The Bat Doctor Gives Two Presentations and Attends a Research Symposium.

Dr. Todd Austin, also known as "The Bat Doctor" from Virden, IL just put the finishing touches on a busy batty week by attending a WNS Bat Research Symposium in Chicago on 10-15-11. Earlier in the week he spoke to senior citizens and pre-K students.
Oct. 16, 2011 - PRLog -- Dr. Todd Austin, also known as "The Bat Doctor" from Virden, IL just put the finishing touches on a busy week of bat conservation and education related activities by attending the "Battle For Bats" White Nose Syndrome Bat Research Symposium at the Field Museum in Chicago on Saturday October 15, 2011.   The symposium was put on by Bat Conservation International.  Several key researchers from around the country gave presentations about the importance of bats worldwide and on white nose syndrome.  WNS is a fungal disease that has been killing colonial insect-eating bats in both the Eastern and Midwestern US since 2006.  

On Monday, October 10th, Austin presented the program to the Virden Senior Citizens at their monthly meeting at the Virden Area Community Center.  His powerpoint presentation was called "The Wonderful World of Bats".  Then on Thursday, October 13th, The Bat Doctor presented another of his powerpoint slide presentations called "Vampires, Fruit Bats and Insect-Eating Machines to a group of pre-K students at the Virden Car-o-sel Head Start Center.  Both presentations were followed by 5 minute question and answer sessions.  Dr. Austin also showed the pre-K students a 3 minute video of him feeding a Big Brown Bat a dinner of meal worms!

During the presentation, Austin covered:
* how he initially got interested in studying and doing conservation work with bats, thanks to his mentor Dr. Merlin Tuttle who founded BCI in 1982,
* some fascinating facts about vampire bats,
* why he refers to all 12 of our IL bat species as “Insect Eating Machines” and
* how fruit bats help the rainforests to survive.  

‘The Bat Doctor’ finished up his childrens presentation by using slides to introduce the youngsters to many of the newest bat friends that he’s made over the past few years, including a few red bats, several brown bats and an Egyptian flying fox.  

Austin, a Doctor of Chiropractic from Austin Family Chiropractic and a current member of the Montgomery County Toastmasters Club, has been an active member of Bat Conservation International (BCI) for approximately 21 years.  

During that time, ‘The Bat Doctor’ has spoken to 72 non-Toastmaster audiences throughout IL and educated over 3,900 people of all ages about bats.  

"While I enjoy speaking to audiences of all ages," says Dr. Austin, "children are very receptive.  A little bit of knowledge at an early age can go a long way toward changing preconceived negative attitudes about these extremely important and highly beneficial flying mammals.  The unfortunate truth is that with White Nose Syndrome now in our neighboring states of Indiana and Missouri, when these kids grow up, there might not even be any bats left in IL.  We all need to act now and act swiftly to save and conserve our IL bats!"  ‘The Bat Doctor’ can be contacted at or at: .

Virden’s ‘Bat Doctor’ also left bat rings for the pre-K students and donated a book on bats to their library.

Photo caption:  Dr. Todd Austin (left) from Virden, IL with his bat conservation and bat photography mentor Dr. Merlin D. Tuttle at the recent White Nose Syndrome Symposium in Chicago.

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I'm an avid bat conservationist, who has been studying bats and their behavior for over 2 decades. I've also been professionally speaking about bats since 1995. So far, I've educated over 3,900 people of all ages about bats and I've been featured in BATS magazine, an international publication (by BCI) on three occasions.
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