Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Batwoman and Penguin(s)

   Princess and I went to the monthly meeting of the Anne Arundel Bird Club on Friday evening, something we don't do nearly often enough due to our hectic schedules. The topic of the evening was not birds, but bats, and boy did we learn a lot from listening to Nina Fascione, the executive director of Bat Conservation International.

   We learned how essential bats are to our way of life - who knew? - because of their role in controlling insects and pollinating plants. We learned that there are roughly 1,100 species of bats worldwide, or about 1/5th of all mammal species. And we learned, sadly, about White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has spread rapidly since it was discovered in a New York cave in 2006. Mortality rates for infected colonies can be a staggering 90 percent.

   We are glad "BatCon," or Bat Conservation International, is there to help. Their cool website is here.

   There's no Robin in this post, and we're going to move straight from Batwoman (sorry, Nina) to The Penguins in the form of the Anne Arundel County Bird Club's annual, and always excellent, Heise lecture. This lecture attracts first-rate speakers, and this year's event, on March 10, will feature conservationist and penguin expert Steven Sorro. The flyer is below. If you live anywhere in the DC and suburban Maryland area, and are interested in conservation, you won't want to miss it.

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