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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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lone star bats, pt. 2

As I mentioned before, Austin is home to Bat Conservation International. In the course of reserving a place at the Bracken Cave members' night (more on that in a later post), I'd happened to mention that we would be in Austin for several days, and my contact said we were welcome to drop in. So we did.

They actually seemed a little surprised to see us, but were very gracious and hospitable. Lisa, one of their development people, very kindly volunteered to show us around and introduce us to people (those who weren't out at lunch; timing is everything). The people at BCI are competent, committed, and rational people, with a strong sense of purpose; but they all laugh a lot and seem to love their jobs.

We told everyone how much we appreciated their work, and got to see the vault where Dr. Tuttle stores his photo collection, amongst other things. We had a fascinating conversation with one of their scientists who's investigating the rather distressing phenomenon of bat fatalities due to wind power, and got to see the aerial photo of the new Bracken Cave reserve that BCI and the NRDC have bought. The researcher who keeps a "rehab colony" of injured bats wasn't there, alas- she often brings some of her charges in. But that was the only disappointment.

Then… cue the drum roll… we actually got to meet Merlin Tuttle! He's one of my personal heroes- prime example of how one passionate and committed man can make the world a better place... he and BCI have changed the world's view of bats radically in the last few decades, making it clear how vitally important (not to mention how harmless and in many cases attractive*) they are. His stunning photographs have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many other publications, and have appeared on a special 2002 US Postage stamp series. He's done award-winning research and conservation work all over the world.

Even though he was dealing with a massive sleep deficit (he'd just returned from a research trip to Arizona, and had naturally been up at all hours during it), he took time out of his busy day to talk with us and show us some brand-new pictures (of California Myotis bats drinking from cattle troughs). Like everyone else, he was happy to see us, and thanked us most sincerely for our support.

BCI is a shining exemplar of Margaret Mead's saying, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." I'm very proud to be a member.

Pictures from our visit…

* of course, monsteralice and I think they're all cute, although they range from "downright adorable" to "intriguingly grotesque"…</lj>

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I finally got a chance to sit down and look at your pictures. Wow.

Any more going up? Looks like you two had a blast.

I finally got a chance to sit down and look at your pictures. Wow.


Any more going up?

Oh, yes. Some of the best is yet to come...

Looks like you two had a blast

We did indeed!

Merlin Tuttle! Wow that is an honor! I'd love to meet him. BCI is quite the phenomenon, every one involved seems especially passionate about our winged furry friends.

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