Lancaster – Bat decorations can be found everywhere during the fall and Halloween season. But bats are more than just a spooky symbol and Lancaster native Dr. Amy Russell will talk about that during a special presentation at OUL on Thursday, October 17.
Russell's presentation is called "Bats, Bats, and More Bats: The Bats in Your Backyard." Her talk is being sponsored by the Friends of the Library and will be held in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts on the 5th floor of Brasee Hall at 6:30 p.m.
"Bat populations in North America are currently facing unprecedented conservation threats both from a newly described fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome and from mortality at wind turbines," said Russell. "I will talk about what these threats mean for Ohio's bat populations and what interested citizens may do to help these threatened species."
Dr. Russell is a Lancaster High School graduate and currently teaches biology and genetics at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. While earning her doctorate, she studied the population genetics of Brazilian free-tailed bats. A post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University funded her work on the evolution of bats in Madagascar.
"With over 1200 species, bats are one of the most diverse yet underappreciated groups of mammals on earth. Bats have evolved to occupy a diversity of habitats; they may be found on nearly every continent and on some of the most remote oceanic islands. Within those habitats, bats eat a diversity of foods including insects, fruit, pollen, and small animals such as fish, frogs, and birds," said Russell. "Although people may fear and even persecute bats, we benefit greatly from their activities such as pollination and insect pest control."
Last April, the Friends of the Library sponsored a presentation by two other Lancaster High School graduates on their work in the Brazilian Rainforest called "Changing Rainforest Livelihoods in the Brazilian Amazon."
The Friends of the Library organization was created in 1985 by Library Director Hannah V. McCauley. The mission of the Friends of the Library is to extend quality library and information services, generate funding for special materials and programs, and increase community awareness.
Speaker presentations like the ones sponsored by the Friends of the Library are part of an initiative to increase opportunities for cultural enrichment on campus through speakers, arts and music. The Ohio University Lancaster Campus is working to transform the lives of its students and those in the community by becoming the cultural and intellectual hub of Fairfield County and the surrounding area.