Ikes in Action: Chapter Goes Batty for Family-Friendly Fun

Bat Night at Loudon County Chapter

Virginia >> Last year was a "banner year for conservation education and action" at the Loudoun County Chapter, reports chapter pond chairman Paul Kreingold. Members created a Monarch butterfly garden, hosted regular bird walks through the chapter’s 88-acre property, refurbished blue bird houses (with new ones on the way), and continued Save Our Streams water quality monitoring. "The most exciting and well-attended event," says Kreingold, was the chapter’s Bat Night in July, which was sponsored by the Pond Committee.

Bat Night kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Susanne Sterbing-D’Angelo, a chapter member who is also an assistant research professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and a world-renowned authority on bats. She talked with the 65 attendees of all ages about various types of bats, their habitats and feeding habits, and the current dangers they face, including "white-nose syndrome."

After the presentation, the group walked down to the chapter pond at sunset, "when bats are most active," Kreingold says. "Armed with bat detectors provided by Dr. Sterbing-D’Angelo, we watched and listened as these fascinating creatures soared through the darkening sky and skimmed the pond for insects."

So many people enjoyed the event that the chapter asked Dr. Sterbing-D’Angelo whether she could offer a more technical follow-up lecture. "She was generous enough to provide that lecture late in September," reports Kreingold. "Fifteen members and guests attended Bat Night II, which featured videos of experiments conducted at Johns Hopkins on bat bio-sonar, vision, infrared, and tactile sensing. These experiments have all kinds of implications for future developments in airline safety and navigation."

Overall, Bat Night was such a rousing success that the chapter’s Pond Committee decided to make it an annual summer event open to members and the general public. "If you are in the northern Virginia area in July," encourages Kreingold, "check our website for the time and date of Bat Night 2017!"