For the NASBR: Conference Logo by Sylvie Bouchard. Copyright 2000 by the artist.

Report on the
31st Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research

Margaret A. Griffiths, Associate Program Director, NASBR

The 31st annual North American Symposium on Bat Research met at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada from October 24-27, 2001. Mark Brigham was the conference host, assisted by Anne Brigham and Laura Friis, the Local Committee.  Initially after the tragic events of September 11th, Program Director Tom Griffiths and I were uncertain whether people would be able (and willing) to travel to Victoria for the 31st NASBR, and thus we wondered "Would the 31st NASBR really happen?"  Multiple registration and paper cancellations occurred during the first weeks after the terrorism attacks, and very few new registrations were submitted during that time.  But as it turned out, the 31st Annual NASBR did take place, and it was the largest non-international meeting of the Society to date!  There were 281 registered participants, not counting the educators who attended the special Bat Education Workshop on Saturday morning.  Almost 31% of the participants this year were students (87 students), and over 3% of the participants came from countries outside of North America (Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and American Samoa).  While the majority of the participants this year came from the United States (75.5%), 19.5% of the participants were from Canada and 2% were from Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Tom, the Board of Directors, and I were pleased to announce at the meeting in Victoria that the NASBR is now recognized by the U. S. Federal government as an official 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit scientific organization.  The granting of this status means that the society does not have to pay U. S. federal and state income taxes and most excise taxes, and this designation will remain with the NASBR as long as the society continues to operate in the same way that it has operated for the past five years.  It also means that when donations are accepted from individuals, those individuals may now more easily deduct those contributions on their U. S. tax forms, and the Koopman Fund can now be invested and can earn interest without the society having to pay taxes on that interest.  All of the original documentation resides with the Program Director, but copies of all records and documentation regarding this and the tax returns have been given to the Treasurer of the NASBR (Trish Freeman for 2000-2001, and Nancy Simmons for 2001-2002).  A financial report for the NASBR is given in the final number of Bat Research News for the year 2000.  Please read that report for information about the financial status of the society.  In Victoria, Tom gave a formal report to all members of the Board of Directors, and Board members also received copies of the society's financial report.  Please contact any member of the Board with questions regarding the society's financial report and/or constitution.

One hundred and twenty-five scientific papers were presented at the Victoria meeting, not counting the special presentations for teachers made during the Saturday morning workshop.  Ninety-one were platform presentations and thirty-four of these were poster presentations.  Because of the number of papers submitted for the meeting this year, concurrent sessions were held on the second and third days of the meeting.  Not only was this the largest non-international NASBR meeting, but it was also the first to have concurrent sessions for two full days.  The beautiful and historic Empress Hotel was the site of the opening night Reception, as well as the hotel which provided room accommodations for many of the meetingís participants.  The site for the meeting, the bat biologists who participated in it, and the number and quality of papers presented at the 31st NASBR all made this a very memorable meeting.

Once again this year, graduate and undergraduate student participants were invited to enter their platform papers and poster presentations in a competition which judged their merits.  This year more than forty students initially submitted papers for the student platform competition, many more than could be accommodated in the allotted time for the first day of the meeting!  Therefore, the Program Director, Chair of the Board of Directors, and Local Host had to decide how to handle the number of student papers received for competition given the total time available for the Student Competition Session on Thursday.  The decision was made to fill the available time slots on Thursday with the student papers, in the order in which the student papers were received, until those slots were completely filled.  Thus twenty-four papers were presented in the Student Competition Session, which filled the entire first day of the meeting.  The remaining eighteen student platform papers were presented early on Friday in concurrent sessions, but were not judged in the competition.  A special committee headed by Roy Horst judged twenty-four student platform papers and nineteen student posters.  Four cash prizes of $250 USD each were awarded at the Friday evening banquet.  Cori Lausen of the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada won the Bat Conservation International prize; Craig Willis of the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada won the Bat Research News prize; Brent Sewall of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN won the Lubee Foundation prize; and Richard Sherwin of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM won the Karl F. Koopman prize.  The special SPELEOBOOKS merchandise prize was awarded to Adrian Tejedor of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY for the best poster.  Generous monetary donations from Bat Conservation International, from Roy Horst at Bat Research News, Roger Haagenson and John Seyjagat of The Lubee Foundation, and Emily Davis and Michael Warner of SPELEOBOOKS made four of the prizes possible.  Donations from a number of individuals made the Karl F. Koopman Prize possible.

The Friday evening banquet was another memorable event at the meeting.  The local host, Mark Brigham, arranged for the banquet to be held at the Crystal Garden Conservation Centre in Victoria.  All banquet attendees had access to the Garden and the animals there.  In addition to presentation of the student awards, another highlight of the banquet was the presentation of the Gerrit S. Miller, Jr. Award to Patricia ("Trish") W. Freeman of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.  The Gerrit Miller Award is presented to persons "In recognition of outstanding service and contribution to the field of chiropteran biology,"  and is the North American Symposium on Bat Research's highest honor.  Trish joins a small group  of distinguished individuals who have received this prestigious award, and becomes the first woman to win this award.  The Crystal Garden was a wonderful setting for the banquet and the presentation of these awards, and we all thank Mark for his choice of this unique place.

Although unable to attend this year, Pat Morton of Texas Parks and Wildlife once again organized a special bat education workshop on Saturday morning of the conference.  Her co-organizers this year were Cullen Geiselman of Bat Conservation International, and the Local Committee, Kerrie Post and Laura Friis of the Stn. Provincial Government in Victoria, BC.  While Patís presence at the workshop was sorely missed, Cullen and Laura did an outstanding job of running the workshop on Saturday morning, and along with Pat and Kerrie, helped to make it a success.  The workshop was well attended by Victoria-area teachers, conservation workers, and other local persons interested in the conservation of bats.  This was the sixth year in a row that Pat has organized this workshop in conjunction with the NASBR.  We thank Pat, Cullen, Laura, and Kerrie for their efforts which made the workshop possible, and also Bat Conservation International, the Lubee Foundation, and Bat Research News for their generous donations to help support the workshop.  Finally, let me extend Tom's and my special thanks to Mark and Anne Brigham, to the members of the Board of Directors 2000-2001 (Hector Arita, Robert Barclay, Ted Fleming, Trish Freeman, Tom Kunz, Gary McCracken, and Nancy Simmons), and to Roy Horst for all the hard work they did to make this meeting a success.

Reprinted with permission and approved editorial changes from Bat Research News, vol. 42(4): 190-191, 2001.

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