring public awareness to the benefits of bats.

"They eat lots and lots of agricultural pests and help us to preserve the balance of nature as far as nocturnal insects go," said John Whitaker, Jr., director of the bat center.

The event, taking place in the Science Building on ISU's campus, will include speakers, display tables as well as live bats and raptors. An auction of bat goods will be held at 12:30 p.m. The activities at Indiana State are free and open to the public.

This year there will be a Bat Art Contest with cash prizes. Participants should limit their work to bats only to promote bats and bat awareness. Art pieces should be no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches to accommodate printing. The entry fee is $10. The first place winner will receive $100, second place $50 and third place $20. All entries must be submitted to the bat center by Sept. 15. The winner's piece of art could appear on a T-shirt, print or other item for sale at the Bat Festival.

Speakers for the event include Whitaker, Rob Mies of the Organization for Bat Conservation and Tim Carter of Ball State University. Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also be present to provide activities and information.

Whitaker will be speaking about white nose syndrome, a disease of unknown origin that began destroying bat colonies in the northeast and is spreading.

"We are hoping it won't get to Indiana, but it probably will," Whitaker said.

"Bats of Ohio," a newly published book in the ISU Bat Center book series, will be on sale at the festival, as well as "Bats of Missouri," "Bats of Indiana," "Bats of Michigan" and other bat merchandise.

Bat Science Night at Dobbs Park, taking place from 8 to 10 p.m., will give participants the opportunity to see live bats flying around in a natural habitat and hear echolocation calls through the use of audio equipment.

For more information about the Bat Festival, visit: http://www.indstate.edu/biology/centers/batfestival.htm. To sponsor the event or donate to the Bat Center, contact Whitaker at john.whitaker@indstate.edu or Brianne Walters at brianne.walters@indstate.edu.

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

Brianne Walters, assistant director of the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation at Indiana State University, 812-237-2383 or brianne.walters@indstate.edu

Writer: Lana Schrock, media relations assistant, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or lschrock1@indstate.edu