Jessica Woodend, (pictured above, top left) an educator in Chewonki’s Traveling Natural History Program, is attuned and interested in all wild animals, but she has a special passion for bats. For the July/August issue of Legacy, a magazine for professional interpreters from all fields, from science centers to museums to cultural sites, she indulged her passion by writing about the importance of involving audiences directly in bat research and conservation efforts.
The article was part of Legacy’s special issue on communicating science, which Woodend sees as an essential responsibility for wildlife educators. She describes how during in her presentations of Chewonki’s “Bats of the World” program, she tries to engage audience members in learning about an animal that is often misunderstood and maligned. By teaching people about the unique attributes of bats and the fungus that is rapidly decimating them (white nose syndrome), Woodend hopes to create not only bat admirers but also advocates for bat conservation.
“Currently, there is a lot happening in the world of bat research, but…the general public isn’t hearing much about it…how can we get them involved?” she asks in the article. She then sets out some answers.