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Newspaper article about Dr. Austin's BAT PRESENTATIONS

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This article reprinted from the
November 3, 1999 edition of the
Virden Recorder newspaper:

KIDS LEARN ABOUT BATS

During the week just prior to Halloween, Dr. Todd Austin had the opportunity to educate over 1,000 school children about bats! Austin, a Doctor of Chiropractic in Virden, has been a member of Bat Conservation International for over nine years.

Austin enjoys photographing bats, and speaking to groups about how bats are beneficial. "Hollywood and the media have given bats a bum rap," explains Austin "with movies like Dracula and the new horror movie Bats, which was just released. At no other time of the year is this bad reputation more evident than around Halloween."

Austin spoke to K through 4 students at Girard Elementary Tuesday Oct. 26, K through 3 students at Divernon Elementary Thursday morning, and K through 6 students at Auburn Elementary Thursday afternoon October 28.

Dr. Todd has compiled a set of over 50 slides that he uses for his bat programs, which are both educational and entertaining. Most of the photos are courtesy of BCI founder Dr. Merlin Tuttle, who is known not only as the world’s leading bat expert, but also as the # 1 bat photographer in the world. Fifteen of the slides are from Austin’s own personal work with bats. These experiences include: excluding bats from buildings; helping to identify a colony of endangered Indiana bats in a western Illinois cave; and overwintering a bat that had prematurely awakened from hibernation. "The kids really enjoy the bat slide presentation." said Austin "The slide of the California leaf-nosed bat with what appear to be rabbit ears, and the photo of the Wrinkle-faced bat that looks like a dinosaur elicited the most laughter from the audience. The kids also thought the picture of the tiny Honduran white bats was really cute".

"While I enjoy speaking to audiences of all ages," says Dr. Austin, "children are the future guardians of our Earth. I little bit of education at an early age, can go a long way toward changing preconceived negative attitudes about these remarkable and highly beneficial animals."

Austin donated the books Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats & Zoobooks: Bats to the libraries of all three schools.



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Virden, Illinois 62690
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