ORAS February Meeting Features a Presentation on Bats by UGA Graduate Student

Please join ORAS for our monthly meeting where UGA PhD student Kristen Lear (Integrative Conservation program and Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources) will discuss the importance of bats at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 7th, at Sandy Creek Nature Center. See below for details.


There are over 1,300 species of bats in the world on every continent except Antarctica. They make up a quarter of all mammal species. In this talk, Kristen Lear will introduce the amazing world of bats around the globe and in our own backyards. She will share her experiences with bat conservation projects around the world, including researching the pest control services of bats in Texas pecan orchards, using thermal imaging cameras to study a critically endangered bat species in Australia, and studying the socio-ecological dynamics of endangered pollinating bats, agaves, and rural communities in Mexico. Georgia alone has 16 species of bats, and Lear will discuss the natural history of Georgia bats, where we can find bats in Athens, local conservation efforts, and how we can contribute to these efforts. Finally, participants will get to see some of the special equipment that bat researchers use in the field to study these unique animals, including night vision binoculars, infrared cameras, and acoustic detectors.


Lear attended Ohio Wesleyan University where she obtained her BA in Zoology in 2011. Following graduation, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the critically endangered Southern bent-wing bat in South Australia. She began her PhD in Integrative Conservation in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in 2014. Her dissertation, which combines approaches from the natural and social sciences, focuses on the conservation of an endangered pollinating bat through “bat-friendly” agave management in northeast Mexico.


The meeting will be held in the Nature Center’s Education and Visitor Center, 205 Old Commerce Road off U.S. Highway 441 north of Athens. To reach the center from the Loop 10 bypass, exit at U.S. Highway 441/Commerce Road and turn north toward Commerce. Go approximately a mile, turn left at the Sandy Creek Nature Center sign and go to the end of the road. Turn left at Old Commerce Road; parking for the Education and Visitor Center will be on the right.