Saturday, May 8, 2010

"The Bat Doctor" delivers a Bat Talk to Virden 2nd graders on 2-18-10

On Thursday February18, 2010, I had the opportunity to teach more than 80 Virden Elementary School students about bats. A Doctor of Chiropractic from Virden, IL, I've been an active member of Bat Conservation International (BCI) for nearly 20 years.

I also became a member of Toastmasters International in 1994 and am currently a member of the Montgomery County Toastmasters Club. Toastmasters has taught me how to funnel my passion for helping to save and protect the world’s only flying mammals into exciting presentations.

I educated Virden 2nd graders with my owepoint slide presentation called “Vampires, Fruit Bats & Insect-Eating Machines!”.   I've compiled a set of over 200 slides that I use my bat programs. The majority of the photos are now from my own vounteer work with bats over the past two decades, while some slides are from BCI founder Dr. Merlin Tuttle, who I consider to be my ‘bat photography’ mentor.

The kids really loved the bat slides.  The slide of the California leaf-nosed bat which the kids affectionately referred to as ‘Mr. Rabbit Ears’, and the photos of Lucy, an orphaned red bat pup elicited the most ‘ooh’s’ and ‘ah’s’ from the audience. The kids also thought the pictures of two female Big Brown bats hanging together were adorable.

While I enjoy speaking to audiences of all ages, children are our planet’s future ambassadors. A little bit of education at an early age can go a long way toward changing preconceived negative attitudes about these extremely important and highly beneficial flying mammals.

I also left bat rings, bat tattoos as well as Bat Fact Cards for the 2nd graders.

Photo caption: Dr. Austin taught 81 Virden 2nd grade students about bats on 2-18-10.

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