For the NASBR: Conference Logo by Suzanne Lebeda. Copyright 2002 by the artist. All rights reserved. 

Report on the
32nd Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research

Thomas A. Griffiths, Program Director, NASBR
Margaret A. Griffiths, Associate Program Director, NASBR

The 32nd annual North American Symposium on Bat Research met at the Radisson Hotel in Burlington, Vermont from November 6-9, 2002.  G. Roy Horst of Bat Research News and William Kilpatrick of the University of Vermont were the conference hosts.  There were 263 registered participants, not counting the educators who attended the special Bat Education Workshop on Saturday morning.  Most of the participants (63.9%) were affiliated with academic institutions; 16.7% were from federal or state government agencies; 12% were from private business or private consulting groups; 4.5% were from zoos and parks; and 2.7% were individuals who attended simply because they were interested in bats.  More than a third (36%) of the participants were students.  The majority of the participants this year came from the United States (83.1%); 11.4% of the participants were from Canada, 1.8% were from Puerto Rico and Mexico, and 3.8% of the participants came from countries outside of North America (Germany, Sweden, Austria, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and American Samoa).

One hundred and thirty-one scientific papers were presented at the Burlington meeting, not counting the special presentations for teachers made during the Saturday morning workshop.  Eighty-one were platform presentations and fifty of these were poster presentations.  A single plenary session was held Thursday, and concurrent sessions were held on Friday and Saturday again this year. 

Once again this year, graduate and undergraduate student participants were invited to enter their platform papers and poster presentations in a competition which judged the merits of their presentations.  A new policy was implemented this year.  The NASBR Board of Directors voted at the 2001 meeting to limit the number of times a student could enter the student competition for platform presentations.  Under this new policy, each student may enter the student competition only once per degree program; the student chooses when his/her research is completed and ready for presentation in the plenary Student Competition Session.  (The number of times a student can enter the poster competition has not been limited; students may submit posters to the student competition as many times as they wish.)  Nineteen students presented platform papers in the plenary Student Competition Session, and eleven students entered their posters in the Student Poster Competition.  In addition, twenty-four students presented papers in concurrent (non-judged) sessions on Friday.

A special committee headed by Betsy Dumont judged the nineteen student platform papers and eleven student posters.  A new student award was established this year by Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society.  Therefore, five cash prizes of $250 USD each were awarded for outstanding student platform papers at the Saturday evening banquet.  Hannah ter Hofstede of York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada won the Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society Award; Nickolay Hristov of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina won the Bat Conservation International Award; Paul Cryan of the USGS Arid Lands Field Station and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico won the Bat Research News Award; Jing Zhao of Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts won the Lubee Foundation Award; and Amy Russell of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee won the Karl F. Koopman Award.  Andrea Schaub of the University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany won the Speleobooks Award for best poster; this year the prize comprised a gift certificate for $100 in Speleobooks merchandise and a cash prize of $150.  Generous monetary donations from the Board of Directors of Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society, from Bat Conservation International, from Roy Horst at Bat Research News, from Roger and Sherry Haagenson of The Lubee Foundation, and from Emily Davis and Michael Warner of Speleobooks made five of the prizes possible.  Donations from a number of individuals made the Karl F. Koopman Prize possible.

In celebration of it's 20th anniversary, Bat Conservation International hosted a reception on Friday evening following the poster session.   The reception was a token of appreciation for twenty tears of support from the membership of the NASBR.  Thank you, Merlin Tuttle and BCI, for this very nice event, and congratulations on twenty years of successful work.

The Saturday evening banquet was another memorable event this year.  Roy and Bill selected four outstanding entree choices for the banquet, including Vermont's Traditional Roast Turkey and Vermont's own Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Puff for dessert.  The hotel's Director of Catering, Dan O'Brien, and his staff were commended on providing such an excellent banquet.  In addition to presentation of the student awards, several other events occurred at the banquet.  On behalf of the NASBR membership, Robert Barclay presented Margaret Griffiths with an award in recognition of her service to the society.  The highlight of the banquet was the presentation of the Gerrit S. Miller, Jr. Award to Robert Barclay of the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  The award was presented by Brock Fenton, Robert's mentor and the 1982 recipient of the Miller award.  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.  Robert joins a small group of distinguished individuals who have received this prestigious award.

Pat Morton of Texas Parks and Wildlife once again organized a special bat education workshop on Saturday morning of the conference.  The workshop was well attended by Burlington-area teachers, conservation workers, and other local persons interested in the conservation of bats.  This was the seventh year in a row that Pat has organized this workshop in conjunction with the NASBR.  We thank Pat for her efforts in making the workshop possible, and also thank Bat Conservation International, the Lubee Foundation, Bat Research News, Speleobooks, and Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for their generous donations to help support the workshop.

We also thank Janice Valgoi, Dan O'Brien, and the entire staff of the Radisson Hotel Burlington who helped to make the 32nd NASBR a very memorable and successful meeting.  We think everyone agreed that the Radisson-Burlington was a great venue for the meeting.  Tom and Margaret extend a special thanks to the local hosts, Roy and Bill, to graduate student Ryan Norris of UVM, and to the members of the Board of Directors 2001-2002 (Hector Arita, Robert Barclay, Mark Brigham, Betsy Dumont, Trish Freeman, Roy Horst, Bill Kilpatrick, Gary McCracken, Dixie Pierson, and Nancy Simmons) for all the hard work they did to make this meeting a success.  Also special thanks from all of us to Roy, the "founding father" of the society.  And finally I, Margaret, want to thank Robert, Roy, and the entire NASBR membership for the special recognition award; you are a great group with whom to work.  See you all in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2003!

Reprinted with permission and approved editorial changes from Bat Research News, vol. 43(4): 195-196, 2002.

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