Well I am excited to introduce our guest blogger, Rob Mies, the Founder and Executive Director of Organization for Bat Conservation. He is an exciting and adventurous scientist, conservationist, TV personality and animal expert, whose passion is educating and entertaining people about the unique life on Earth. His energetic, charismatic and captivating personality explains why he travels the United States presenting to sold-out auditoriums. This author, researcher and founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation has appeared on many television shows with his furry and feathered friends including The Doctors, The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Fox & Friends, CBS Early Show and Martha Stewart. (Figure 1) Take it away, Rob!
The Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) is a national environmental-education nonprofit that specializes in teaching the public about bats and inspiring people to become actively involved in conservation.
At Cranbrook Institute of Science (Bloomfield Hills, MI), OBC operates the Bat Zone, a wildlife sanctuary with nearly 200 animals including bats from around the world and other nocturnal animals. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors of all ages come to the Bat Zone to attend tours and participate in live animal educational programs. The Bat Zone is one of the only places in the country where the public can see live bats and learn about bats from trained educators. In addition, OBC educators travel throughout the country presenting to over 100,000 students, children and adults at schools, festivals, museums and science and nature centers each year. (Figure 2)
In fall 2015, CIS will host the Bats: Heroes of the Night exhibit in the traveling exhibit hall. This exhibit, combined with the 14th Annual Great Lakes Bat Festival also held on Cranbrook grounds in September 2015, is expected to draw 5,000 thousand visitors.
In September 2014, OBC launched a new public action campaign called Save the Bats. Save the Bats is aimed at preventing the decline of this important and beloved animal in our ecosystem. Save the Bats grew out of public demand for specific ways for people to protect bats and the recognition that Americans need to be mobilized to prevent the extinction of these important animals. (Figure 3)
Save the Bats encourages people to take action in their own backyards and neighborhoods, including installing bat houses, planting wildlife gardens and teaching others about the importance of bats. Using multiple social media platforms, public relations and in-person educational events, Save the Bats is expected to have tremendous reach across the U.S.
In addition, OBC and Warner Brothers Entertainment worked together on the set of Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice (filmed in Pontiac and Detroit) to re-purpose parts of the set into bat houses. Director Zack Snyder contacted OBC when he heard about bats dying off from White-nose Syndrome and enlisted Rob Mies, OBC Executive Director, to assist in the bat house design and construction. (Figure 4) More than 150 bat houses have been made on the movie set in Pontiac, some of which were painted and signed by Zack, Amy Adams and Ben Affleck. The bat houses will be auctioned off to support the Save the Bats campaign. Warner brothers released an online video to support the cause: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Help Save the Bats.
About OBC and Our Animal Ambassadors
Founded in 1997, the Organization for Bat Conservation is the leading environmental educator focused on bats. OBC’s purpose is to educate and inspire people to actively save bats.
Most of OBC’s program animals come from other zoos and facilities due to overpopulation or injury. OBC’s enclosures are built for animals with special needs in mind and our caring staff ensures the comfort of these unique creatures. Because bats live such long lives and that we care for them daily, many of the animals become very familiar with keepers and educators. Over time, sometimes many years, our staff members develop relationships based on trust with the animals. These select few become wonderful wildlife ambassadors (Figure 5). In addition, since the Bat Zone houses the most diverse live bat collection in the United States, visiting researchers have the unique opportunity to study bat behavior up close.
OBC organizes and participates in many special “batty” events. The Annual Great Lakes Bat Festival, started in 2002, celebrates the unique role of bats in the Great Lakes ecosystem as insect eaters, while dispelling myths and misinformation that generate needless fears and threaten bats and their habitats around the world. The goal of the festival is to help people understand the impact to natural ecosystems and human economies should bat populations continue to decline. The festival features activities for children, families, educators and conservation professionals. Presentations, speakers, live animals, hands-on activities, games for kids and interactive exhibits provide fun and environmental education. Upon dusk, bat walks are lead in search of wild local bats in flight.
The Organization for Bat Conservation is dedicated to protecting bats and their habitats by collecting and dispersing funds to support White-nose Syndrome research, providing roosting alternatives and enhancing communication among researchers, agencies, environmental organizations and the general public. In addition to funding research, OBC is sponsoring, participating in and helping to organize local, state and regional information-sharing meetings, such as the Michigan Bat Working Group, Midwest Bat Working Group, www.mwbwg.org, and the North American Symposium on Bat Research, www.nasbr.org.
Wow, this is one dedicated group! I would like to thank Rob for sharing this information, and I hope that you are as inspired as I am. What a wonderful cause. If you would like to explore OBC a little more or want information about some of their festivals, please visit http://www.batconservation.org.
Check in again July 17 to learn about our one of our precious native ecosystems, prairies and remember to leave a comment, click Follow and Share us on Facebook.