Winter Highlights 
Year of the Bat highlights in winter 2011 included the New Year’s launch at the Malaysian National Zoo Negara, a “Bat Camp” at the Bat Sanctuary of Samal Island (Philippines), the French Ministry of Sustainable Development’s La forêt racontée par..., a spectacle with film, theatre and other performances at Paris’s National Museum of Natural History, the campaign launch in Alcanena, Portugal, inaugurated by the Secretary of State for Environment, and Encontro Brasileiro para o Estudo de Quirópteros, a cross-border workshop on bat conservation and research in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil held in Maringá, Brazil.  
Philippine Bat Camp sets the bar 
The Philippines launched Year of the Bat in high style on 22–30 January with a dynamic Bat Camp celebration at Monfort Conservation Park and Bat Sanctuary on Samal Island. Participants from the Davao Region, plus international delegates including representatives from Bat Conservation International (BCI), participated in the 9-day forum, workshop series and festival. 
 
This trend-setting bat conservation event was spearheaded by Philippine Bat Conservation and BCI, in partnership with the Province of Davao del Norte, Disney Friends for Change, the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources XI, the Department of Tourism XI, SMART Telecommunications, Inc and the City Vice Mayor’s Office of Island Garden City of Samal. Bat Camp was divided into 3 major components: 1) The Philippine Cave Bats Workshop at Marex Beach Resort, 2) Bat Conservation Forum at Camp Holiday Resort and 3) Bat Camp’s Festival component at Monfort Bat Cave. 
Bat Camp
Bat Camp, Samal Island 
Among the many Bat Camp side activities were: Japan Day; a Welcome Dinner for the first Eco Tour to the Philippines, organized by BCI; a VIP Dinner to launch the opening of Monfort Eco-Tourism Village; a Teachers Workshop; “Fly with Bats”; Bat Emergence Night Tours; Tree Planting Activities; and “Bike for Bats”. 
 
We congratulate Norma Monfort, President of Philippine Bat Conservation, BCI ’s executive team and the nearly 200 participants who gathered together to show that bat conservation can be a global cause. 
 
Contributor: Norma Monfort, President, Philippine Bat Conservation 
France shines a spotlight on Year of the Bat 
The French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural History and other conservation partners, launched the Year of the Bat and International Year of Forests in Paris on 12-13 February with a series of animation, documentary films, theatrical performances and discussions on forests, bats and our relationship to nature. 
 
La forêt racontée par... was a wonderful weekend bringing adults and children closer to our environment with dancing, singing, acting, acrobatics and conversations. The weekend was capped by a fairytale performance – L’enfant de la nuit (Child of the Night) – about a mute and wild child, found abandoned in the forest, who was raised by a colony of bats. As the young girl begins to react to her new surroundings and past dreams, the secret universe of forests and bats is slowly revealed. This poetic tale by the street performance company Les Anthropologues put bats centre stage during this delightful French conservation celebration. 
 
L'enfant de nuit
L’enfant de la nuit (Child of the Night), Paris 
Cross-border scientific workshop in South America 
An innovative workshop, supported by the Whitley Fund for Nature, gathered members of the Latin American Bat Conservation Network (RELCOM) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on 14-15 February 2011. 
 
Scientific members of the Bat Conservation Programs of Bolivia (PCMB), Argentina (PCMA) and Brazil (PCMBr) joined government officials to evaluate capacities for trans-boundary research and conservation of bats in shared ecosystems. Encouraging workshop outcomes include 1) a future review of the work done in bat research, 2) identification of joint research, education and conservation activities, with emphasis on endangered bats and shared threatened ecosystems and 3) a discussion of criteria for the establishment of “Important Bat Conservation Areas” (Áreas Importantes para la Conservación de Murciélagos, AICOM’s), to be submitted to RELCOM for further consideration and action. 
RELCOM
Workshop participants from RELCOM partner organizations PCMA, PCMB & PCMBr 
Other significant cross-border action items were identified during the workshop: Future studies of migratory species, expanding to Paraguay and Uruguay, will produce a protocol for research and bat monitoring, and try to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts by understanding more about vampire bat ecology and the roosting ecology of bats in urban areas. In the area of habitat loss and fragmentation, priority actions will be taken on sites without protection and protected sites lacking management. RELCOM members PCMA, PCMB and PCMBr are excited about what will come next, and agree that the dynamic discussions will serve as a guideline for international conservation actions, in particular near country borders. 
 
Year of the Bat congratulates our South American partners on a fruitful workshop. 
 
Contributor: Luis F. Aguirre, General Coordinator, RELCOM 
A day long celebration to formally launch the Year of the Bat in Portugal 
The institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICBN) organized the formal nationwide launch of the Year of the Bat with the participation of the Secretary of State for Environment, Prof. Dr. Humberto Rosa. The launch took place in Lapa da Canada, Alcanena on March 2nd, 2011. The ceremony included addresses by both the Secretary of State and the Vice-President of ICBN followed by a visit to one of Portugal’s most important underground caves. A presentation of the Portuguese “Year of the Bat” website was given to mark the end of the opening festivities. 
 
Portugal
Secretary of State for Environment, Prof. Dr. Humberto Rosa, Alcanena 
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Get inspired
© Karen Marks, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org 
Get inspired! 
Looking for ideas to celebrate Year of the Bat in your community? Follow in the footsteps of our inventive partner organizations and find inspiration for your own event or activity! 
 
Into sports?! Why not organize a sporting event, like a “Bike for Bats” or a “Midnight Bat Run” right around the time bats fly? The Monfort Bat Camp in the Philippines successfully organized such a Midnight Bat Run in January showing that athletic events are always great way to have a batty time while contributing to an important cause. 
 
If you live near a landscape where bat colonies are frequently spied in the twilight skies, a local Evening Bat Walk could be just the ticket. Expert bat conservationist advice and the right location may mean you have the makings for an exotic Eco-Bat Tour. You can also organize a bat shaped cookie baking session or bake sale at your kindergarten or school! Or try a fun hour of finger painting with a bat-tastic theme. 
Family or group activities such as planting trees to benefit both bats and forests, is a good opportunity to spend the day in a stimulating environment of informal learning. Or ask your local hardware store and or bat group, to sponsor a family bat box-building day at a nearby zoo or public park. 
 
And don’t forget to notify your local media. Television, radio or newspaper coverage can raise interest in your Year of the Bat event, while increasing public awareness in your community for bat conservation. 
 
There is never a time too late for raising awareness! 
Year of the Bat Photo Contest! Get Your Cameras OUT... 
It's time for the Year of the Bat photo competition! Go on the hunt for bat pictures this summer and get the chance to have your photo published on the new Year of the Bat Poster! 
 
This is an opportunity for non-professional photographers from all over the world to reach a global audience and to help raise awareness on the Year of the Bat. We kindly request that bats are not disturbed while on the look-out for your picture. 
 
So get ready and submit the bat-tastic pictures!  
 
For terms and conditions, please see here. 
International Year of Forests 2011 
Did you know that 2011 is also the International Year of Forests (www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011/)? During this United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011 – 2020), forests are being celebrated in 2011 in an effort to encourage actions to manage the world’s forests sustainably. The main theme for the celebrations is “Forests and People” and the links between Year of the Bat and International Year of the Forests are plentiful. 
 
Forests are home to 300 million people around the world and over 1.6 billion people earn their livelihood from forests. Forests cover 31% of total global land area and store more than 1 trillion tons of carbon, while trade in forest products is estimated at over $327 billion. From the microorganisms, dead wood and moss on the forest bed to the many birds and mammals in the canopy, the protection of forests ensure that biodiversity is maintained. 
IYoF
© Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org 
And forests are also key habitats and foraging areas for bats that play a key part in keeping our forests healthy through their essential eco-services including seed dispersal, insect control and pollination. Bats function as seed dispersers and pollinators, ensure new plant life and thus maintain a high level of plant biodiversity. Essentially they can be thought of as “gardeners” of our forests! Besides this, their appetite for critters means they are excellent pest controllers and thereby again positively contributing to a healthy forest. 
 
Year of the Bat encourages partner organizations, communities, schools and local governments to combine “Year of the Bat” and “International Year of Forests” activities whenever possible. Join up with other organizations celebrating forests – show your support for bat conservation and sustainable forests by organizing a bat/forest themed event. 
Year of the Bat regional initiatives and events 
Year of the Bat regional initiatives are likely to include a vampire bats/rabies educational outreach campaign in South America, an eco-bat box initiative in Europe and story-telling sessions at schools in Australia. 
 
In Asia, upcoming Year of the Bat activities include several springtime “Bat Nanny” workshops in Taiwan and a unique animal protection celebration on Mother’s Day, May 8, at the local zoo. The event, which last year attracted 10,000 participants, is co-organized by Bat Conservation Society of Taipei (BCST) and the Animal Protection Society of Taiwan. 
 
Many other Year of the Bat events are in the works in other regions of the world. To find an event near you, check our website’s event page and our Facebook page regularly. Stay tuned to Year of the Bat to keep current! www.yearofthebat.org/events 
Taiwan workshop
Taipei Bat Party, Bat Conservation Society of Taipei 
Paul van Hoof
© Paul van Hoof 
The “BatsLIVE” education adventure begins! 
As many teachers and students following Year of the Bat are already aware, educational outreach for Year of the Bat will be implemented through a collaborative distance learning adventure, spearheaded by the United States Forest Service. The BatsLIVE website will include teaching resources available in English and Spanish, electronic field trips, webcasts and a bat web cam. 
 
All BatsLIVE teaching aids and information on bat conservation will be available free of charge to students, teachers and land managers anywhere in the world. 
 
The US Forest Service is at the forefront of using technology to deliver conservation education to both children and adults. Along with educational provider Prince William Network and a core bat conservation team including Year of the Bat, Bat Conservation International and the Lubee Bat Conservancy, the US Forest Service is laying the foundation for an amazing BatsLIVE launch later this year. Building on the success of distance learning adventures MonarchLIVE and PollinatorLIVE, BatsLIVE is a dynamic collaborative effort that will bring bat conservation and education for the first time to hundreds of thousands of children and adults. 
 
The BatsLIVE website will be online early 2012. Meanwhile, get ready for the fun but spooky BatsLIVE launch near Halloween 2011! 
Celebrate bat conservation! 
Visit the official Year of the Bat website, follow Year of the Bat on Facebook or e-mail us at info@yearofthebat.org. 
 
Get involved with Year of the Bat and help maintain our valuable eco-systems. 
 
We hope that you have enjoyed reading the Year of the Bat chat. Best wishes and until the next time,  
The Year of the Bat Team 
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